In these unsettling, subversive, and ever chaotic times, the sage counsel of Flo Milli comes to mind.
The femme has long since suffered, both in the ambit of the public sphere as well as in the private domain – from being positioned spectacle, engineered as a Satriaian object devoid of the ever-necessary free will and imbued with bad faith as a result of the male gaze. Explorations of the femme beyond the unimaginative and oppressive operational mandate of the male lens immediately makes apparent the need to address issues of visibility pertaining to gender expression, performance and the devastating effects of ableism. A sentiment made apparent by Flo Milli in the statement “Even if I broke my leg and used a crutch, I walk around like that bitch” In this essay I will…
Remind you that you absolutely have to. You, as a self-governing, self-affirming, committed, environmentally conscious hot girl? You absolutely have to walk around like that bitch.
lmfao – what did you think this was? It’s nothing more than a misguided musing on what the fuck is actually going on. I wish, as the first post after a long (and sometimes painful) hiatus, that this glimpse through a cracked door could prove to be something insightful and touching but honestly??? On many days the absurdity of life proves something too touching, intimate, and sometimes desperately depressing for me to begin to behave as if I have any authority over it. I – like many other hot girls in spite of our efforts – have no clue what’s going on?
I mean fair enough, a global health pandemic is sweeping the globe and late-stage capitalism is beginning to collapse beneath its own inefficacies (always at the cost of human life, on the spectrum of whose constituted as mountable bodies and who does not dictated to by regional and international politics)… but what does any of this even mean? Like… ?.
On day 401 of local lockdown, I’m hardpressed to remember the ease of life before quarantine or rather how I imagined myself to be and live because the truth is many things that once feel now have and hold an illusory quality. Something phantom-like and long-gone, like a recurring dream or a text; sent, forgotten, and then remembered in the morning. I don’t know if lives once lived should be romanticized but I can find much to be grateful for and somehow that, in itself, seems miraculous.
Having released myself from the Satrian hell-scape of trying to construct myself and my writing in terms of others perceptions, I let myself write when I want to – without looking at my lack of perceived productivity as an indicator of my talent and baby??? IKDR.
When it comes to writing, I’ve always felt as if it’s a bit of an exercise in knowing to speak when spoken to. Not so much reading the room, as much as it was understanding how my voice would vibrate through it and bounce off the walls- landing or falling flat. Speak when spoken to as a mantra of spirit, understanding that not all thoughts need to be entertained or validated by discourse, and more often than not- it’s okay to just shut the fuck up. Speak when spoken to as a means of knowing myself, and responding in kind to the words I hear myself whisper. Speak when spoken to as an extension of self-love and an erection of boundaries. Speak when spoken to as an internalization of actions existing in an economy of line, and an exercise in valuing the knowledge that my actions and thoughts are valuable. In re-establishing the mandate of this space Flo Milli came to mind because truly… I do, have, and will continue to walk around like that bitch. As we speak, a year’s passed with me listening and not speaking, at least to yall anyways, and in my absence, my words have managed to reach well over 120 000 people. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m grateful for those of you who have heard my voice even in my silence, and worked through pieces riddled with spelling mistakes in the times where my voice has broken.
But now that I’m speaking with my chest, mates – a girl is moving towards monetization – please click on the ads. I’m talking most especially to you, white cishet readers from North America, Scandinavia’s and Europe. The latter of the two feeling slighted to be grouped in with Americans and I am justified in bastardizing your problematically sanitized political personas because you open your digital devices and continue in your patterns of colonization – capitalizing off of black intellectual property without paying me. The PayPal plugin is there. Ya’ll don’t deserve this shit for free.
I digress, in the last year of learning how to truly listen to myself, I’ve learned an earth-shattering amount, willingly and unwillingly – so here it is, condensed into 5 points.
- Get In the boat and row. One of my best friends remains as a wise oracle, an unearthly vessel of sheer wonder, and after ten years of friendship – I could write a small handbook of profound throw-away lines that she has said to me one of which is “Get in the boat and row”. In recent months, she and I have both been extruded through the meat processer that is life, and in one of my more embarazzing (and completely warranted) moments of unraveling she turned to me and said “best… we just have to get in the boat and row”. In recent days, my arms have grown tired and there’s a hole in the boat – but row I have nonetheless. We could devolve into a discussion surrounding endurance and discipline but there’s not much to be found in these discussions – except for the poorly kept secret of consistency. Last year I started doing yoga, for two primary reasons which then spiraled into many more. Initially, I started yoga to become more rooted in my body and for my celestial growth. The second reason was so that I could stop wanting to give in to my primal Cancerian urges to bekskoot almal (kick everyone in their mouth). Anyways, I ended up flourishing into a different kind of yogi- which warrants a post in itself. In achieving my own consistency I saw a different side of myself and honestly? It’s hard-earned and it will leave you hot and bothered – satisfied and tired. Sometimes there isn’t anything to be had or learned from a situation. Sometimes shit just sucks for a seemingly unending amount of time and sometimes all you have to gain (or convince yourself of the potential of the gain) is knowing that putting one foot in front of the other will eventually result in salvation of some kind, resolution of sorts. So get in the boat and row, knowing it’s as shitty as it sounds but the only effective antidote for the unkind death of stagnation and a necessary modality of survival.
- Be okay with being seen as trying and sucking. I am finally on my way to becoming… I was going to say the black Donatella Versace but I think comparisons to Western frontiers can be so limiting and reductionist so I won’t say that, but I hope you get the idea. The idea being me finally being in fashion school. I’m teaching myself to sew with acrylics on because I figure, well I just know on some molecular level, that there’s no way Donatella approves ready to wear with stubby nails. Learning how to sew with them is like learning to drive with high heels on and while my clutch control needs work – I’m finally on my way to discovering who I know myself to be. Fashion school is *challenging* for a host of reasons and one of my other incredibly wise friends said to me “stop trying to control the optics of what it looks like when you’re trying”. Try. That’s all that some stages of the quest require of you – the intention of knowing and trying. Trying implies that something is foreign to you, there can’t be a preexisting dialect and familiarity with something new and I forget that so often. Trying is committing to trial and error. I have to force myself to remember that everyone starts somewhere and so in this humble beginning, in trying once more – I owe myself the grace of sucking. Knowing that stumbling is a prerequisite of learning and that sucking is temporary. Energy flows where intention goes and as per usual mine is onwards and upwards – and so at the apex of my achievement – I choose to believe that I will have embraced sucking as a prerequisite for success. I also think of what Solana said a lot “I don’t regret- just pretend shit never happened”. Erase the impulse to dwell on your perceived failings – you’re learning and the optics of that can’t be engineered beyond what you do know and what you know is this: you’re trying. It’s something brave, an opportunity offered to all, denied by many. So hold on to Life’s hand and relax when yours start sweating – its normal.
- You don’t have to have all the answers, no one does anyways. I would advise to search for them but if we trust (and we do) that you are exactly where you need to be and who you need to be in this moment – I believe all the answers will be provided to you. If we focus on growing with clarity and intention, there’s no choice but for the answers to be provided to you. Nothing kills like a life not lived – so live this one, now as is with the knowledge that good days rest here as they do just over the horizon.
- Embrace it for what it is- even if that means letting it rock you out of your fucking socks. My dad passed. And loss has cast a long, chilly shadow over so much of my life and despite how much this takes from me – I couldn’t be more grateful that I taught myself how to summon the light. On most days I can embrace this as a chilly winter and a marker of time and age and one of the greatest devastations that I have ever known. There’s nothing poetic about it, no prose to make it feel better. It simply is what it is, unmoving and ever-present and in the intensity of its blow? Finite. I understand this pain to be one that can be subdued, if only by time. Like an extremity that was once broken and healed improperly, its a wound that always makes itself known and has the capacity to howl aloud on some days.
We all have a thing that has *rocked* our shit.
Let it rock you.
Don’t let it hold you or wrap its hands around your neck, but acknowledge when and how you’ve felt its touch – the times its made you cry. That’s it.
I think we’re sometimes so desperate to appear fine or above something and bra… that thing is a lie. Some things demand to be felt, so feel it. Honour that. Honour yourself as someone worthy of feeling – even the bad things and then :
5. Let go.
Always, as a means of restoring balance – let it go. I don’t know how…yet. Sometimes experiences or memories will just reappear on your doorstep like a stray cat that constantly finds refuge at your house. It happens. Feeling and responding to something doesn’t mean you’re not over it but you do need to let it go.
Yeah there’s not much to it, at least for now.
I mean… remember always:
Not to be judged by the horrific visuals.