“When I speak of change, I do not mean a simple switch of positions or a temporary lessening of tensions, nor the ability to smile or feel good. I am speaking of a basic and radical alteration in those assumptions underlining our lives.” #audrelorde
Lately, I’ve had many people telling me about me in reactive and care-less ways. From former a mentor telling me what I’m communicating is “twisted”, a form of "escape," or “boring,” to some folx telling me I’m “intense” in a “too much” kind of way. I’ve even had some of my closest and dearest kin reduce my experiences to “well, it’s cause you’re pretty.”
In all of these experiences lives the articulation of cis-patriarchal and misogynistic strategies so well-laid and internalized they move about without a second glance. Wielded even by those who would most certainly claim to be agents of deep and radical change.
The implication is that I’m “too much” and thus must be put in my place. I must be shamed for my passion, desire, love for complexity, emotive fluency, sensual immensity. I must be reduced to my physical appearance, where my value surely begins and ends. I must modify my presence so that I’m both “enticing” to some while not “intimidating” to others.
The in-dwelling wound manifests insecurities that become weaponized: the other before us comes to represent a terror and delight that must be struck down lest the ground of our certainty begins to quake and crack, and chasms of personal reflection open their wide mouths. Fear of being swallowed by our greatest aches (re)vitalizes an urge to control and manipulate our surrounding world and webs of belonging. Others need to change so that we can remain steadfast in our shapes of certitude. Safety becomes the holy grail, and atrophy disguises itself for comfort.
My tendency (because of early childhood survival and trauma) was to believe I was responsible for other peoples emotional states - especially discomfort. My response-ability became a prison of responsibility. A prison my ancestors knew. A prison whose iron chains were built out of survival and desperation. A prison whose key was to be forged from a shard of my own bones, and infused with my relentless grief, radical joy, and restless rage.
I am intense, but not in the way that others might hope I associate with that word. I’m in love with this world, and luxuriate and writhe in all its tentacular grippings. I am a storm whose coattails articulate a spiraling spectrum of tenderness and ferocity. My presence lives in the shifting climates of difference where the dance of temper-atures conjure circling winds of relational change.
The skin of my life is stretched tightly (intensus) over the ever-expanding rim of the Earth so that a cosmic mallet wielded by galactic hands can drum a rhythm of rebellion through the spiraling body of my existence.
Fervent longings hug my heart with tenacious wonder, and my soul waits at the ready for any and all who are yearning to stand in the center of their own unapologetic knowing. Whether you be birthed from ocean storms and mycelium running, or singing frogs and croaking ravens - be intense - and let the world know just how much of a rebellion you are.
Photo by my beloved Matt