When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend."
— By telling the oppressed that their anger is unjustified, you allow the oppression to continue. I know it’s hard to stay calm. I know it’s scary. But you’re coming from the safe place and they aren’t. Just please … Try to be more understanding. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)
7 Moments of Revolution
Freedom spreads like fire. Burn the names of martyrs into the lawns of your governments. Each day is a revolution of the planets.
Taking up arms that hold you in the night. Clicking bullets against your heels. Piercing a statue of a dictator in the heart with an arrow.
Sleepless dictators in their palaces watching Home Shopping Network marathons and buying water features that will run blood.
Ailing dictators running out of veins. Veins collapsing like borders.
Their war crimes on YouTube.
Waking up without fear.
Black to black uniformed riot police.
Back to back revolutionaries.
Bodies bending under water cannons, like cards in the hands of a dealer. The valentine saints offering roses, that soldiers forgot.
Kneel and pray. Kneel and pray.
Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Côte d’Ivoire, Palestine, Syria. I wish I could give you my blood for your wounded. I wish I could give you anything.
Trees talk to each other at night.
All fish are named either Lorna or Jack.
Before your eyeballs fall out from watching too much TV, they get very loose.
Tiny bears live in drain pipes.
If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky.
The moon and the sun had a fight a long time ago.
Everyone knows at least one secret language.
When nobody is looking, I can fly.
We are all held together by invisible threads.
Books get lonely too.
Sadness can be eaten.
I will always be there."
Raul Gutierrez, “Lies I’ve Told My 3 Year Old Recently” (via fuckinq)
This got real sad
Last night I performed this poem at the inaugural Slutfest at Bella Union — the official fundraiser for Melbourne’s 2013 Slutwalk rally and CASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault). It is a found poem compiled using quotes from well known feminist texts (bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Helene Cixous, among others), slogans and song lyrics.
We are in the process of descending into the depths of the heart,
my desires have invented new desires.
My feminism will be intersectional
or it will be bullshit.
Femininity is a false entity:
one is not born, but becomes a woman.
I’m just a girl, my apologies,
what I’ve become is so burdensome.
If you censor the body
you censor breath and speech at the same time.
Your body must be heard.
The body is not a thing, it is a situation —
it is the instrument of our hold on the world,
and If I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
There are so many silences to be broken.
I was afraid of hearing my voice come out
of my heart and be covered in blood,
and then I poured all the blood into these syllables
and offer it to you to drink.
To be afraid is the condition of loving knowledge.
But the only thing more frightening that speaking your truth.
is not speaking at all.
In the synagogue of my heart
I myself am jail and the jailed, I go wounded, bite-marked.
I don’t want anybody else
and when I think about you I touch myself.
Where I do not find love, I find poetry:
poetry is not a luxury.
It is a vital necessity of our existence.
It is the skeleton architecture of our lives.
No black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much’.
No woman has ever written enough.
We are undone by each other.
One is undone in the face of the other:
by the touch, the scent, the feel,
by the prospect of the touch,
the memory of the feel.
Our shameful sickness is that we resist death,
that we make trouble.
The heart goes blind because the need is stronger
than anything else.
All the single ladies, put your hands up:
we must do battle where we are standing.
Unless one lives and loves in the trenches,
it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanisation
The anger lies inside of me like I know the beat of my heart
and the taste of my spit.
I am going to write fire until it comes out of my eyes,
my ears, my noseholes,
until it’s every breath I breathe.
I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor.
Oppression creates a state of war
and I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim
or to someone else’s ignorance
because a scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me.
My language does not contain, it carries.
It does not hold back, it makes possible.
A genuine feminist politics always
brings us from bondage to freedom,
from lovelessness to loving.
Searching our hearts for so long,
all of us knowing that love is a battlefield
and in one another we will never be lacking.