Reflections On Pulse & Queer Resilience: Demetrius McClendon


by Demetrius McClendon

Coming/being out of “the closet” allowed, and challenged, me to speak my truth. And since life is a process of being and becoming, it challenges me to more intimately understand and know my truth as i evolve (as Creation evolves).  Here’s my truth:

The past week has left me with so many different feelings. Being back in the Southside of Chicago, where i was born and raised, brought me physically back in touch with violence and what it means to navigate violent and traumatic spaces on a daily basis. Then, Orlando…

It all leaves me with a heavy heart. Like so many people, i am deeply hurt that we, collectively, have not lived up to the responsibility of love. So many lives have been lost and so many hurt. So much pain. It sometimes feels very burdensome to love in a world like this.

But, we are Earth. We are Creation. We are Love.

Being an artist helps me see the world differently. i realized some time ago that some of the most beautiful work was birthed by suffering. funk. and darkness. This challenged me to venture beyond duality. i no longer see just “good” or “bad”, i see expansion.

i see this world can be dark and cruel in the same way it can be bright and joyful. i see people are suffering and many are addicted to things that allow them to feel less suffering, even momentary bliss–i think it’s unfortunate and problematic when people become addicted to things that are harmful to self and/or others. i see we are each capable of being/doing “evil” just as we are each capable of being/doing “good”. i see life is often paradoxical. i see how darkness reveals light and vice versa, and how contrast creates new possibilities. i see it’s impossible to be truly objective. And i see that there is no one Truth, though my ego would like to believe so.

Love, to me, is clarity. It allows me to understand that multiple truths can and do coexist and that often circumstances influence/determine one’s perspective of truth. Studying america, and the world, has shown me there is something much larger (“imperialist ‘white supremacist’* capitalist patriarchy”, aka the system) shaping the circumstances we experience, feeding the Matrix we live within. This system simply reveals different aspects of humanity and how humans respond to fear (ego), which rejects the clarity of love. Understanding this allows me to put people and situations into perspective, where i can hold them accountable and still believe in their humanity.

Even with a heavy heart, i still feel great hope. i’m deeply thankful for all the work that has been done in that past; the sacrifice and investment that allows us to be where we are now. As i channel the sadness, joy, courage, frustration, resilence, and anger that inspired those before us to act, i’m encouraged to keep creating. i see now that revolution is not a destination, but a continuation. And that i’m blessed with this time right here, right now to share all that i have learned. My truth.

i am also reminded there is much more work to be done, which gives us the opportunity to become more connected with and challenged by fear and love. This challenge/opportunity forces/allows us to grow in new ways, to redefine what is possible. i realize now my understanding of love and compassion has been beautifully, but painfully, shaped by the same monster that sometimes makes it feel burdensome.

i deeply believe that by knowing and living our truths, we bring healing to the world. By understanding the power of the rainbow: different colors that work in harmony to bring more beauty to the world.

Sending love to my Queer family!

Hoping that life brings the encouragement, support, and PRIDE you/we each need to Thrive.

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