Death is the cool of winter unraveling roots and leaves of beings who have outlived their welcome, but done their duty none-the-less. Death is the threshing floor; it clears and it sweeps. However, death does not discard. It remembers. It recalls. It tills all that was, into what will, and must be. Death is a reunion, a homecoming. There are pieces of me held by the dying, that cannot be unleashed until Death does her work, his work of liberation, it’s business of soul-letting, his home-calling, her service to us all.
I stand here in the wake, working, waking. Watching. Re-membering. Those pieces of me. The Devoted: sacrificing sleep and self for timely, tardy and slightly tangible touches of affection. The Vulnerable: open, affectionate and hopeful, ingesting the sweet toxins of a love deferred. The Fool: idealistic, generous and unbothered, taking the world as it should be, instead of dealing honestly with the reality of now. The Skeptic: employing a willful suspension of disbelief that those red flags could indeed be truly red, and if they are, nothing can stop him anyway, he’s done his research and, if he hasn’t, he’ll recover and flourish, he always does. The (Faux) Victim: watching it all fall down, rushing to build it back again, the sweet pain of (be)longing, passion of fighting to be held, to be home(d), to be longed for. The fragmented glimmers and markers of disarray, discontent, disrespect of and in self are warning calls, they are sirens, they are canaries in the soul mine of the strangled essence. Together these pieces tell a story, a story of self love deferred and self abuse welcomed.
Some of them were men. Some of them more boyish. Others, simply *Them. They all feed the same, regardless of gender identity or biological designation. They feed slowly, with consent, until it becomes clear that your slow-waltz toward assisted suicide will kill them, too. that is when they wake. that is when they leave. that is when they lash out at your inability to be sweeter to the taste. to last longer. to be softer, yet stronger. to be plentiful (to them) yet scarce (to your self). that is when they drag you, from hell to home, until there is no difference in the burning. this is when they must die, before you do. but to kill them, but you must re-member pieces of yourself and put down your own mis-identifications. you must remember that you are too strong to die from their presence or absence. you must remember that your purpose belongs to you and the cosmos, not their ego or inclinations. you must remember that you deserve to wake and sleep smiling. you must remember. you must. you must. you must. remember you, before the high and breaking of your heart. you must remember that their death is not your own.
some of us were first broken as children. some of us were dropped, hard, in the process of our lifegivers’ bloody attempt to survive (with and for us). some of us did not have caregivers. some of us were not loved ones, but watched ones, our lives were protected. others broke later; flower child women giving their petals to partners that knew nothing of their beauty, nothing of the silky strength evidenced by their bloom, only knowing of violence and rage necessary to bust through concrete…rage and violence displacing words and sweet embraces in times of vulnerability and fear. some black boys broke under the moonlight of gendered dreams and nightmares meted out in the mourning of their fathers, or in the wake of their mother’s prep-work for their introduction to white supremacy and corporeal (body) capitalism. all of us break as chattel, daily, to systems who depend on ground, black and brown, beings dismembered into asphalt.
no matter where or when the first ruptured occurred, it is in the fragments of our essence that our sense of self is corrupted and the foundation of self love become permeable. it is in this place, the broken place, that we first begin to sink into patterns and practices of conjuring violence in lovers, in friends, in employment, in self. much of what we experience is the product of what we have come to believe as the embodiment of what we deserve or are destined to experience. we are the masters of our own destiny, we are the markers of fortune and ruin, hope and despair and intergenerational traumas and love practices.
what I am doing now, though, is coming out. Emerging. I am coming out of a period of severe exhaustion and depression. I think, I know, I was so used to being depressed and exhausted that it became normal and I didn’t know that I was tired or that I was dead. I had grown so accustomed to fighting that I deluded myself into thinking I was happy. I had grown so accustomed to financial disarray that I falsely believed that that was simply the nature of things. I tolerated challenges to and attacks on my being, by virtue of being both black and male-bodied, because I figured perhaps they had some merit because the deliverer was someone I loved, someone i was willing to
assisted suicide ride or die for.
I’m emerging from an abyss. An abyss of self-abuse. Self abuse is one punching themselves in the face, as a consequence for existing or failing. No, that would be too direct and simply handled. Self abuse is the intentional wrenching of ones soul, the excising of a pound of flesh as recurring down-payment, on the love, the life and the self you think you deserve. Self abuse and self care had existed in my home together, often via the same instruments. this is me working. this is me waking. this me emerging from the abyss and discarding him, them and all others from the sweet comfort of my life force. they all must die, to me, lest i do too, as both chef and meat.
Tabias Olajuawon is the founder of BlaQueerFlow, the author of Godless Circumcisions: A Recollecting & Re-membering of Blackness, Queerness & Flows of Survivance, a JD Candidate and a regular contributor to Huffington Post. If you’d like to support their work, or their upcoming bar exam fees, please send your support via cash.me or YouCaring.
For bookings or further musings, check out my website or twitter (@blaqueerflow). You can also get a copy of book Godless Circumcisions, A Recollecting & Re-Membering of Blackness, Queerness and Flows of Survivance on Amazon/Kindle with signed copies at my personal store here.