Saint and sinner
Giver of life
I wonder now
How can live
In this world
-JBHarris, August 2020
Saint and sinner
Giver of life
I wonder now
How can live
In this world
-JBHarris, August 2020
For my overview, click here for Part 1.
I write this part as a cis-het, Christian, woman whom is a mother, and hope hustler (minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ).
With that established, let’s get it!
1.) You cannot tell me that this young man is not hurt and isn’t lashing out. I have heard the hellfire sermons as it relates to homosexuality. They have never sat well with me. This is the only ‘sin’ there is no grace given to or for. The gospel of Christ is a hammer, yes—but it was never meant to massacre! Imagine being told as you live your life, the source of all things will turn His back on you. That is a nightmare! People forget that love draws, hate divides! Guess which was the last thing Christ told us to do? I’ll wait.
2.) This video was meant to be divisive. The vibe I got watching this video was to make people mad. He fully embraced this identity as a pariah. Completely and utterly outcast from society as Black, gay man—the video celebrates everything in his reality that will ostracize him elsewhere! He is celebrating the fact that “all gay people go to Hell” and pole dancing the whole way there! That is a boldness without equal. Then to simulate sex with Satan, only to murder him(!) and take He’ll over?! Like Crowley on SUPERNATURAL?! Fam!
I don’t think y’all get that: He. Just. Trolled. God. That is a different kind of hubris, I don’t have—or could ever want. His arms are too short for that smoke.
3.) There is an artistry to this video that is undeniable. It’s a pretty video! Very avant-garde! And the creativity that went into it is amazing.
4.) The ownership of your complete self is a process—and when done well? It is incredible!Since Lil Nas X came out, he has made it his mission to accept himself—regardless of who said what! With the state of the nation being what it is, he fact he has been able to do this, done this work to ricochet out into the world? You gotta admire that.
5.) It is a middle finger to heteronormativity. As the transactivist Diamond Stylz says, “It’s gay as fuck.” This video was a treat for the eye, with no video vixen in sight! His self-love, acceptance, with no need to compromise. Bruh.
6.) The video is a demonstrative of the cost to of living the life you want! This young man is a successful, openly, gay Black rapper. I cannot imagine the smoke that came from just that! And peep the double entendre: call me by your name! Basically, call me what you want—it doesn’t matter! Whew!
7.) The game is afoot, Watson. Understand (again) that this young man is playing a role. Understand this is about money, clout and marketing! The more pressed you are, the angrier you are, the more he cashes checks! I refused to be pressed about this because I know the agenda! The world said/says he is a demon destined to go to Hell? Bet! And made a sneaker line to boot? Chile! You better understand what the real issue is and how to handle it! Not sure what the issue is? Re-read Part 1, and all these pieces again.
I’ll be here when you get back.
It is a hellified thing to go to work everyday knowing your managers think your existence is an issue!
At my current day job, I have actually heard the following phrases:
“I’m so sick of these protests.” My nurse manager said this. This woman hires and fires people.
“I’m tired of hearing about Black Lives Matter.” A nurse I work with said this.
Now, understand this. I am a proud Black woman, working in a White space, with White people whom have no idea what it is like to be either Black or female. They have no idea that when I get in my car to either drive to or from work, I am hyperaware of police. They have no idea the true reason why I don’t friend co-workers on social media!
The work answer: “I’m really not on social media like that.”
The real answer: “There is no way in God’s creation I will give you people they kind of access to me when I KNOW how you feel about my Blackness! You just want to spy on me!”
Look, I have children. I have rent. Car payments. And it is a global pandemic! I need my job…and yet I have to navigate these spaces as Black, woman and activist. I realize that my activism is a deterrent and target in spaces where I don’t have agency. Right now? I don’t have agency.
But, there’s a work around for that. I keep the Activist Self and Employed Self separate. Employed Jenn can’t say/do what Employed Jenn can! And I’m learning that. I can be both, do both…and still block everyone I work with on social media.
The world loves to tell Black women and girls what they can and cannot do! It loves to define Black women and girls for what they believe they should be. I am not a should-be Black girl. I am not a should-be Black woman! I own all that I have gone through, all I have done, and I want all that I dream of being!
I own me on a level I couldn’t dream of before! I suppose inching towards 40 which has settled me in a way that I didn’t think I would reach yet. Yet, in the intersection of aging, motherhood and adulthood, I find myself confronting the need to hold my own space. There is a need to protect that space, and every footstep that goes into owning that. The lie that I break daily is that I “do too much” or “it doesn’t take all that.” But, it does! It does take all that–it takes every bit of THAT which makes me Black and woman and walking through the world!
There is a different level of moxie, chutzpah and bravado to be a Black girl in a world that either wants to be you, erase you or kill you! It take every bit of your THAT to walk through the world and not be overtaken by it! What is THAT you ask? THAT can be a myriad of things, but here are the three things that I have deduced THAT is: Voice. Style. Presence.
Voice. There is a power, a magic, that Black women have. There is a natural authority and sway we have. When we open our mouths at certain points, God will come out! And in that space, from that place of authority, people who don’t want to see or hear Black women–silence us. We get removed from rooms. We get ‘rescheduled.’ We get delegated. We get told that we ‘too loud.’ We are ‘too aggressive’. And then those accusations are met with rebuttal? Oh, then we are called ‘bitches’. As if that will make the roar soften because you call me a name! No. I’m too told to be stopped by that.
Style. The poet Nikki Giovanni talks about how divine this thing called style that Black folk have. The poet herself even said, “If the Black woman wasn’t born, she would have to be invented.” There is a power in this! There is something to Black women, whom bear Black girls who, too, will become Black women have that is indicative of self-expression. In a world which is bent toward erasure of anything it considers and aberration, Black women still are noticed–we can’t help but to be noticed! From hair, our nails, make up and shoes–to how will pull ourselves together for dinners, weddings or a night out–Black women have shaped, reinvented, and owned style from the first time we discovered color. This was before chattel slavery, dear ones.
Presence. I have been a tall girl my entire life. In quoting my aunt about the state of my body, she says it this way: “All you had all your life was legs and ass!” That’s a direct quote. Now, I stand 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and about 200 lbs. With the right outfit and shoes I am over 6 feet tall–you notice when I walk in a room. My mother tells me that a lady always has presence about her. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s until I realized what that meant. Presence is owning your life, experiences and all that your body is–stretch marks, muffin top, eyeglasses–whatever. The world doesn’t know what to do with a woman they are supposed to be ignore (let’s not forget we aren’t to be lusted after!), and it wants to erase! What do you do with a woman that you can’t help but see?
So yes, dear ones, it takes all of THAT. This life takes you owning your space. Amplifying your voice. It takes knowing who you are, and having your life not be defined by what other people can look or conceptualize you as! You make the boxes and draw outside of them!
Never let the world which can only take you in sips demand you give them a chaser! No! You have every right to be in this world–so be in it. Be. In. It.
As writer, sometimes the best fodder for your imagination are the things you have gone through. Nothing could be more accurate than what my own life is at present.
With me facing a second divorce in 7 years, I had to reckon with this concept and construct of my ‘married name’. The only thing I could do to combat is this confusion was to write it out.
Indeed, this is a personal work and I am in the cycle of grief about the demise of this relationship—and owning my part in its demise! What I have had to reconcile with this idea of having the name of a man whom I no longer have/desire any attachment to.
This chap book is available on Amazon, and I hope that it helps illuminate just how complex being 1 then 2, and back to 1 again can be.
“Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”-Harry (Galahad), The Kingsmen Secret Service
There were many things
We lost in the fire.
I was not one of them.
All opinions are my own and based on science as well as experience as a health care worker. If people don’t listen, this is about to be bad. No, it’s already bad! It’ll be worse…-JBHarris.
I admit it. When I first heard the phrase Flu Klux Klan, I screamed laughing. I was laughing right behind my N-95 rebreather mask. You know, the masks Orange Thanos believes US healthcare workers don’t need?
This situation is asinine.
I am convinced that America is the craziest place to live when shit is not actively on fire—but it is a dystopian novel when there is something actively on fire.
Octavia E. Butler tried to tell us! Did we listen?! Nooooo.
Only in the greatest nation in the world do people actively protest again their own self-interests, personal safety and health concerns. These folk are misinterpreting Bible verses, American history, and issues pertaining to women’s health and personhood.
If I wasn’t alive to see this, I would swear it was a book. It would have to be a book! We have an evil leader with sycophant supporters, a rebel base and are in the middle of multiple social crises! If we were burning books this would be Fahrenheit 451!
And legit? I’m scares something Orwellian like this will happen next!
But you know what? They are absolutely right! They have the right to feel how they want—even if that means endangering their own lives.
Their own lives.
Now, since these folk clearly have the brainwashing buckets on their heads the aquatic life in the Spongebob Squarepants move did, let me offer this.
If they do test positive for COVID-19, send them home. That’s right! Send them home. They should not have access to healthcare for a virus they said does not exist! These people are carrying assault weapons into government buildings while Black folk are being put out of Wal-Mart for wearing masks. Make this make sense!
You want to know why they don’t want to be in the house? The government told them they weren’t special! This is White supremacy having a tantrum. No more, no less. How does one make sense of insanity? Hint: you don’t. This folk are used to the government policing the behavior of other (read: Black, Brown, other people of color or Indigenous People) not them (read: White people). The government is supposed to let them do what they want, and oppress other people! This isn’t about health or “give me liberty or give me COVID-19.”
Side note: That is the stupidest effing sign one could make.
This is about whether or not people can trust their government and believe what they say! If there was ever a time to trust the government—or God forbid, pay attention, it’s now!
You have the right to die, yes! But you do not have the right to kill the rest of us because you don’t want to listen and you voted for Blackbeard the Pirate! GOH! As for me and mine, we will believe God and Dr. Fauci. And watch the world burn from inside the house. Go outside if you want to! Be around a whole lot of folk if you want to! The Death Industry is recession proof. And open graves are just the wide screams of the disbelieving.
Wash your hands. Avoid large groups of people. Wear masks. Don’t let the Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius win. He ain’t won’t come to your funeral or even notice you’re dead. He looks at the sun because he can’t believe anything is lighter or whiter than him.
[images taken from author’s social media]
So…I did it. I started a YouTube Channel! It is the most nerve-racking thing I have ever done. On this channel will be all the dope things you all love me for! The newest thing I saved only for YouTube is:
This is where I expound on an idea for about 10 minutes–just things that are on my mind, come across my desk or may just bother me in general. The One Minute Words which are on my professional Instagram will be there as well! There will even be a mentorship videos as well!
I am stoked. I am excited. There are already videos up! Follow and join the tribe. I even have cool name for the people that follow me: Oracles.
When I started school, we were constantly being taught not to talk to strangers. We were constantly taught not to get into stranger’s cars, take things from them, and to tell an adult if someone tried to bother us, to let an adult know. How similar these rules become when you cross from child to woman!
My girls are at the age now where I have to remind them to be aware of their surroundings. I have to tell of the trappings of moving through the world as a pretty girl. I have to make them aware, and unassuming all at once–and it troubles me. Especially when I take public transit, or am out in public. As a woman, I have the accouterments of the realm for assurance I won’t be bothered: phone, book, sunglasses, earphones. When I was of the age where I went out every weekend–and my Spanish was better I pretended I didn’t speak English.
The goal was always to be safe, get home, or not be bothered. In this age of participation trophies, and continuous yeses, there is a certain ilk of young man that does not like to be told “no”. And in telling them this ancient word that is used to dispatch, they–like all evil spirits—seek to destroy what they cannot hope to possess.
There is a certain portion of the male persuasion whom cannot cope with rejection or being ignored.
They stalk in packs like wolves, waiting and looking for the weak or unassuming, seeing if they can seduced or devoured. When I was younger, my father would tell me if there were a group of men/boys inside a place (like a gas station) to let him know, or he would come in with me. Or, the scarier part as a girl between 12-15 is when I would have to pretend I wasn’t scared—when I was. At that age, I knew what sex was. What rape was. What being touched when I didn’t want to be was. I knew all of these things. And I didn’t want these things to happen to me.
Yet, because toxic masculinity is real, and toxic patriarchy makes weak men believe all women are possessions and property, this evil roux births rape culture. In such a world that has such people in it, daughters are sent out into it. As scary as this is, they cannot avoid such evils in the world. If we love them, we have to equip them for this as well. We have to be brave enough to tell these brilliant female children, they walk amongst wolves.
Now, I am a fan of women and girls being able to defend themselves. I am a fan of women and girls always knowing their surroundings, and being aware of who they are with and the places their feet tread. There are conversations I have had with my daughters as it relates being ladylike, clean, and dealing with law enforcement. This, however, is a conversation I dread; only having it in pieces. I have only had the strength to have it in pieces. How do you tell your daughter there are people in the world that don’t see her as a person, but property? How do you remind your daughter to stay close to you in parking lot where there is light, and close your door as soon as your get in without making her feel utterly terrified? Yet, I must. I do. I continue.
I cannot have them go into the world unknowing. I cannot allow them to be in a position where they fall prey simply because they were uninformed! Where or when they didn’t know what to do; how to get out; how to defuse a potentially dangerous situation with an equally dangerous person? How can I let the go out into the world and not recognize their gut feeling and intuition–so they don’t override it? No. I cannot be that lax, or naive. I equip them, piece by piece-for their own good. Even when they don’t know it yet.
In that, I remind them the world can be dark–but it’s better to have a flashlight.
(This is an intimate letter to the Kings that inhabit this Queedom. Read and share.)
Kings of this Queedom:
Toxic masculinity is described as follows:
noun. a cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health: Men and women both suffer when toxic masculinity perpetuates expectations that are restrictive and traumatizing.
Let me make this appeal simple for the men of this Queendom: I need you to raise better sons. I need you to understand being a man is more than phallus antics. It is more than killing bugs. It is more than sporting events, being physically strong and ‘being a man.’ I need you all to understand your sons need to be able to be attentive, perceptive, and be taught to care for women.
Let me say this again: be taught to care for women.
Caring for a woman is more than buying her things. It is more than providing orgasms, or masturbating with her body (oh, it’s a thing)! Caring for a woman means that you have to be able to be what she needs, provide support (outside of material things), and have some empathy.
I need you to understand the world is scary, and women don’t always have the ability to ensure they will be okay. With that, what I also must impress upon you is toxic masculinity is not what grows a relationship. You exerting control over a woman, claiming that it’s what men do, is not the healthiest space to be in.
I need you to be mindful of the women in your life whom need you. I need you to check the men in your life who demean women, whom participate in street harassment, or are unable to handle the most dangerous word a woman can say: “No.” I need you all to understand your manhood, the idea of manhood, is not determined by what the world may think of you. I need you to understand your worth as a man is beyond the mastery of your emotions. The ability as a man to control your emotions, does not mean they do not exist.
Give your son, the young men in your life, permission to emote. To cry. To be human more than once! I want you to affirm your sons in the non-athletic things they do. Dearest Kings of this Queedom, I want you to give your son the permission to possess all of their personhood. This means being able to be the young men whom will help shape the world. Let them cry, let them draw, let them play football and paint or play trumpet. Remind them that manhood is both collective and individualistic. Collective as they are not the only men in the world, and somethings are just common to the sex. Individualistic because they are, will be, unique to the world; such things are to be special.
What is needed now, what is needed for future generations of daughters is men (and women) whom are able to value all of their person; beyond sexual antics. I need the men of this Queendom to understand women are not possessions to hoard, or projects to critique, but people. I need you all to understand that as a man, you have the unique responsibility of instructing and modeling for your son, and instilling that model for your daughter.
She will need your strength to let her know what reasonable expectations of a partner. Your daughter will need your help to navigate these spaces that require her to be astute as well as charming. She will need your wisdom to set reasonable expectations, how to avoid crazy situations, and to know what love looks like.
Can you do that for her? For her sake, I pray you can.
For the sake of all the world, teach the Princes how to be Kings.