"...& it [speaking / expressing / breaking one's own silence] is never without fear of visibility, of the harsh light of scrutiny & perhaps judgement, of pain, of death...but we have lived through all of those already, in silence, except death."
- a u d r e l o r d e
exactly a year ago, on my 24th birthday (when jupiter returned), i wrote this on the book of faces / facebook. i remember being so surprised at how receptive folks were to my soliloquy slash narrative...also equally tripped out as to how facebook has become a main, popular mode of human interaction...
i remember first going to uc santa barbara & being baffled by the number of privileged folks that pulled the shifty eyes, the head-to-toe-toe-to-head looks, the semi-fearful-semi-disgusted-semi-awkward-yet-always-silent-with-zero-smile looks when me & the other females of color would tread a typically white space (with the occasional tokens that seem to conform to the scenery), the fucked-up peer sloshing through the crowded party only to step on my foot, push me, & say "ew, you need to go." it was in these extremely frustrating moments that i would rep frisco the absolute hardest; remembering that if i were to ever step to anybody like that in my respective sf public schools, muni spaces, or public areas, that i would indeed get my shit banked. (to this day, forever thankful.)
i can't help but see the same silly conformity i witnessed at a uc santa barbara party, here at home. what conformity? well i mean: 1. the lack of community, 2. the lack of human compassion/empathy, 3. the lack of neighborly small talk on the street, 4. the carefree transplants that see this city as merely their playground to get fucked up, make money, meet hella people, eat good food, share it on instagram, & say "oh, i live in the city" without caring to know the working class families on your block, or without caring to see or understand the incredibly beautiful narratives of struggle that built this golden city.
sure maybe i am getting older & entering new spaces of the "real world". well if the real world means two white girls at the tipsy pig saying "this is our cue to leave..." after immediately seeing two young mixed-race sf men of color walk into the bar, then i might be pulling some out of pocket shit the next time you see me. sure i understand change occurs. but when the city, my home, is becoming drier/whacker with every new eviction, more & more money-centered & less community-minded with more & more goofy ass aston martins zooming through residential neighborhoods with children walking, i mean, i will be telling you what's really on my mind. i cannot see my home ransacked by more metal cranes & "luxurious" high-rise condominiums only to promote apathy & dead fishes that swim with the nonexistent, illusive mainstream. i'm not saying i'm finna bank somebody's shit (violence is not quite the language i try to perpetuate), i'm just saying, that i will be sharing, i will be voicing, i will be saying. i will be saying. i will be saying. i will be saying. i will be saying.
i do believe in compassion & i do believe we are all, including myself, not able to always see the water that we all are swimming in. i get that not everyone had the same upbringing as i, attending an alternative public school focused on polyculturalism & community building via art. i am not saying my upbringing is better or more righteous than anyone else's. i guess i just love having being born & raised in san francisco, traversing the panoramic city across time with my parents', grandparents', great grandparents', & great great grandparents' shared stories. i guess i just feel so fortunate to have grown up with a diverse array of city folks that have shown me at a young age what a positive, tolerant, polycultural, inclusive community can look & feel like. i guess i just get hurt feelings when i see some young dudes of privilege laugh at an older chinese man collecting cans from the nearby trashcan. i guess i just get really hot when i am told that there are "too many asians in san francisco".
audre lorde once said: "when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. but when we are silent we are still afraid. so it is better to speak" / "what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood".
to my fellow homegrown sf cats & trans-bay cats fearing displacement: we are all artists, we are all storytellers -- it is in the way we live day to day, in the way we occupy our space in our communities. let our collective culture be known, let us share. feel free to say. just say. do say. i will say. i just did say. i said. i will continue to say.
i wrote this piece one year after completing my undergrad...1 year back in frisco.
...oh wee cuz...a time of straight entropy, chaos. drowning in what seemed like the sucka-ful city of frisco...toe my lil' spirit up from the flo' up. as a fellow lowellite & womxn | artivist of resilience & brilliance, vida, gracefully articulated:
[sf became] " the place that i found myself & lost myself " [over & over again].
i was oversaturated with feelings...overcome by a chaotic surge of aimless thoughts...ping ponging from one thought to another...running in countless circles but still remaining in the same damn place.
now living in the countryside of japan for only about 6 months out of a committed 24 months, i have had the privilege of space / time ... quiet ... a break from the mamaland of sf.
it has been challenging, yet necessary...lonely, yet illuminating.
i have been reacquainting myself with my inner (yo)universe. kickin' it in the long, dark corridors of my mind, reexamining old mental sketches of my past. mindfully observing the ebb & flow of my every emotion...finding myself often dragged by the under toe...into the rough waters...into the vast chaotic uncertainty...that is myself.
head fully underwater, i came to realize that when i was back in san francisco i, like probably majority of y'all, had acquired an extremely murky, deep well of unsung songs. songs i couldn't even clearly understand myself...dreadful tangles & knots, i had no interest in combing out / unpacking / articulating neatly (literally exactly my hair)...it felt like that same dread when you accumulated a sky high pile of dense, convoluted college course readings that you dreaded throughout the semester & ran away from & told yourself you read it later, only to start to tackle the thousands of pages 2 hours before your term paper due & you anticipated & prepped yourself for the dreadful rush to read it all by tweakin' / numbin' yoself off of yerba mate, coffee, & for some folks, lines of blue addy or countless bong rips...like literally sanity hanging by a toenail trimming...
what to make of this oversaturated psyche & life of mine...i remember thinking. sure i could draw, but i also do like words & i do like playing show & tell & putting my feelings out there & seeing what comes to fruition...because as much as i love writing in a journal just for myself, there is something deeply fulfilling & transformational about sharing my feelings, my stories, my humanness to others...for reasons i cannot currently articulate.
following the wisdom of one the many goddesses that have graced my life with dey presence, my cognitive behavioral therapist from circa middle skool, i decided to stop running in circles. i decided to step away, postpone that shit & get back to untangling a bit later. so i decided to reunite, flirt, snog with my 4th grade crush: reading.
it was kinda like the crystalline stars dropped from the velvet black night sky & fell into the form of the poetry | theory of a u d r e l o r d e ... boom. it was as though my molecular processes were totally reconfigured...the water of my mind just fa-lowin’. here are some words that pinched me tough:
“this is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are – until the poem – nameless & formless, about to be birthed but already felt. that distillation of experience from which true poetry springs births thought as a dream births concept, as feeling births idea, as knowledge births (precedes) understanding”
“for each of us as women, there is a dark place within, where hidden & growing our true spirit rises “beautiful/and tough as chestnut/stanchions against your nightmare of weakness/” – & of impotence. these places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient & hidden; they have survived & grown strong through that darkness. within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity of power, of unexamined & unrecorded emotion & feeling. the woman’s place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, & it is deep."
"for women, then, poetry is not a luxury. it is a vital necessity of our existence. it forms the quality of light within which we predicate our hopes & dreams toward survival & change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.”
“for within living structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive. kept around as unavoidable adjuncts or pleasant pastimes, feelings were expected to kneel to thought as women were expected to kneel to men.”
-- b o o m
the floetry of audre lorde then connected to another dot ...
i read alice walker's meditation, we are the ones we have been waiting for. queen walker basically articulates that we are all gonna die & that ultimately no one will remember us & that the earth & the planets sho won't remember our asses cause ultimately when the earth decides to explode / shift its atmospheric make-up or when we humans destroy ourselves, we will return to our stardust form of oneness. so since nobody will remember yo ass or care, live this life genuinely & consciously...with love...with "death on your shoulders" as bell hooks articulates in her winner winner chicken dinner book, all about love. & of course this doesn't mean living life like a fuck ass / fuck boi & thinking voting doesn't matter & that trump as president would be chill as fawk cause only yo life matters...nah breh, we all dependent on one another...on all living thangs, on pretty much everything. we truly is one. we must maintain this collective homeostasis accordingly...& just live mindfully in the present...engaged with the present. i mean as much as i am just a drop in the vast infinite & majestic ocean , i am also the vast infinite & majestic ocean in this drop. & so are you.
campfire literally lit under my arse.
basically i ain't saying that i found the answers to life. there is no such for me.
i just think i am going to knock down my own walls of fear...jump off these mental cliffs...pop off...follow my internal navigation...& e x p r e s s my poetry | theory | narrative | story whatever it may be in order to truly
be the highest m e .
again: " this is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are – until the poem – nameless & formless, about to be birthed but already felt. "
must embrace this mode of expression - storytelling / narrating / whatevering - to fully process life...to truly revel & live within this current human experience...to genuinely let myself be f r e e .
so here i am. being vulnerable. being visible. my own damn occupation / reclamation of (cyber) space since rent in san francisco is so damn high. for myself...for the higher me...but really...