I always thought love had to be full of turmoil.
I thought love had to be something that was tumultuous, that I had to earn after great pain, great suffering and great time lost. I thought it had to be heterosexual. That was all I saw. I grew up in Texas… Houston, Texas. The options I saw for women was to go to college, join a sorority, find a well to do man and have babies. That was the path to a “successful happy” woman in love. Now, I love Houston, but I was queer. And those options weren’t what I wanted my life to be. I saw no queer woman where I was at, let alone black and femme. I felt the options I had for love were slim and that led me to believe that my life was going to be one full of insufficiency and unhappiness. I was trying to fit into the mold of a Texan Christian girl. I wanted to be accepted and approved of.
“I thought it had to be heterosexual. That was all I saw. I grew up in Texas… Houston, Texas.”
When I moved from Texas, to New York City, life changed and thus, my perspective quickly shifted. I began to realize the possibilities of what love and my life could be. I saw queer people around me. I had relationships with these people and they weren’t simply people that I saw on TV. They were REAL. But the representation I saw reflected on the community I was in. I was a minority in a mostly white major (musical theatre) and so the queer love that I saw was… white. I was surrounded by Eurocentric standards and constructs of queer love. Again, I felt immense pressure to fit in this white system of thought to make sense of myself.
I began to have an intense identity crisis. At this point in my college career, I knew who I wanted to be. But to get there externally, the change had to begin internally. I began to expose myself to black queer culture, and it brought vibrancy to a new color in me. I began to have emotional and sexual experiences with women and I knew that this awakening was something that I couldn’t hide much longer. I was “out” by word of mouth, but certainly not by social media. I had people from my home church that followed me on Instagram and being a PK (pastor’s kid), I felt I had a reputation to keep up with. I was living a double life, a facade. And it began to eat at me. I was with a man then, that I had no business being with, simply because… he was a man.
But I forced myself to make the relationship work because I felt I HAD TO. See, much of what I have done in my life in love has been because I felt I had to. I have always felt that there were no other options outside of what I saw. I felt I had to subscribe to this system, this bondage I was born into. The constructs of what I saw in Texas, in pop culture, in social media and white media had infiltrated my brain. I thought this construct was all life could be for me. I was forcing myself to go through emotional and physical turmoil to fit in a fabricated mold of whom I thought I should be. I would soon meet someone who inspired me to shift my focus.
“I was ‘out’ by word of mouth, but certainly not by social media.”
I was exposed to the icon that is Isis Rosina Bruno two years ago through a page that she created on Facebook to cultivate a home for black people in theatre to “do whatever the fuck they wanna do.” This page has been a huge central point in my life. I could see so many queer people and develop online friendships with them. Some friendships began to flourish outside the online Facebook space too! Through this page, Isis/her work has been a part of my life before she even intimately knew me.
We met in person some time after and immediately, I was drawn to her spirit. She was power, she was unapologetic, she simply… was. Now, I was still in a relationship… with a man, and felt so incredibly trapped. But I was trapping myself. Something about being in her presence was a light in my tunnel. She was the representation I needed to see.
So, I began to work on myself for myself. Additionally, I knew I could not remotely be in her spiritual space in the state that I was in. I took a week long trip to Colorado during my spring break and logged off the internet and social media to understand who the fuck I was and who the fuck I wanted to be. No can tell you what is holding back your mind, you have to see it for yourself. You alone can determine and see your truth. I realized I had the external appearance of an unapologetic woman, but the internal turmoil of an explaining woman. I was a woman defined by the approval of others. Fear and anxiety were the remote controls to my life. I was a woman trying to fit into the “establishment.” I wanted to make sense to others. I didn’t want to be a threat.
“I realized I had the external appearance of an unapologetic woman, but the internal turmoil of an explaining woman.”
My mind became tired of battling what the constructs and systems around me told me to do and what I wanted to do. In this moment, I decided to be happy. Now, it may sound easy, but I knew that for me to be happy, live the life that I wanted to live, and love Isis how she deserved to be loved, I had to make some sacrifices. I had to love myself. And in loving myself, I made different decisions. These decisions started with evaluating my relationships and evaluating the energy they brought into my life. I began to start removing people from my life that wanted me to be a “yes-man.” I began to find happiness and self approval in the responses and directions of myself instead of other people who had no relevance in the success of my life. I was no longer a slave to the system of others and what they “allowed” me to do. I simply did. I became self-full.
I had to identify the Matrix I was in and then begin to distance myself from it. It felt like prison. I had to resist the mindset of a past system dictating my way of thought and my decisions. If I didn’t put aside this system of thought, it would put aside the possibility of great love and a great life. It would hold me back from my destined purpose. This idea was an intense struggle for me. I was living by and defending a mindset that was killing me. These mental barriers were holding me back from achieving my truest destiny. “The way you understand a thing determines your expected end.”
The mindset I had always known was infiltrating my happiness, infiltrating my joy. I had to identify what that mindset was every time it showed up. I was going through “resistance training.” To “identify and resist” was the training that allowed me to understand and lean into the new perspective of life that I wanted.
I had to understand my way of thought and then challenge it. The power that the system used to have over my mind began to dismantle, so that I could find my new truth. In me finding my new truth and raising my spiritual vibration, my relationship with this man ended. I began to outgrow how I spoke, how I understood, and how I thought. I wanted to be bigger than the system. I was not going to be put away by the system, I was going to put the system away. I could not live a lie. I was ready to love. And I was more specifically ready to love Isis. Isis and I met up, and the rest is history.
With Isis, I began to experience the transcendent nature of true love; beyond the material world that’s distracted by looks, constructs and attractive bodies. I’ve learned the material world is not immortal. Knowledge is. Knowledge will never pass. With Isis, I find someone I had a common intellectual basis and internal match with. We tapped into the realm of the immortal love. Her compass matched my compass. We were on the same path; she was seeking the greatness of self and career that I was seeking.
We had both accessed the realm of independent, unapologetic love of self. And in that, our love was honest and it was real. My love life had been an ongoing cycle of psychological dissatisfaction that came from temporary physical/construct attraction. But in shifting my mindset, I shifted my capacity to love.
We have the individual power to create any type of love we want for ourselves.
Many times, we can be developed outwardly, but not inwardly. We can be loyal to a system that has been our norm our entire lives. For me, this system bamboozled and hoodwinked me into believing that as queer people of color, we could not live happy lives. Our lives do not have to fit within the construct of what society says. We can create and cultivate a life that makes us happy by doing the work to change the matrix in our mind. But, we must do the work. We CAN create our fairytale and it can be sustainable! If we do the self work, we can create a life and love-life for ourselves that we always imagined. See the life/love life you want, and create your construct. Break outside the prison of your mind. Love can be fruitful and need not be the turmoil and trauma. Love can be what we want it to be. We hold the power. Awaken from the Matrix!
For me, this system bamboozled and hoodwinked me into believing that as queer people of color, we could not live happy lives