There’s a difference between reacting to something I said and speaking past what I said to interject your opinion.
I don’t create for your validation. I don’t create for your approval. I don’t care how you feel about my curls. If you are a nonblack person who rushes to respond to my poem about anti-blackness in the hair care industry by speaking to what you personally think about my curls or kinky curls more generally? Then you are missing the point. You are gaslighting me when I’m out here pointing to a thing saying: “this is real!”
Don’t do that.
Despite your intentions, you are speaking over my experience. This poem isn’t for you. So don’t make it about you.
I’ve said this before and this isn’t going to change: My work centers ME. My perspective. My truth. My opinion. My experience. My needs. My boundaries. My humanity.
I’m not going to sit here and be dehumanized.
Be very clear that I’m asking you to be conscious of where your words are coming from. Are the words you’re sharing for me the human being- or are they for yourself? Are you saying what you’re saying simply to assure yourself that you aren’t racist or uninformed or ignorant in the ways that my work asks you to confront? Because if thats the case then keep it to yourself.
Let yourself be uncomfortable by actually BEING with the things my work calls you to see. We all have unlearning to do. We all have healing to do. You aren’t exempt or absolved. The rush to center yourself, the rush to defer to the learned behaviors of white supremacy (make it about you/ take it personally, talk over me, quickly tie it in a pretty bow etc and so on) are acts of insecurity and fear.
So be brave.
If it doesn’t feel good? Just sit with it. Don’t make it my problem. Don’t bring it to me. Don’t compliment me to try and make it go away. Just sit with it.
There is healing in learning to witness yourself.
There is healing in learning how to be with yourself.
Click here to read my poem “Kinky Curls”.