Most of my clarity was born from contrast; the result of years of bending, breaking and shaping myself to meet my perception of other peoples expectations of me. Performing to meet expectations that were ultimately rooted in white supremacy and patriarchy. I understand white supremacy because I have the insight of participating in a system that taught me to betray myself.
I grew up in overwhelmingly white spaces. I was intensely and relentlessly bullied as a child, and I believe compliance became a way of coping.
The logic goes; if people like me, they might not hurt me.
I got good at anticipating other peoples needs. I got good at conforming to make other people comfortable. I got good at prioritizing other peoples feelings. Always at the expense of my own comfort, my own needs, my own feelings. Always a betrayal of myself.
Unlearning these behaviors will continue to be a lifelong process for me. A continual commitment to show up each day as more of who I really am. Sometimes that looks like saying true things in public spaces. But more often than not it just looks like saying what I mean, asking for what I need, and saying how I feel, no matter where I am. This often means recognizing when I’m perpetuating an old pattern, and giving myself the space to self correct. I’m not ashamed of who I was. I have a lot of empathy for the versions of myself that saw compliance with white supremacy as a means of survival. When I say things like “we are taught to hate ourselves” - it’s because that’s a fact that I’ve intimately reckoned with.
Now? On the other side and perpetually in process of healing this realization?
I aim to create work that breaks chains, starting first with my own.
Becoming conscious of our participation in these systems enables us to become conscious of our power to change them.
As we embody new boundaries? As we sit with our discomfort to claim, and reclaim, and double down on true boundaries?
We gather the strength to stand in our worth.
And once we are there?
Image Reads: We Owe You Nothing. Not our Time. Not our patience. Not our attention. Not our deference. Not our accommodation. Not our cooperation. Absolutely not our trust. Nothing implied with a “must” So Before you step to us Get this right and then adjust Cosmic light, hear this robust: We Owe You Nothing.