For a good portion of my life I dedicated my life to our Lord and savior. During this time, I told myself that everything was wrong with me, nothing I did was out of my own strength and the biggest lie I told myself was about my identity. I truly believed that I could pray the gay away. Years down the line I’ve realized that there was nothing wrong with me, I can do anything I put my mind to and my queer ass is fabulous. But it took a long time to get here. Heartache, depression, anxiety- the list goes on. I left the church in order to come to where I am but, I am thinking about rejoining.
Not to long ago, my old pastor sent a text message to a few members of this church basically asking for money. I haven’t heard from this person in a while so I was a little confused about how they thought it was appropriate to ask me for money. I started putting two and two together and realized, the church I was once apart of has fallen apart which means that the pastor isn’t getting money from anyone anymore, at least not the incredible amount they were receiving at one point. I remember being told that if you were going to be apart of this church it was my duty to pay my tithes. I never understood why I was paying tithes which basically paid for this amazing condo in midtown Atlanta while I lived in a little apartment in East Atlanta. What was even more mind blowing was the fact that I was asked to give this money on a college student’s budget, all because Jesus got me in that school so I need to pay back the person that prayed for me to get into that school.
Fast forward to 2019, Kanye West is becoming the face of gospel music. Taking hip hop beats and pairing them with gospel lyrics, ( a method that has been done since the beginning of time) has placed Kanye back in the graces of the black community and more specifically the black church. I find it amazing that the same man who supported Trump but somehow didn’t actually vote, is now performing at churches. Churches have been promoting his appearances like a damn club event. Niggas who have never been to church showed up in their Yeezy’s and Calabasas gear to see Kanye West at his Sunday Service. Some may say, Kanye is helping his people find their way back to God as he is but, I’m not buying it.
Recently, Kanye West has been named the highest paid rapper, passing Drake and Jay-Z. Wasn’t this nigga just cancelled? Weren’t y’all banning Yeezys and not listening to his music? Has Yeezus rose again?
It is way more profitable to say you are Christian than anything else. The Christian church has a history of forgetting (forgiving sins) about people’s past. And the church has never been afraid of an healthy donation. Time and time again we are shown who the true God is and where people’s focus really resides. And honestly, I’m tired of missing out on my blessing. I’ve been working my ass off for a while and yes I have a lot to be thankful for but, I can’t help but to think I’m cutting myself short because I haven’t given my life to God. Maybe, I should just pull a Kanye and become a pivotal member of the church. Maybe I just need to bow down and claim the Lord is my savior too and collect this check like everyone else is doing. Seems like a great return on my investment. Say some things to get people to believe me and collect a check or two. Amen.
I’ve been meaning to sit and write everything I was feeling but I couldn’t. Imagine being in a place where nothing mattered. You feel nothing but, everything at the same time. Imagine not knowing your left from right and not being able to put a reason behind that feeling that felt so wrong and still wondering if it was right. Trying to decode every thought and every feeling. Trying to dig yourself out of this hole that you have not the slightest clue how you got in. This is exactly where I was… stuck.
Someway, somehow, I managed to get out of this mental space before it took over my entire being and here I am in what I like the to call the “Shades of Blue”. The period after the depression is gone. Numb to what you really feel but still feeling. Enjoying the deep, low hues of blue that can appear brighter and happier but, are rooted in sadness and lows. It’s an odd space and I sometimes feel like I’m the only one in this space sometimes. Think about all the different shades of blue you know. Really tap into those shades and what they make you feel. Some blues are happier and represent moments of joy. While other blues bring you to darker times that don’t show their face in those moments of joy but, appear in those lows. The Shades of Blue are so weird for me. I never know what to do and how to take them. But, it always makes me think of the ocean. Swaying in the wind. Controlled by everything around it yet can control everything around it. The ocean brings peace but can also wreak havoc . Those are my Shades of Blue.
Post depression periods often leave me with so much to say but, no words. The shades of blue can cause moments of madness but, they often bring peace and understanding. An understanding that I needed and a peace that keeps me going. I think I’ve normed my blues and allowed them to be apart of my story and apart of my now. While writing this, my blue is a turquoise. Opportunity, calming and serene. Refreshing and sophisticated. I’m okay with my blues.
Forgiveness and accountability work hand in hand. I realized this as I started to accept my truth. My reality is mine and I’m somewhat in control of what it looks like. The things that I may dislike are apart of my reality as well. And when dealing with the truth sometimes we discover things that we don’t like. Our uglies we want no one to know about. Our uglies we don’t want to accept. But we must. It’s there. It’s real.
Now that we recognize the truth and all it holds, we have to forgive. When forgiving we sometimes feel like we have to only focus on other people and what they have done to us. The blame game. “You hurt me and this is why I am this way but I’m going to forgive you for my own growth”…the story we all know , oh so well. But you know that saying about pointing the finger …three pointing back at you…however the fuck it goes…let’s stop playing the blame game and be accountable for our shit. We have choices in life. And those choices usually reveal themselves but we don’t always see them. Sometimes because we don’t want to. Other times because we can’t comprehend what is happening. Nonetheless, the choice is yours. You did that. You made that happen. And it’s ok. Accept it. Don’t blame yourself or anyone. It is what is . It’s real. Forgive yourself, we make mistakes. We fuck up. We’re supposed to! It’s how we learn. It’s how we evolve. And I’ll speak for myself, I rather fuck up a bunch of times and learn than never make a mistake and not learn anything. The day I stop learning, is the day I stop breathing.
Forgiveness is a bitch. It causes us to see different perspectives and deep dive into our souls. It hurts. It’s uncomfortable but it’s healing. Removing the baggage. Letting go. It’s needed. It’s relief. It’s self care!
I want to dedicate this Nigel Shelby. Nigel took his magical life at an early age because he was bullied for being gay. Nigel could’ve been me. We all could’ve been like Nigel which is why we must learn to love and protect our LGBTQ+ youth. To Nigel and all the other magical kids in the world, I love you. I’m fighting for you. This is for you.
Working in education has been a roller coaster. You never know what to expect, there’s always a loop of some sort and at the end of it you’re so glad it’s over but also glad you did it. The hardest part about working in education is having little kids with big problems. How am I to help you resolve an issue that is literally bigger than you? Nonetheless, I love what I do.
I have recently relocated to Denver to do social and emotional work with some students. At my new school, just like my last, there are openly queer students. I’ve had 8 year olds define their sexuality better than some adults do. As a queer teacher the most frustrating conversations are the ones surrounding LGBTQ+ education and students. There’s this idea that, kids are too young to know about “that” or that kids don’t know their own sexuality. These ideas are frustrating because I remember being 6 and liking a boy and it not being anything sexual. I also remember any pretty 6 year old girl I befriended was deemed my girlfriend by an adult …but again, kids don’t know their sexuality. Anyways, this mindset is extremely toxic and in no way , shape or form beneficial for the young LGBTQ+ community. And God forbid they are a child of color…the trauma.
Let’s dig deeper…
LGBTQ+ youth are 3 times more likely to commit suicide and almost 5 times more likely to attempt to commit suicide. We’re losing lives because of toxic ideas. For a lot of youth, growing up gay is a daily war. They’re getting attacked from every direction. Our children are given every reason in the book on why being gay is wrong but aren’t given the true love they deserve. Those that make it, then grow up with internalized trauma and are looking for outlets. These outlets aren’t always safe and end up destroying our people.
There are grown ass women and men who won’t even come out because of the backlash and trauma they have already endured from their childhood. “The gay is wrong “mantra continues to play in their souls and they don’t know what to do with themselves. It’s a constant battle of what is right and what is wrong that is all stemmed from childhood trauma and homophobia. The same idea that is taking out our community one person at a time. We have to stop letting passive and non passive homophobia destroy our kiddos and our community.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, you deserve to be loved. You deserve to be protected. And you deserve the best. I am always an ally and advocate for the chosen magical ones because WE matter.
Dear young Darrius,
I just want to let you now, everything is ok. You are different and that’s okay. Like it’s perfect actually. I know there are so many people telling you what to do and how to act because apparently everything about you is wrong if you let someone else tell it but I’m telling you, you are perfect! You are a light and always will be. The things that people use to belittle you will be exactly what takes you far in life.
Hold on young warrior. I know shit doesn’t make sense to you right now and I know you think it will all be better if you just died right there but please hold on. There are people that are depending on you to grow up and be great and strong for them. There are people who are going to love you just the way you are because you are perfect. Fuck everyone who says anything opposite of that. Fuck everyone who tried to steal your light. Fuck everyone who spoke death on your name at 10,13 and so on. By the way, they are fucking insane because I’m coming to you at 23-still alive.
Don’t let other people’s beliefs bring you down.
Question everything. You have all the tools to be phenomenal already. As you get older you will use these tools to build your empire and everyone will see and congratulate you for all that you have done. You will have to learn to love yourself first and take care of you first always! Don’t let anyone take away the love that you have. Don’t let anyone abuse the love that you have. And don’t let anyone take advantage of you. You don’t need anyone’s validation at all. You are so great little boy. That smile is going to light up rooms and your energy will transform the environment. You are a force that is not to be fucked with. And people see it , they just want to control it. Don’t give anyone that control and don’t give anyone power over you. I’m telling you, FUCK THEM! Even your family. Learn to love them from afar and learn to simply say…fuck y’all. In your head of course because you must stay respectful but when you get older you’ll be screaming fuck you from high mountains and everyone will hear it. You’ll be fine. Trust me.
Young Darrius. You are a king, you are worthy of love and I just need you to hold on. Your wildest dreams will come true. You are going to do amazing things in life, you just have to hold on. You are going to have friends that love the fuck out of you. You are going to meet someone that loves the fuck out of you. And you will love the fuck out of you and that’s what’s most important. So keep on being different , keep on questioning everything , keep on excelling. Everything will be alright. I’m so proud of you little man, I know you don’t hear that enough. But 23 year old Darrius is proud of you because you are amazing. And I just need you to hold on. Everything will be ok. I love you and always will.