Hello Human How do you Do?
The amoeba eats away bit by bit at the soul, then the body, right before it consumes the mind. I refuse to allow it to take hold of me. I don’t want to dance with spiritual death regardless, of its charisma and charm. Nor do I want solace and vindication by superficial acquaintances and relations with others. No thank you, I’d rather have the comfort of direct and unapologetic insults. Patronization is just another form of being kicked in my abdomen. This is when I have to dig deeper into myself and ask what Sister Sonia Sanchez often asks “What does it mean to be human?” I wonder, does allowing yourself to feel and voice your hurt a step towards humanity? I will go a step farther and say that I also think it means, acknowledging that others feel hurt and need voice too.
I was born in 1982, during the towering inferno of HIV and AIDS. America was still grappling with the idea of what it meant; that it could kill you, and making love was a big part of how you could get it. Death by illness is not a shock to the human psyche but dying is. America, at this time was at the height of technology, the economy was booming, and illnesses at that time were “curable.” Since hemophiliacs, gay men, minorities, drug addicts, and those in foreign countries were the first reported cases it was the impetus to begin attacks on any and all groups that are considered inferior.
I am often amazed at the direct insults and assault that I have endured and that I never attempted suicide or have a nervous breakdown. I endured bullying in school from grade school all the way to my undergraduate education. I endured physical, emotional and psychological abuse from my own family because I was “different.” Yet, people make the erroneous claim that I chose to be this way! I didn’t ask to be bullied, abused and the whipping boy for a sad attempt to gain a moment of existence.
We are crabs in a barrel. We you ask? Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. I love being who I am. Not just an African in America but above all a human being. It hurts me to the core that I could be hated and despised because of my difference. Ironically, I thought difference makes us divine and lovely not vile and viral. I don’t ask for a red carpet to be rolled out before my feet nor a black tie affair in my honor. However, I do ask for respect and the acceptance of my aid and ability to move us forward. Don’t Bayard Rustin or James Baldwin me! They sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears but because of our fear we kicked them in the solar plexus. Oh how quickly we turn our backs on our brothers and let me not forget my sisters too. Sisters Audre Lorde and Alice Walker blatantly announcing their bodies and the love of women caused our people to say that they hate men and themselves. When in fact they love them more by telling their stories! I am firm believer that “silence won’t protect me or anyone else!” It kills us slowly and painfully worse than any terminal diagnosis. It is the worst type of cancerous parasite.
I had the pleasure to sit in company with 50 other men and women and the conjurer Sister Sanchez and she entered the room quietly. She didn’t even ruffle feathers or make a scene. This set the tone of knowing she was serving a purpose. We engaged in an opening exercise of breathing and then we partnered up and sat directly in front of each other and we had to place our hands on each other’s hearts. We had to feel and listen to our partner’s heartbeat. We were forced to breath each other’s breath, feel each other’s pulse, humanize each other’s existence. We had to put our ego aside and say hello you human in front of me how do you do?