I hope that you’ll also forgive the very stream-of-consciousness nature of this blog. I’ve never written a blog before, and I’m not that concerned about popularity or widespread readership. It’s just that for the first time I have a strong reason to do this. And also, in some sense for the first time too, I have the desire to write these thoughts down for the sake of connecting and finding community.
I joined a chat server yesterday that I think I’ll fit into well. In my introduction I included, “…my whole life has been an identity struggle [lol]. I’m biracial, but eternally grateful I grew up on my black family’s side, my mother’s side. I was [also] raised bi-coastally between north Florida and the Bay Area of California.”
For most of my adult life I believed I had no identity at all.
The reason I’ve come to this point, as in, why I’m writing about the concept of identity as I go through it day-by-day, is because for most of my adult life I believed I had no identity at all. Nothing, no label seemed to fit my sense of self well enough for me to feel like I had a grasp on who I was. I don’t mean this to say I thought I was so special that nothing could live up to describing me. This was an attempt at resignation via a prolonged state of despair. I had very little fear and did away with my fear of death; because if there was no “I,” what difference does it make whether I’m here or not? I clung to the identities I wore as desperately as I could, but after a few months they would be paper thin and disintegrate.
I realize I haven’t gotten to the positive part yet.
As of now I’ve landed on the gender identity of nonbinary. I’m just beginning to flesh out what exactly this means and looks like for me.
Okay, so here’s the positive part.
I watched the film Bacurau yesterday. There’s a cameo by living legend, ciranda singer and composer Lia de Itamaracá. I didn’t realize it was her until the end credits as I hadn’t listened to her in a really long time. But when she appeared toward the end of the film, I was floored. I was in awe. As if I was seeing not just her image, but her spirit.
As I’ve been figuring out what being nonbinary means to me, I’ve had to ask myself the question, What does womanhood mean to me? What has it looked like and felt like when it struck me in the past for reasons I couldn’t figure out back then? When Lia de Itamaracá appeared on the screen in living form, I was reminded of those strong, confusing feelings I used to have growing up when coming across women like her. At the time, I wouldn’t have been able to say that I “identified” with them, but when I would see these matriarchs, the closest I could describe it back then was that I felt like I was really there with them — in some emotional capacity, some spiritual capacity that at the time seemed unfortunately useless. I never knew what to do with these feelings. How does one become a strong advocate for elderly spiritual women? I didn’t have any kind of outlet for that. Yesterday though, that feeling finally started to make sense to me. I felt like I saw some part of myself, or what I could be, in her. I felt like I was finally inside my body, instead of halfway out, trying to empathically figure out my surroundings, people and all, in a panic so that I don’t misstep. That was yesterday’s positive for me.