you’re the dealer and the stoner with the sweetest kiss I’ve ever known

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from The Kitchen Table Series by Carrie Mae Weems

If I had a choice I wonder if I would choose to be a black woman from the beginning. I wonder if I would choose to be an immigrant, an artist, a marginalized part of society. I have learned so much walking around in this shell of blood and DNA and madness. I have learned so much and become more empathetic as a result of my experiences.

But I have also learned that people don’t want me to ask questions, to speak up for myself, or to exist confidently. People preferred when I was insecure (I still am) and I was crippled by the uncertainty of my existence and the world around me.

I have been called more terrible things by people now that I am living authentically. Now that I won the war inside my own head I am now stuck in a war against the world.

But you know? I am not worried about it. I am prepared to learn and fight and grow in whatever way the universe needs me to. I am not phased by the haters. I am not worried about people who want to tear me down because I have worked hard to build myself up from a very dark place.

I expect to still have darkness come creeping in. I know there will be some days where I will cry nonstop and the world will be unkind and try to make me participate in its insanity but for once I don’t need to let it into life.

There are a lot of people who have incredibly awful things to say about me. And I have made my mistakes, sure, but I am more than the sum of my parts. I know that. No, actually I believe it with every fiber of my being.

I won the war in my mind (for now) and I am at peace with myself.

The rest is just white noise.

goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.

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“Truisms” by Jenny Holzer

My mother used to tell me when I was a kid to be kind to people because I didn’t know what their journey was or what they were dealing with. I of course used to roll my eyes and mutter something passive aggressive because I didn’t want to hear it. I had a quick temper and if someone was rude to me I was rude right back. I would be quick with an insult if need be and I didn’t let anyone push me around. When I thought of my mother’s words I would get angrier because in my mind, if other people were having such a difficult time then maybe it was because of their terrible attitude.

I never once took into consideration that people come from all walks of life, deal with their own personal traumas and illnesses, and that life itself can just be so goddamn hard some days. To me, people were just supporting actors in the beautiful film of my life, and I simple couldn’t stand for anyone to be a jerk to me.

But I guess that’s the strangest and most wonderful part of growing up. I think of all the things I believed and ways I behaved years ago and I am amazed at how far I’ve come. I know I have so much further to go and most days I’m not exactly a model citizen but I’m putting in the work.

I think a lot about my depression and how much it’s altered my life and caused so much pain to myself and those I care about but then I remember how some days it is also a gift. Because it has helped me to be more compassionate and mindful towards others. It has made me want to try to understand the world and the people around me.

My mom gave me a lot of advice growing up but I think this bit of insight on kindness is the one I hope to continuously practice and improve upon. Because it really doesn’t cost a single thing to be kind.