we die in our beds

No more staring through crystals towards the sun.
We die here.
In our dirty beds holding on to broken dreams.
We die here holding our shitty phones shattered by the sound of siren wails.
We die here remembering the necks we stepped on to get into our apartments.
The hands we knocked away that held out hope for our humanity still…
last shots fired
so we die here.
In dirty beds with clean faces and back covered in sweat
We die here.
Awake reborn or a ghost, I don’t care but don’t forget where you come home and lay your head.

I can’t sleep.
So the knowledge that my mother was born in the same bed my grandma slept in beside her family since her husband left for five years.
Five years of her dowry by her bed.
Napping in her bed.
Holding her baby in her bed. Together as one.
Vomiting in a bucket by her bed.
Moaning in her bed.
Migraines slept away in that bed.

Now he holds me in my bed. We barely fit.
I create room when there isn’t any, but when have I ever stopped doing that.
I carve you a room in my heart.
You lay your head down on my beating heart no matter the weight I hold you up. No one drowns when I love them.
No one except me.

If I love you I let you you carve.
We must because its just a beating scar.
Nothing smooth left no more. Just gnarls.
I run away and go outside, but really its just my bed.
The sheets. Two pillows when I deserve eight.
I had 4 once, to hold me fast.
The end of the day or the beginning of the day.
I sometimes hide from it.
I sleep on couches of floors.

It waits for me. Sleep and death.
My bed.
Measurements of time misunderstood
A life twisted.
I die here.
In my bed.

thoughts

As she bathed in both warm water and her exhaustion, barely bringing herself to soap her brown body with the slippery soap. She would remember the scrunched faces of disapproving Aunties, almost hearing a chorus of polished West Indian accents scolding her for neglecting to use a washcloth.

Well now she was alone and exhausted half dreaming as she slipped the soap under a large breast bobbing in the warm water.

Pot made everything slow down and feel like before the Christmas party when she was a kid. Everything felt bigger than her then, unreachable, possible but in the future. Then you just experienced and wished you were older.

Now her hands were tangled in a life that began messy as that matted mop she pulled hair out of alone in the temple.

How had she gotten there, and what brought her to this place?

She went from having a baby no one thought she deserved after leaving a man that made her sleep on the floor for snoring and picked her cloths (with no apparent sense of fashion beyond preventing her from embarrassing him with her bright colours) to well not pretending. Or really knowing anything for sure.

So much time had passed since the first time she did this, and stopped gritting her teeth and brushing her hair in favour of finding some freedom.

She remembered in grade 6 she started straightening her hair and tried being normal. She tried solidly for almost a full school year.

In the mirror at home she would practice what to say to Tamara and Katie. They knew how to be almost girls well, Kita didn’t. A weirdo, over protected advisor to late 30s addicts, lover of disco, queer with a solid love of the pornographic at 12… But nothing that made sense for solidly middle class suburn tweens in the 90s.

Looking back it was fairly obvious that she was a writer… Throughout it all she was constantly in dialogue with herself, composing impressions of things. Running through possibilities and memories like scenes she needed to perfect.

race nightmares

sometimes I think about race and I start panicking and sweating.
 
I hear a dog bark, and I start praying.
 
I see people and I start weeping.
 
Where do we go anymore?
Where do I find some hope?
I am the least of them yet I sweat the most.
Here I lie.
Here I lie.
 
A testament to a father’s hatred of his blackness, and a mother who was lost to time.
 
So much was lost, but what remained was indelibly marked both on my skin, inside the soft parts of me that tore forever those quiet winter nights when she was fast asleep instead of keeping me safe, and in my mind eye.
 
I was a testament to all that he hated in himself. All his girls were.
Hindu names but faces that betrayed origins that made him hate himself far more than we ever could.
 
or wanted to.
 
I am the least of them.
 
Yet here I stand. I sit.
I lie.
I sleep.
 
Here I am.
There is he is somewhere.
 
I hope out of the two of us its me that sleeps dreamless.
 
Let me die just for tonight so I may finally rest well.
 
If I promise to wake the next morning to work again may the devil take my forsaken soul.
Let the white man wear it as a flimsy garb stained in my blood.
Just so I can sleep tonight, a life lived long worn.
 
I want to wake up in a hotel. Back packed by my bed.
I want my hair to be unnaturally soft to the touch and my head filled with the knowledge of driving and a plan.
 
Maybe I have a job that takes me across Turtle Island. Maybe its something simple but needing to be done.
 
Maybe its so dull it forces me to relax.
Maybe it forces me to find the dark spaces to run in.
 
sleep

Kelly

“your thighs are the perfect density,” I mumbled trying to valiantly (in my mind) capture the wonder of her legs.
White and aglow. Really smooth, almost too smooth. Like alabaster, but living and soft to the touch.

For some reason her skin never made me feel insecure, nor brought a storm of comparisons to rain down on my mind. Clouding out the simply joys of first getting to know a lovers body.

With her it was just touching, naming, seeing.
My skin brown just as normal as her white skin.

I mean, it wasn’t perfect. She was tall, white and thin, but as far as pretty good gets. Well, I was thankful.

I felt like a person around her, and when she would laugh – my stomach would swell up with a feeling that pressed up against my heart.

Butterflies? Humming birds, maybe? Who knows, bats even. My feelings soared, so whatever was flapping against my belly it sure made me take notice.

The flapping stirred my heart just enough that when I looked at her face I had to blink extra hard and I felt myself licking my lips.
I couldn’t let myself look away.

The funny part is I am not in my twenties even, but around her I felt 16 and just completely enthralled with getting to know someone.

Wishing for freedom

brutality on black bodies

Even a blue dust bathed bra soaked in the sweat of my sun soaked skin bites.
Bites into tender sides
Pinches soft parts
A wire to my lung
A sternum on fire with irritation
Bound 
I am bound.

Stuck in the illusion of safety – when the very things that cling to my sides could kill me at any moment
I must hide my breath and hold my heart…

A bright bird wings beating
Bashed in, time and time again
As the ways of the world claw into me.
Crack my rip cage open between the sobs that rack me
And grab grab grab my frightened bird
Always trying to dash her in the dirt.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to let her fly away.
I wish I too could join her.
Away from hands that pick
Bindings that poke
And the terror to breathe full breaths as I fly so free.

Just another (hypo)manic Monday

I am a very open person. I speak about performing in porn, being a sex worker, being a survivor, anxiety, having adhd depression, and c-ptsd. I came out the last year as non-binary and as things felt safer revealed I am intersex as well. I speak about being mixed race.

Being this open comes at a price. I am not a white cis girl with money, a degree, in my early 20s. I have a lot of privilege and support, but even as I am aware of this, so too I am aware of how much of my social capital is built on productivity and visibility as an activist.

If you don’t cultivate the respectability, nor have the money. Well then to the world you could be seen as a mad, lying, sketchy, “emo” hoe that is being a hot mess and wants attention. Who dates “crazy”? Who loves vocal crazy that asks for accountability. Who works with open about feelings crazy on social media? Who is friends with crazy, especially racialized femme crazy? 

Well if you are reading, and you fuck with me, then you do.

I am an intense person. As much as I am also shy, incredibly driven, a loving friend (love y’all) and someone who is incredibly passionate about social justice… I never speak about some of the things that scare me to share.

I have and have lived with Bipolar Type Two since I was diagnosed at 16.


 I am so scared in sharing this my transness, my being intersex, my trauma, my ability to do my work in organizing and otherwise will be questioned if not out right challenged. I am so scared but I need to open up because I don’t want to live with shame, fear, or this burden any longer.

I have had so much fear and shame around this diagnosis because I thought it meant I would never ever have a sustainable relationship, everyone would assume my symptoms were out of control, and it would discredit the organizing work I do and “brand” I am often encouraged to build.
 
I want to be seen as a very competent, hard working, engaged activist and community researcher/educator/student.

I want that I have always wanted that approval. 
I want y’all to like me, and today I realized something after a really anxiety provoking text conversation with a friend where I felt like,
a. I was too intense. (was I? Does it really matter if I am not a perfect texter?) 
b. I don’t know how to explain the discordance between what is being said and how I am interpreting it. I often live with so much fear, anxiety, and don’t trust myself.
c. Why do I experience this so often with everyone I want to impress or like friend, romantic or work.
 
Immediately I want to justify my thoughts by explaining that I am not always a jiggling ball of insecurity, fears and trying to seek love. I do sex work, and I have casual sexual experiences which don’t devolve into me wanting to cry rivers. I also have friendships that I feel really safe in. I do an incredible amount of important work. I work with a really amazing porn company, work with incredible activists collectively, I am a poet, and playwright, a writer, a yoga teacher with students I adore, a new burlesque performer and I am continuing to learn, grow, show up and stand tall.


That being said, I shouldn’t have to apologize for existing. I live with Bipolar Type two and a lot of trauma, that doesn’t mean I am “crazy” or a “mean”, “manipulative”, “unstable”, or “unreliable” person. I may need assurances and care but that doesn’t mean I am “clingy”, “scary” or undeserving of care.

It sucks that I can’t talk about it, or that there isn’t the means to work with having a “scary” mental illness in the workplace or around doing community organizing. Being “crazy” often is not respectable to be open about in doing porn or sex work because of all the negative stereotypes so much of the industry has internalized and just fucking respectability. I wish I could send respectability for a long and eye-opening vacation where it came back and apologized for being such an angry auntie shaming me all the time. 
 
I realize that I have prioritized so much of volunteering, organizing, community building, friendships, relationships, and so much more because honestly I have felt that taking the time to heal. 

I often feel completely unable to ask for the time, consideration, respect and care I deserve.
 I have been working on this for some while, and even when making plans or speaking to people about what I need I feel filled with guilt. I am okay with a no, and I am pretty used to rejection.

It sucks, but my “crazy” has never manifested in me crossing boundaries since I was a teenager. I learned quickly that calling to much, texting too much, asking for too much, being too much could be interpreted as violating boundaries, being unsafe, and immediately being shamed to leave.

 I am lucky, some folks with neurodiversity have a really shitty time with boundaries. I have had friends who have showed up at partners homes crying, and because of their mental illnesses and other intersecting positionalities of race, class, gender, transness, sex work, trauma, it allowed for them to be demonized without anyone looking critically at the situation.

It takes a lot of privilege, support and care to live well in this world, and if you are dealing with neurodiversity/mental illness it makes things really challenging and often painful. I am not saying people with trauma and/or neurodiversity can do no wrong, but often we are treated like all our behaviours are pathological and destructive. There is so rarely room to discuss differences, disability, and how to work as a community in sharing space and different lived experiences.

Looking back at these really normal texts, I realize something. People can let me know what they want and do not as well. I also need to trust them, but most importantly in communication and all areas of my life I need to trust myself. Trust that people will want me, want to stick around and even if they do not that I want me. I am acting in a way that I feel is honest, respectful, loving and mindful.


I often get teased for the amount of times I check in, and most often people have no idea its because I am trying to create the safety and communication needed for the both of us to set boundaries and feel safe to speak up.
 

I terrify me. The stereotypes about “crazy racialized femmes” used to bring me so much shame and I overcompensate at every turn. I hate being psychiatrized or pathologized because people that want to tell me about who I am always are not willing to see me as a human just like them.

I may just need to talk about feelings, consent, be really anxious about making plans and be working on trusting them. For all this, I try to carry this responsibility on my own and seek therapy to work on things. I really work to be emotionally responsible.

I wish people would understand my needs around my neurodiversity, but in demanding space and time for them I am doing powerful work.

Neurodiversity and disability in general doesn’t often have space created for us in community spaces. I often feel like I have to get with the program, and one day I will “get better”… well I feel like I am constantly growing and healing but I am never not going to be me. I also never will not be Bipolar.

I will post some info about what bipolar type 2 is and I am going to be trying to be more responsible for taking time to take care of myself. 

If the only worth I have to people is when I am productive, well the activist work I am doing is pretty shitty and recreating so much of the same. People are placed on hierarchies based on productivity rather than community building and healing.

 Loverships only based on how chill, easy and effortless fun and beautiful you are. 

I often wish people would give me the chance and longevity in getting to know me in romantic relationships to see that once the anxiety passes I am a real life boring regular (awesome) person. I often wish that I could be really clear and direct about my needs in the workplace or in in organizing. I will be late sometimes, I will take a bit longer, but also I bring so much to the table. I am brilliant, hard working, innovative, creative, and when I have even a little support I make so much happen.

I am not simply persistent, I am relentless…I channel all that drive and passion into my work.  Also, I sure can public speak. I am tireless at times, but I don’t want to work like I need to prove I am good enough to stay. I need to factor in my needs, my safety and as much I as gladly infiltrate spaces that have been traditionally ableist, sanist, racist, and femmephobic… I also need spaces and people that love me for who I am now.

So this was a bit of a ramble, but TL;DR version is: I have bipolar type 2, I am still the person you know and hopefully like (love?) but honestly I need to give myself the time to work with my diagnosis and continue to heal.


Coffee Island

Exposed brick faces me as I wait for words. I run my hands through hair that feels like summer grass and I chew my fingers

Each nail is stripped of its paint, bright and bitter
For a minute my mind drifts into a memory of spring berries bursting sour in my mouth.
I never could wait for summer to ripen.

I sit in the wooden forest of chained benches on coffee island.
Sitting over rocky pavement and surrounded by roaring concrete I remember the baby bird we nudged towards death.

We chipped away, peeling at the shell with hungry prying fingers, even as the chick lay shuddering and cowered from the light. Relentless in our need to complete the harm, forcing it to hatch faster than I could keep it alive.

The colour are even correct.
Greys of every shade and wood being transformed into ghostly boards at the appallingly slow pace of destruction this intersection of the suburbs and city can handle.

It is here I hide. Watching desperately interested in finding out about each person that walks by.
My cup hides me.
My phone hides me.
My drink hides me.
My gender presentation hides me.
Hides my gaze.
Maybe even something twisted that can feel like power in the shadows.

The chains on the bench at coffee island make a kind of wretched sense that is far too stark to give words to.