There are moments when certain words or phrases strike me as urgent. Today as I was reading through, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon, I was suspended in time by his words, “Hiding won’t protect us.” What does it mean to hide? Am I hiding in order to cower away from a threat or evil? Or, am I hiding to ambush a threat or evil? Nonetheless, hiding is only temporary solution; it is a liminal space.
One can never redeem freedom while hiding. Creativity is stifled in hiding. Comparatively, hiding is different, spacelely, than being alone. Baldwin surmises that the “primary distinction of the artist is that [they]must actively cultivate that state which most [people], necessarily, avoid: the state of being alone.” Creativity needs room which hiding doesn’t easily avail or lend itself towards. The creatives, artist, and those who understand freedom use the banality of aloneness as a space to exhume what humanity is afraid of being— simply an authentic, descent human. It the artist, as Baldwin declares, that affords us the opportunity to know “that there is nothing stable under heaven.”
Hiding forces one to compartmentalize to much of their beauty. It endorses the instability of chaos due to the lack of presence. Hiding is a relentless appeal to avert dealing with reality.
“Hiding won’t protect us.” Were the words Laymon wrote to his mother.
I felt that…
The sensation of waiting is an open wound. The scriptures use such verbiage as, “They that wait on the Lord shall…” It gives this guarantee that if you stand-by, something is bound to happen. This is why I use a wound as an intended imagery of waiting because something is happening—whether noticed or not. The wound is either healing or becoming infected. Waiting produces a kind of knowledge that one cannot and does not get through convention forms of learning. This epistemological relaxation—the wait— places one in the ever-present reality of dealing with self.
Perfection is an oddly, strange presentation and, oftentimes, unbelievable. Though we claim we want perfection, but if we ever experienced it ,our first response would be there is something deceptive happening here –it is to good to be true. Maybe what we are really striving toward is what Ashon Crawley describes as this “created failure,” or this way of imagining that which re-imagines even the imagined. Even reality has spaces that function in pedestrian sense yet never capture the essence of the culture. The focus is always how do we pose the right thing at the right time, to produce. It rarely is about a simple vibe that may not produce for years.
What I have notice over the past few years of viewing social media is that most people posting for things to go viral find that their post fall flat on their face. Because the things that most often go viral are the things that are actual failures. And from those failures or miscues people began to see brilliance within the re-imagining of those failures. It is Dizzy Gillespie damaging his horn and the bell being turned up. He never fixes the horn but continues to play because he liked the sound. Once others heard and viewed this created failure within this trumpet, music companies started manufacturing horns with this defect.
Perfection is an illusion that misinforms the creative spirit into conforming into a mechanism focused on production rather liberation.
I often wonder can a people who were enslaved really love their oppressors. Is that really grace and justice?;— or, is that mere foolishness. Love conjures one into an imaging, where imitation becomes an emblem of honor and respect. Therefore, to love your oppressors means you then must assemble some of their characteristics: greed, malice, hatred, strife, selfishness, etc.
I am not being overzealous with my approach, but love is not a flexible concept. It has to be rigid in its function but comfortable in its application. So, a slave master can’t love his slaves and slaves can’t love their slave master. In the case of the slave, it’s simply fear. They mimicked the slave master in order to be invisible. (As I stated earlier, love is about imaging and imitating.) Invisibility, not in the sense of not being viewed, but in the sense of not being seen. Because once a slaved was seen, their humanity was validated, which, subsequently, led to the slave master feeling the need to dehumanize the slave. So, the slave must mimic the characteristic and desires of the slave master in order to survive. Therefore, the functioning of love has no type of comfortability assigned within its bandwidth.
Understand, love never has to concede its function in order to be comfortable, it just is.
Love is a renegade thought in an immoral, uncivilized society. It absolutely makes no sense why Black people should even consider love as an option within a white supremacist system like America. Violence feels like the best response, but violence yields unmitigated consequences usually equating to social death of some form. Therefore, love re-enters, and consumes the room in its revolutionary posture: strong, vibrant, beautiful and protecting, by any means necessary.
Self-love is the mastery of re-definement in a chaotic system that denies you agency. Simply stated, “it is the will to be great when others have done their best to stop your progress.”
In a world where Blackness is parsed out for commodified gain, self-love becomes the touchstone.
It’s this touchstone of reality which allows for a renewing of joy, everlasting that never ceases. This is not a self-love that is garnered by triumph over white supremacy but one engendered by a cosmic shift in one’s thinking of self and community. Therefore, sustainable self-love must always consider the community from which and in which one communes.
James Baldwin writes, “Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here [America], and become joyless as they have become.” White supremacy is never about trust it’s about greed. And greed run amok will always lead to the destruction. In a revolutionary sense, it’s practically impossible to have self-love if you are housed within white supremacy. I m not talking about in the fight against, I am specifically speaking about those who use it like a superpower—slipping in and out of it when they see it as a benefit for greater accommodations. There is no self-love in such an event or space.
Self-love is the mastery of re-definement in a chaotic system and white supremacy is a chaotic system that can’t be re-defined, it can only be destroyed.
Its entire project is to hijack the agency of people in order to oppress and control. Love is never the motive it is simply used as bait to lure the “innocent” within its tentacles.
Self-love is communal, revolutionary and the centerpiece for Blackness to flourish. It seeks to replenish in ways that white supremacy never imagined because white supremacy is not about imagining; it’s about destruction. Blackness lived out in its purest African nature is self-love that transforms.