By Thato Semele
Homo sapiens as a species have got to be the most self-destructive animals I have ever encountered, what with the countless rules, religious and personal views, opinions and rites of passage and the general overwhelming societal expectations. No wonder the attainment of happiness is a goal seldom reached.
We are so consumed in trying to be perfect we end up failing dismally at this feat and succeed in being just the opposite, flawed and broken. What is perfect anyway? Is the idea based in one man’s view, the basis of which is a euphoric perception of how the world should work? Is it confinement to rules of “holy books” the very origins of which remain questionable? Crippling our minds whilst nurturing others’ ideas of perfection? Flawlessness, sublimity, a paragon, the ne plus ultra, the beau ideal, the acme, the zenith… the unattainable. Show me a person who has been able to please the human race and I will show you the new God.
We judge each other so harshly for the buried bodies in our pasts when we ourselves have whole graveyards in our closets. We subject each other to impossible standards to the extent we practically have manuals on how others should live their lives but have none for ourselves.
Queer black women have it especially the hardest. The world feels entitled to your body, thoughts and general will. You are subjected to the height of odium if you dare so much as live your life to your own design. Every Jack and Jill feels qualified to share their, not so welcome, opinion on your life choices. Often these are not mere suggestions; they are commands and directives.
I, for one, often find myself struggling with the pursuit of my own happiness. There are occasions where even I question my choices because subconsciously, these opinions fester and sit in my mind and claim space. Before I make any decision in any given day I find myself questioning whether it is the right one or not, if it will be acceptable behaviour or if it will earn me the wrath of the entire universe.
It’s no wonder the average queer woman seems confused. How can we not be when we have so much to answer for and so many people to answer to? It’s rather confusing to grow up in a world where you are taught to follow your heart but are cursed and condemned the minute you do because you quickly it’s not really what they want for you.
Therefore, by my understanding I can love whoever I want, as long as it fits the description and design you have in your mind?
You say it’s unnatural for a person to lay with another of the same sex, however for me it seems as unnatural that a woman will overlook the gentleness and suppleness of another woman for the stiffness and bumpiness of a man. But you do not hear me imposing my reality on yours. But it’s drummed and drilled into us so much that we can’t help but let the mind wander sometimes and ponder if maybe, just maybe there is some truth to that self-righteous sanctimonious admonishment.
We looked back and weren’t sure if we ever even liked it or were drawn to them with the same intensity and raw need with which we seek out other women, or if we did it because it was expected of us. In a school teaming with heterosexuals, girlfriends enamoured by the boys, fantasizing about married bliss you go acquiesce and go with the masses, only one day to kiss a girl and never want to go back. Everybody maintains its just phase…repeated failed relationships have you wondering if it isn’t just a phase. Is it worth the trouble? Could the weight of the problem lie with the unhappy fact that it is after-all abnormal?
We get women certified as “women” and validated by institutions such as marriage (to men of course), bearing kids and raising them. When you reach a certain age, suddenly all your friends drop anchor and accomplish the status of “real women” and unexpectedly you start to question everything you thought you knew about your life. You yearn for the respect and then your demons take root. If you are not strong enough you find yourself waking up next to Steve just so you can check all the boxes because you are simply tired of explaining yourself to people.
Perchance the stress-free way to go about it is a sham of a marriage, a front intended for fitting in while you secretly kiss girls and blame the wine. Indubitably this gets tiring. You are lying to yourself and your heart refuses to rest easy, your conscience demands that if you insist on lying to the world that you at least remain true to yourself. You owe yourself that if nothing else.
It really is peak time we reclaim our individualism and uniqueness. Unapologetically grab hold of what we want and never relent. There is no room for regret, we only have one lifespan and our happiness rests squarely on our shoulders. We need to be valiant enough to be self-centered with our happiness, put ourselves first and the rest of the world second. If not, we find our whole existence futile and would have nothing to report back to the maker when the times comes.
People will always have reservations, issues about who should you be, but you have to remember to remain constant in the realization that if you dare to please everyone you risk losing yourself. The next time you find yourself in a predicament about your sexual orientation just remember black queer woman, in the words of Steve Maraboli; “this is my life, my story…my book. I will no longer let anyone else write it, nor will I apologize for the edits.”
Follow your dreams and your heart and find peace of mind for that is the path to true happiness and in my books the only success worth having. Stand in a position to be able to confidently say “I lived my best life.” I am happy with the choices I have made, I am pleased I did not allow their negativity rule me and stop me following the path fate carved for me. Doubts are a constant in every life, but if conquered they are the only validation needed.
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