There are conscious thoughts that come through our minds, in our own voices. They help us keep track of the endless lists of life’s to do’s, process what’s happening immediately around us, warn us about danger, and race around from topic to topic. We all have those voices. I have a very active mind, and it isn’t always a clear train of thought, carrying one idea to a conclusion that makes sense. It’s more like a teleporter - I often have no idea how I arrived from one place to another. It’s jumpy, anxious, moving.
I like the running, scattered narrative in my head. It’s imaginative and makes me laugh with its randomness, its repetitiveness. It will tell me the same jokes, retain the same memories and sensations, tell me the same stories. And that’s where the damage is. The same stories.
The story, the original one from where all the others branch, is the same, effectively: “You ain’t shit, and you ain’t ever gon be shit.” Harsh, powerful, and repetitive. And with nothing to counter it, the story seeps into my bloodstream, leaks out all over my body, weighs down my head and shoulders. Depression. You ain’t shit.
For a long time, ever since I was young (six or seven), I wrote to escape hearing that story. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I would write stories as my own therapy. I was painfully shy and withdrawn so I didn’t talk, but I wrote as soon as I could hold a pen. I wrote this novel about dragons and all sorts of fantastical creatures at the hormonal age of thirteen. Back then, I wrote to escape reality; now, I write to confront and process it.
The thing about “you ain’t shit” as a narrative is that it’s effective. That’s good storytelling - it convinces whoever is reading or listening by coming up with sub-plots and all the examples why it’s true: “You ain’t shit and I’ma tell you why.” It’s convincing, and it’s the story I’ve gone with for a long time now. But, it’s a lie.
2017 and beyond is my time for purposefully, thoroughly, and masterfully crafting a new narrative for my life. The story I have been listening to has never served me - it’s like a nasty piece of gossip that gets passed around, destroying reputations. No, it is time for a new narrative. I am committed to penning my greatest literary work yet: the story of self love, acceptance, and power.
2017 is the year of Re-Writing My Narrative. And I am already thriving.
musings of a Black, queer and genderqueer activist, educator, musician.