“What are you?”
I live in a constant state of fear of being a fraud. As seasons shift the believability of my body comes under scrutiny. My mother is black and my father is white and I know you were curious and wanted to ask but were either too polite or “waiting for the right time.” So here you go, you get your bit. People said bad things like “are you sure they had you on purpose” and *that no no word* and “you’re like a poodle (pet pet pet)” and “are you sure they’re your parents” because we’re just not believable enough, followed by the soft rock chorus of “are you sure?”
There’s few things as terrifying as no longer feeling connected to the skin holding your soul.
For safety, right?
There are generations of self held in my skin and every time I doubt the worth of their existence I validify the questioning voice. But then I realized I couldn’t feel joy and YOU DON’T DESERVE THAT POWER. Through the materiality of painting, installation, written word, and performance, I have given myself a ritual space to feel safe and held in my body once again. From this place I can negotiate the conversation of body, space, and audience while holding others accountable for their complacency, creating a place for people of color to process out loud rather than holding trauma in their bodies, and finding the place to exist in between.
So these are for me and also for you. But mainly for me.