contents under pressure: release valve and breathe, baby, breathe.

i’m trying to be good to myself. i tend to stack freight cars of pressure onto my back in order to terrorize myself into being productive. it’s worked in the past, especially when i drank more and partied more because i could swallow all of that pressure and anxiety down my throat, chase it with a lime and a beer and call it a night.

now that i have better coping skills, skills that i’m working on every single day, skills that a village of beautiful queers and writers and a girlfriend and a mom and a therapist and all the people who love me have helped sharpen- i find that weighing myself down with the weight of the earth isn’t helpful. in fact, it produces massive anxiety attacks and sleepless wretched nights. all i can sputter out are ‘shoulds’ and ‘why haven’t i’ and ‘ i need to be’ and ‘i’m failing’ over and over again. and i can’t breathe and i’m swallowing mouthfuls of salt water and holy shit, will i survive this?

it’s just too much. it’s unnecessary. which is a word that i’m always spelling wrong, jesus take the wheel and drive us both off this cliff. or maybe just take the wheel and drive us to mcdonalds so i can get some french fries and a toy and we can watch the stars light up the parking lot. how’s that? sound good to you, Jesus? good, let’s talk about therapy and coping and writing.

i gave my therapist a list of things i wanted to get done in my two days off. she looked at it and said that I had enough things on that list to cover two weeks. feeling hyped and ready, i told her i was just excited to be off of work and had a lot i wanted to do. we sat in silence with the list between us. i thought about all the other times i’d created such tremendous, over-stuffed thanksgiving dinner type of lists and how i’d crumble a bit when most of it didn’t get done. like as if i just wasn’t hustling hard enough and never would and it would spiral into all the reasons i’m not enough.

so we sat with the list between us some more, in that good silence that you have with your favorite elder or a solid therapist, and the sun poured in through the massive windows in her office and some dudes wiped the windows clean and we watched the city move all around itself.

i don’t need to do all of these things in two days. i’m going to pick the things that are manageable, that will be fun for me, that will enable me to love myself and guide me into the next week, the next day, the next hour. i will do no more than that. i will above all else, above this list, i will be kind to myself.

she smiled and said that being kind to myself sounded like the best thing I could do with two days off.

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21296-you-alone-are-enough-you-have-nothing-to-prove-to-anybody

writing in this space is how I’m kind to myself. i’m practicing my craft – yup i said it, if i’m gonna call myself a writer then i have to fucking write- and I’m dissecting all the emotional shit going on in my life. i’m learning how to name my emotions without placing blame on other people.

and people reach out when i talk about this vulnerable shit. and i need that too. not the attention of it, but the palm to palm solidarity. it’s ok to just write about myself and the things going on around me that are like little m-80s popping off on the block causing me to jump and duck and cover. that here in this space i don’t have to be a political identity or a cultural representation of an entire group of other people who may share similar skin color and bedfellows. ya know?

and i don’t have to keep up with the news cycle of the internet because it’s exhausting. there are many other writers of color out there struggling with that very thing: how the fuck do we keep up? y’all want me to write for free or for an appreciated but small fee about all these things happening every five seconds and like i can’t even process my own shit that quickly let alone some huge national story and all i’m going to turn in are lines and lines of my immediate reaction which is probably mad shortsighted and fuck all this, i’m going to binge watch American Horror Story: Coven.

so many of us are exhausted by the constant stream of violence against people of color on our feeds anyway, imagine having to churn out substantial writings on all of those instances every day. i think if i wrote a blog about how many people of color the police have killed in the united states since last thanksgiving, i’d be so emotionally and spiritually drained that i wouldn’t know how to function. and maybe that’s not my purpose and that’s ok too because someone is out there writing that blog and they are committed to it and it’s their passion, their fight for justice and the revolution and they’re sharing it with us and i don’t have to be that person.

all i can be is my weird little self.

and do i really need to be the one that writes about Katy Perry’s appropriating boring ass? do i need to be the one writing about how some other white artist stole beyoncenickirihannaellafitzgeraldritamorenogloriaestefanselenas style? i’d rather not waste the energy. that’s my energy. i don’t knock other people writing about that shit because i love to read that shit and it’s important for us to dissect these images and reframe them with our ancestors at the center. i will reblog and share your posts til the break a break of dawn but i don’t need to pressure myself to be the one who writes about everything our thirsty ass society has deemed important. like taylor swift. like fuck that.

and again, no one is asking me to do that, to care about all of those things, i don’t think, but this is pressure that i put on myself. i think ‘shit, if i’m not writing about this very important thing that just happened then i’m letting my community down, i’m not being that brown voice in a sea of whiteness that sends out the brown bat signal to all the other brown queers that we are here and hey, hi, hello, it’s me and i’m reaching out and sharing these feelings with you, and oh my god, if i’m not that person then who will be and am i letting everyone down again? i need to write all the things.

should be that person. right?

and the flip side of that is ‘who the fuck do i think i am to even think my words are of any importance’? there’s that beast too…

some of the anxiety i’ve felt with keeping this blog updated is that i ‘should’ be writing about X, like I have to write about police brutality. i have to write about anti-blackness. i have to write about colorism in the latino community. i have to write about fat-shaming and i have to and i have to and i just can’t and i shouldn’t and one of the major things my therapist checks me on is my use of the word should.

fuck should.

fuck that pressure to explain everything all of the time because i’m brown and queer and poor and fat and and and and…

it’s totally ok to write about just being fucking sad because i am a human being.

it’s totally ok to write about how much i fucking love un-frosted strawberry pop-tarts.

it’s totally ok to write about the fact that i hate having sex dreams about men because i feel like my brain wasted an entire night’s worth of dreaming when i could have been happily finger banging nicki minaj instead.

it’s ok to write about how i think rosario dawson is one of the most underrated actresses of our generation and could we just cast her in everything that people put jennifer lawrence in? or could they just be in a movie together where they fight evil white dudes while driving fast cars and falling wrecklessly in love with each other?

you know?

it’s ok.

and the other night, I couldn’t sleep and so I was scrolling through tumblr like it was my job and came across the words of Ngọc Loan Tran and everything around me stopped. I was meant to read these words and here they are for you to inhale:

for queer brown writers

who sometimes feel that their words only mean something to them

who – out of self doubt and self consciousness – seek to copy and mirror because they are convinced they cannot create for themselves

who write about what others write about and what they have written is not read in the same way

who stop writing for months or years on end because it is scary to create and feel like no one is there to receive it

who write about deeply personal, intimate, private things and are asked then to make it “political” or about “the revolution” when writing to write for ourselves, for our peoples is revolutionary in and of itself

who write academically when our heart carries more to write about our feelings, identity, and experience

who are not marketable or consumable but when we are writing about self for self we are demanded to write for others

i see you. the power of your words are valid. you, more than anyone, know why you write. and always remember that it is our peoples who have carried themselves through letters through wartime, through movement, through migration. it is our peoples’ writing, it is our writing that has transcended and molded history, broken borders and pierce through time zones. your words are readable. your words are yours. you are enough.

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i reblogged their words. i reread their words. i fell in love with their words. i needed to read them, see them, and pull them deep into the chambers of my beautiful brown beating heart.

“writing for ourselves, for our peoples is revolutionary in and of itself”

holy shit. i’ve read that line multiple times and every time i’m struck by the enormity of it, by how simple and beautiful and powerful it is. and that it’s at once gentle permission to be free and a reminder that we’re connected in acts of self-care and self-love and those acts are what create community and build upon ancestry and lead to actions that benefit all of us.

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i will be kind to myself.

i will be kind to myself.

i am kind to myself.

i am kind to myself.

i write. i write. i write.

i share.

i read.

i am revolution.

for me. for us. por vida.

we are revolution.

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