what are you a fight for?

i wrote a story this weekend that brought me joy. actually it brought me creative ecstasy. it came at a time when i have been hurting, for lots of reasons, many of them connected to collective black and brown grief. in that pain, i have had the opportunity to create, and to lean on people, and be leaned on.

all this vulnerability and vision has brought to light a practice i have been in – being a fight FOR, instead of (or in addition to) a fight against.

i most recently heard this way of speaking about things in one of the somatics courses i was student-teaching, like ‘how can we be a fight for each other?’

i kind of got it – to be moving forward and advancing, instead of always on the defensive.

but the longer i sit with it, in deep relationship with family, friends and lovers, the more i see that it is a series of small choices and actions that pile up into that forward motion. and, as always, it all unfolds in nonlinear concurrent layers and levels of transformation.

it requires first and foremost being a fight for myself – what do i long for? what do i know i deserve? what do i need? how am i going to fight for myself?

being in a fight for myself has led me to be honest about what makes me feel happy, strong, like i am realizing my miraculous potential. it has led me deep onto my writing and healing paths, led me to develop emergent strategy in response to non-profit organizational trauma, to reexamine my food practices, to ask for what i am worth, to surround myself with woes.

i’ve also looked at my friendships and relationships, asking myself how can i be a fight for my loved ones? this means not just listening to them, but listening for the truth within them, listening for what they are longing for, for what they know they deserve, for what they need. and showing up with them in that fight for their dignity, life, health, joy, self-realization.

this month was the one year anniversary of my friend charity hicks passing. while revisiting the fierce and glorious energy she walked with, while touching again my grief for her, i learned that juan evans, an incredible black trans organizer i’ve gotten to know and hold over the past couple of years through black organizing and somatics work, had transitioned from this life. both of them are incredible examples of the next level of fighting for – being a fight for our people, for our species.

in early june i witnessed juan in that brave and beautiful fight for himself, his dignity and that of black trans people. juan told us that ‘when we fight, we win’. before she died, charity issued us the guidance to ‘wage love’.

i want to embody the fight for my people with a passion that honors both of these beloveds.

this past weekend as i was writing my story, which is about a black goddess addicted to eating racism, i got to watch from afar as the movement for black lives gathered the most brilliant and fearless black minds in this country together. what i saw and read about was the creation of a black utopian space for collective grieving, remembrance, honoring, celebrating, narrative shifting, dancing, singing, centering…and then protecting each other when cleveland cops encroached on that sacred space. i am, again, so glad to be alive and awake at this moment as black people fight for our dignity to be recognized, our lives to matter.

there is so much to fight against, so many people who want us to cower and shrink, or, when we fight, to fight defensively, in isolation, against each other, to confirm some degrading concept of self, of blackness, that has nothing to do with black people, with evolving in our human purpose.

but it feels like we are realizing that the way to do that is to fortify ourselves so that we can source from our longings, health, love, dreams and visions, from our strength and our connections with each other. at an individual level, i feel like a rolling rock, gathering speed in the direction of freedom. at a collective level, i feel we are becoming a formidable people at a time when nothing less will do.

so when i see you? all i want to know is: what are you a fight for?

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