I often find myself angry at the world, angry at the barriers and obstacles that remain in the way of surviving, let alone thriving. It lights a fire in my belly, pushing me forward. Other times, it burns me from the inside out. I hold space for this anger. I let it rage, and I nurture it. The day I let go of that anger is the day I become complacent in the world the way it is today. In This Bridge Called My Back’s 1981 Preface, Cherrie Moraga speaks of “the passage.” She says, “the passage is through, not over, not by, not around, but through.” My journey to radical and transformative love and joy is through, and guided by my rage.
My mother and my loved ones wonder if I ever let myself feel joy and happiness. They can read the lines of desperation and fatigue on my face, weighing my eyes down. I wear my thoughts, my feelings, and my passions in my skin. My mother always told me that I was an empath. She saw from an early age that I felt things deeply and wholly. When a friend was in pain, my body would mirror the aches of theirs. Today, when I read of another Black boy murdered in cold blood, I feel it to my bones. Again, in This Bridge Called My Back’s 1981 Preface, they say, “A 14-year-old Black boy was shot in the head by a White cop. And, the summer is getting hotter. I hear there are some women in this town plotting a lesbian revolution. What does this mean about the boy shot in the head is what I want to know.” I am frustrated with the inability of my communities to feel and understand the urgency and the pain that is felt by those closer in relation to Blackness.
My revolution is that of transformative love, compassion, and justice. Revolution cannot and will not be reached without this collective care and understanding. In “Are All Raza Womyn Queer?” Dr Anita quotes Gloria Anzaldua and Keating, saying, “Enemies of the past may no longer be our enemies, and the allies of the past may no longer be our allies.” Throughout my journey for community and empathy, I have found this to be painfully true. Our progress is frozen by cruelty and apathy. Even within our own affinity groups, we find problems and disappointment. Our movement shows such little care and love for each other. I understand the anger, and I understand the distrust. I exist in the anger and distrust. However, as Maxine Hong Kingston states, “I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.” Our movement must be able to hold multiple things to be true. Our movement must move through the anger and distrust and find compassion and care for those that are moved to the work as we are (or perhaps, not).
I know I struggle to find this compassion and care. There is not always an understanding or acceptance of all that I am in movement spaces. Holding my Whiteness with my non-Whiteness, the way in which I may be read as heterosexual and cisgender, the ways in which I hold academic privilege and more, I am often doubted in spaces, and rightfully so. However, I hold multiple things to be true. In Beverly Yuen Thompson’s writing around Bisexual and Biracial women, she states that “worlds construct me in ways that I do not even understand or I may not accept the construction as an account of myself, a construction of myself,” I have the right to take up space in an effort to heal and make change. I also have an obligation to create space for those less able to exist in the world so wholly and completely. “For although some of have traveled more easily… All of us have been victims of the invisible violation which happens indoors and inside ourselves: the self-abnegation, the silence, the constant threat of cultural obliteration,” is stated in This Bridge Called My Back’s Children Passing in The Streets (p. 3).
My revolution is transformative love and compassion. This love and compassion is conditional. It requests that we make an effort to understand and to engage in empathy for our siblings. It requests that we make space and take space when needed. It requests that we support and hold each other through the anger so that we may fall upon the joy. It requests that we hold all of these contradictions to be true. After all, the universe is large. Thus, our revolution and our hearts must be as well.