My Heroes Say, ‘Feel Free’
April 10, 2012, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Race, Society | Tags: , , , , , ,

“You cannot fix what you will not face.” — James Baldwin

My heroes are people who dare to say things that are tough to say. That means my heores face things that are hard to face, like human sexuality, for example. It sounds rebellious, but seriously, rappers are my heroes.

I’ve been ashamed of my sexual self  since I was a kid. As a kid, I knew that because I was black I wasn’t supposed to like white boys. Years after my first crush in second-grade, which was on a white boy, I knew I shouldn’t be masturbating (even before I knew that what I was doing was “masturbating”).

Unlike me, Bigge Smalls raps immodestly (and modestly, too, no?) about sex and being a “Nasty Boy” in his song by the same name. I’m in awe of Biggie Smalls. But there’s also a part of me who feels ashamed by what he says, kind of like a kid who wants the bad boy in class (Biggie) to avoid being seen by the teacher. I know Biggie’s not supposed to say what he says, so part of me wants to hide his music, so no one misunderstands him, or tries to punish his free expression.

I felt the same way when I met the man I believe is my soul mate. I wanted to hide him from all the “rules” of what not to say that had kept me from being as free as he seemed the day I met him.

He’s an ophthalmalogist. I saw him once to remove a lump on my eye lid, and he said he thought I’d also like Botox for the wrinkles in my forehead. Those who know me, know I don’t really have wrinkles in my forehead. But when he mentioned wrinkles, what I heard was this: “I don’t know the rules that have oppressed you all your life.” And somehow this, “To me, you are somebody greater than your circumstances.”

Somehow no one ever said that to me before, or since, in such a touching way. He stopped me in my tracks the day I met him. And the thought of him is still with me. But I’m still learning–the hard way–to be like him.

I haven’t checked my Facebook page since before I went into the hospital for walking outside naked. I’m too ashamed of what I said about the world ending. At the same time, I’m unsure whether there’s any truth to what I said. I’m still unsure how to accurately view the world, considering all I’ve experienced and all I believe.

I’m also avoiding Facebook because I’m afraid I’ll somehow get in trouble for saying my soul mate’s name on Facebook and here on my blog. Maybe someone complained and sent me a message, I thought.

Although I’m avoiding Facebook, I reluctantly went out into the world today, to a familiar community: the gym. I got something good: “Feel free to modify…,” the yoga instructor said this morning in a yoga class I took. My mind got stuck on “Feel free.” It’s such a beautiful thing to say, but people say it so much, most of us probably don’t hear the true meaning of the words.

If I could only, “feel free” to say whatever I want to say–and not regret it later. The world would be a beautiful place.  If it were true that people could say whatever they wanted (like Biggie Smalls or my soul mate), perhaps I would’ve never decided to be quiet starting in fifth-grade. I must’ve felt I couldn’t say anything right.

Years later, a college classmate expressed disappointment when I refused to say my opinion in a freshman literature class. “I hate it when people do that,” she (Brooke Brown) said. I was upset at first that I bothered someone by not saying anything. But then I felt happy.

It didn’t make sense until years later why it made me happy: I always admired Brooke; AND she wanted to hear what I had to say. Wow. That is called harmony or balance, the thing I missed all my life, even though it was mine. God gave me harmony. It was ONLY an illusion that I and life didn’t have it.

Maybe Biggie Smalls would’ve liked to hear what I have to say, too, and maybe my soul mate. Hopefully I can be like them: Feeling free to say unpopular, and even possibly mistaken things.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: