Minnesota has my heart, but my heart has another lover, New York. To my heart I give home, to my lover I come. Home is forever, while my love waits ephemeral, though home be distant and lover close, it is home that has what the lover has but on loan. -BLC, NYC, 11.7.11
The beginning of last week was a shit show extraordinaire. I was in full flight from dealing with some heavy emotional stuff that had gone down over the previous two weeks. To sum it up, I officially ended a relationship with someone for whom I still care but it is not possible for us to be together. In the meantime there are other highly emotional (mostly good yet still complicated) situations going on (I am being WAY cryptic here...which is all for the best)...and all of that combined to make me flee and hide out in some rather unhealthy ways last weekend.
Luckily thanks to the support of an acquaintance, I was provided with the time, space, and solitude to pull myself, my thoughts, and my courage together. It was the best gift that I have gotten in a very long time.
Last Monday and Tuesday were rough. My emotions were on an internal Great America theme park adventure, the people around me were super loving, and I finally, with the love of community, pulled myself together. In fact, despite the ending of my relationship and the accompanying heartache that entailed, my life is good. I am employed. I have a home. I have a Mimzy. I have a powerful family of choice and of blood, and frankly I have a book that is doing really well. Since October 1, I have been in Atlanta to celebrate the wedding of Paulina and Ashe, in Albany to co-keynote the national queer people of color health conference, at Davidson College in North Carolina to do a reading and give a series of lectures in partnership with the amazing photographer Sophia Wallace, and I just returned home from Minneapolis where I not only got to spend time with my Betty and Sarah and family, but I got to hold my godson as he was baptized, share in the wedding vow renewal of Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria and Nubia Esparza, and I had a jam packed Minneapolis book launch party at the fantastic Cafe SouthSide!
To stand in front of an audience, with my godson present, my amazing step-mom Melanie, my nephew Jason Jr., the Scooby Gang, my high school art teacher Mrs. Mary Simon-Casati, high school friends, Facebook folks that I had yet to meet but am so glad I did, and with the powerful presence of other writers and performers particularly Harry Waters, Jr., Kevin Kaoz Moore, Kyle "Guante" Myhre, Teresa Ortiz and the aforementioned Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, was to stand in front of a room full of blessings. And anytime I can look up and see the loving, gentle, and powerful face of Susan Raffo, co-director of Minnesota's LGBTQ foundation PFUND, it is a good and blessed day.
I am so thankful for the gift of community. I am grateful for those that show up again and again to share their love and to let me reflect back to them the light and love that they give to me. To be mirrors for each and to reflect back the light that each of us was given brighten the way for those around us, is what I believe we were all put on this planet to do.
Today, I landed back in New York, and as sad as I was to leave behind my friends and family back in Minneapolis, I was jumping up and down to get home to my people here. First it was a reunion with Mimzy...and I spent a good 15 minutes wrapping her up and holding her and burying my face in her fur while she tried desperately to lick all of the sweat she could from my head. It's her job. Don't judge. And then it was a quick shower and to the QEJ office where I was greeted with a shout and love by my co-conspirator and beloved Amber Hollibaugh, the elfin soft show of Naomi, the giggles of Gykyira and of course the sun-shaming smile of JT Mikulka.
There was sadness today. I don't want to downplay or undervalue the sadness that existed today as well. That isn't a story I want to share here, now. But I learned a long time ago that it is not an oxymoron or a conflict to hold great joy and great sadness in your belly at the same time. In fact, on a day to day basis, those two seemingly conflicting emotions often show up, together, to remind us that the sweet tastes sweet because we know bitter as well.
To all my friends and family, I wish you nothing but the greatest blessings. Thank you for being in the world and being a light that helps me see where I am going when I am most likely to bang around in the dark, bruising myself, and crashing into the folks that showed up to help me. Love to you all.