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She's a god, she's a hero

She survived all she been through

Confident, damn, she lethal

Might I suggest you don't fuck with my sis

'Cause she comfortable

As I sat on my patio yesterday evening, feeling the breeze on my skin, I started to think about life. That may be because it's the time of year where we have mid-year check-ins at work. I've never thought about using the same time to check in with my personal self, in some of the same ways I do with my work self. I sat there and wondered if I had ever truly looked at my personal growth in a similar way I look at my professional growth.

So, I'm going to be vulnerable and check-in with myself.

On the surface, I would say that I'm good. Physically, I'm healthy...ish. My blood pressure is a little high, but thankfully I have health insurance and can visit my primary care physician. I'm able to move my body, a luxury stricken from some. My relationship is at the best that it has been, even with added stress as we continue to search for locations for our wedding - perhaps a post for another time. But, if I'm going to be honest with myself, something I agreed I would do when I opened my laptop and started writing this down, it's not my physical self I feel I need to check in with. I want to check in on my mental self.

The beginning of this year has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. I wouldn't say that I've been depressed, but I wouldn't that I've been super cheerful either.

It's as though I've been floating, hovering - only slightly above the pavement - to a destination unknown. It's perplexing. Like I've been feeling every emotion yet none of them at all, like Jobu Tupaki in Everything Everywhere All At Once. It's because of that feeling that I decided to seek help to process these new found emotions - I started going to therapy.

I had my reservations about going to therapy at first. I didn't know what to expect, something that scares me. I like to know what I'm getting myself into - there's something comforting about predicability. I was venturing into territory I'd never been in before. I'm sure anyone that you ask about me, they would say that I'm a talkative person. One thing I despise doing, though, is talking about myself. I never like bringing attention to myself because it always felt like it was met with stares. All of these feelings, coupled with the unexpected passing of Turner, had me feeling like I was drowning and therapy felt it was my only way out.

I wasn't expecting to have such strong feelings with Turner's passing. There felt to be a hole in my essence, hence my feeling of floating. It also made me think about where I was in a completely different light. Turner lived in an authenticity that I had never experienced before. While it could some times come off as him challenging you, this time with him gone has made me realize that those challenges were intended for your betterment. He got me to think differently every time we talked, without fear of judgement. He made me comfortable talking about my Blackness and more comfortable talking about my queerness, as he fit in those worlds like I do.

While I've become more comfortable with my gay-ass self, something that took years for me to do, I started to realize how I was denying my Blackness to come to the forefront. I was nervous, mainly because I had lost a few people that I had thought were friends when I came out. We no longer connected on things, which felt to stem from the only thing that was different about me at the time: my queerness. The search for a therapist was challenging, but I came searched with two intentions:

  1. I needed to have a queer Black person as my therapist. This would allow me to not have to over-explain things because there would be a short-hand to the conversation.

  2. I needed to have someone that had experience with grief counseling, because I desperately needed it.

I've never been so nervous than to send the introductory email to a smiling person's professional profile found through the Google search: Black LGBTQ Therapists Los Angeles. But, I did. When the first meeting was scheduled, a simple twenty-minute consultation, I tried everything I could to get as calm as possible. I dimmed the lights, lit a candle, burnt some incense. I closed my eyes and took as many deep breaths as I could. It didn't stop my hand from shaking as I signed in.

Virtual therapy is difficult to explain: You know that there's a physical being on the other side of the screen, but there it can feel disconnecting sometimes. Maybe it's because, with the cameras on, I become hyper aware of myself, of what I'm saying and doing. I'll notice how many times I swivel in my chair; How many times I touch my hair when I get nervous, or frustrated. There are times where it feels like it defeats the purpose of therapy - to turn the hypothetical stares that brought me here in the first place, off.

But after we finished the consultation, I started to feel my shoulders relaxing. I found that I didn't feel any sort of judgement through the screen, something I had worried about. The story I always had about therapy was that after I was done, the therapist would look over to someone in the room and say "damn, that man has some problems". A silly thing to worry about, but that's why I never wanted to go in the first place. Or, that instead of saying I had problems, they would tell that same imaginary person that I had no problems at all - they were just happy to take my money.

That consultation was in January...

I couldn't be happier with the progress I've made.

Comfortable in my skin

Cozy with who I am

Comfortable in my skin (cozy, cozy)

Comfortable in my skin

Feet up above your sins

I love myself, goddamn (cozy, cozy)

Through therapy, I have been able to find things that I've kept hidden, not from the outside world, but from myself. I've been able to (re)discover my Blackness, a freeing and exhilarating experience. I have been able to connect with myself in a way that I had always dreamt of doing. I'm starting to see where I fit in the world. I'm more comfortable talking about myself and talking about the things that are having an affect on me. It's a strange time to be Black and queer in the United States, it feels like my rights and life are being stripped from me, perhaps because they are. As a very empathetic person, my heart hurts every time another law is passed that hurts my existence. But, instead of fearing that I wasn't Black enough to be in those spaces, I'm beginning to see where I fit. My inner voice is not finding it's way out of my mouth and into the ears of those that will hear. While I do worry that some of my loved ones won't understand where I'm coming from, I trust that they will.

Maybe this is me finally realizing all of the things that teachers and mentors have told me over the years, that I have "so much potential." I never really understood what that meant until maybe now. I'm beginning to trust myself. The dark isn't as scary anymore, because now I have a light.

I'm dark brown, dark skin, light skin, beige

Fluorescent beige.

Bitch, I'm Black

- G

Title: COZY

Artist: Beyoncé

Year Released: 2022

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