As I traverse the final lunar cycle of this year, I find myself reflecting and releasing things from my being that I shall never again harbor. I look back on a year of ups and downs and I'm grateful, yet wounded at the same time. This lead me to search myself deeper, so I could ensure that joy will always reign in my future. For what I found was fear and pain.
I was in pain because I felt like my work should be at a certain level of success that I have not yet attained. I felt fear because of what I've seen people do to obtain said success. Then my guides told me that I'm resisting fame and that these three branches all came from the same place, my tree of sexual trauma.
After detailing my most painful experiences in Forgiving Our Sexual Abusers, I realized that healing a layer of this wound had cleared many people from my life. “For when you heal yourself, you heal your relations.” - Queen Afua. It's quite common for people to connect and bond over unresolved pain. So once those wounds are healed, then the relation will either evolve or dissipate. So I began asking my heart the hard questions. Why do I fear the level of success that I also desire so greatly? What do I need to know? What do I need to do about this? Then I was shown an echo in time that I had been suppressing for so long.
Tears filled my eyes, as I recounted an incident in 2015 that I had taken so personal. The stylist of a famous public figure had found their way to my first model call. He was dressed nicely and made it a point to approach me. Although he wasn’t unattractive, I was not attracted to him. On my behalf, I felt like it would be a missed opportunity if I didn’t inquire at least a little. I’m a designer. So we exchanged numbers and he invited me to an event shortly after. Because of his status, we sat in VIP. In that moment, it felt good to be invited behind the velvet ropes. I had been homeless just 8 months before.
So we sat together in a comfy booth while the event transpired. He seemed to be a polite host, until he groped me under the table without my consent. I quickly smacked his hand away and we continued the rest of an awkward evening. I went home that night still hoping one day to design for his client, but he never hit me up again. I learned an important lesson about business that evening. While one can argue that every transaction won't be this way, one can also argue that it should never be like this in the first place. Either way, he and the person he represented left a bad taste in my mouth-- and no filacio was involved.
This event callussed my work ethic. I felt like I needed to grind harder than those who would have allowed that to happen just to advance their careers. Do you ever wonder why talentless people are rewarded with success in this industry? Do you ever wonder why people are oversexualized by their management teams? Consider all the #Metoo stories that have inspired us. Now imagine all the people who continuously choose to sweep their #MeToos under the rug, while instead opting for a #MeNext. They are but one perpetuation of the problem.
At this point you may have realized that some of your faves are perhaps the greatest sex workers of all time. What say you to those who degrade the quality of our culture with their ambitious prostitution? I've actually had the pleasure of sharing platonic space, words and time with many sex workers throughout my life. They are not the problem and I do not judge them for doing what they wilt. There's a big difference between a sex worker who openly divulges what they do and a person who eludes that they've achieved their accomplishments solely on merit.
While you may blame the predators, it is actually the object that decides whether or not it will be stream rolled. In this context, I'm not referring to the innocent survivors who were clearly victims of circumstance. No, not them. Not ever them. Instead, I boldly speak to the people who are willing to CONTINUOUSLY lay with repulsion because they have been consumed by the very greed that will lead to their own demise. It takes two to tango.
I would lose respect for myself as a black man if I neglected to mention Tarana Burke in this post. I want to thank her for the work that she has done to change this world forever. I’m so grateful for her. Two weeks before Alyssa Milano sparked things up, Oya came to me and whispered the name of the next blog entry that I was supposed to release. When I heard the subject matter, my heart tightened and I could feel an anxiety attack festering. Then she rested her index finger on my lips and said “Nope, you already healed that.” I burst into laughter as my eyes welled with tears of joy. For it is joy that awaits us on the other side of our pain. Reminders of this can help when we find ourselves in the pit of our misery. Let's be clear, healing is both ugly and beautiful at the same time. Great of us are those who face their ugliness in the dark and bathe it in LOVE, so that we may show up for ourselves with full authenticity.