I’m not interested in changing the world. I’m interested in surviving in it.
1. What are the words you do not have yet? (Or, “for what do you not have the words, yet?”)
The bar is too low.
2. What do you need to say? (List as many things as necessary.)
Beyoncé makes me happy to be alive.
3. What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? (List as many as necessary today. Then write a new list tomorrow. And the day after.)
I’m not interested in changing the world. I’m interested in surviving in it. I cannot waste any more energy on wishing the world were a better place because the world will never be a better place, but you, my dear, just have to do a better job of adapting to it. I feel like black people know this, or at least this individual black person does. I live my life in it. Every time I step out of my apartment I become the avatar for every metaphorical negress that people have in their heads. I have to show them. I have to ease them. I have to be a tally in the “pro” column. Most of my beauty labor comes from doing the most to get the bare minimum to be out in the world. And I don’t mind! I know that’s my lot in life and that’s how I have to live my body, but I wouldn’t change that for anything. Yeah, it sucks that I have to represent my whole race, and yeah, it sucks that black women are beneath the bottom of the totem pole, but when it is good, it is oh, so good. I don’t resent being a woman so much that I wish I was any body different. I enjoy being a/presenting as a woman, or rather, I think it’s the easiest and safest of all the options available to me. What I do resent and do not enjoy is that I personally have to work a lot harder, I think, than other people. Beauty-work is not the problem. I would be satisfied if things were just easier. I think that one of the many luxuries of being a pretty person is being able to think about what it would be like to live outside your body and become someone/something else because you’ve already achieved the goal in the regular world. Why would you wish for a “normal” super hot body if you’re already normal and super hot? That doesn’t make sense. For empirically un-pretty people such as myself (let me just say that this isn’t self-deprecation—my composition is literally just not up to par), you spend a lot of your time wishing you looked like other people in the most pedestrian ways. Skin, hair, feet, forehead, gums, neck. The basics. It doesn’t seem practical to me to wish for no-body or something like that because being free of my body is not something I want, actually. I just want a better body. So if I’m going to live my body as a black woman, why not live it as Beyoncé, the most beautiful and perfect and powerful black woman in the world? Who cares about remaining in an oppressed class when you’re literally THAT beautiful and perfect? Who cares about spending hours on hair, makeup, nails, etc. when you know that you don’t even HAVE to do that to be perfect and beautiful and a gift to the public? For me, it’s all relative. I only hate beauty-work because I have to do more of it than I would wish to, but if I looked like Beyoncé, I would have nothing to complain about.
4. If we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language, ask yourself: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” (So, answer this today. And every day.)
I’m a sellout.