Empowerment – The Fire Within (A 2013 Throwback)

The following piece was written back in 2013. While 4 years have passed, the underlying message is still quite relevant today.


As members of the LGBT community, it’s sad that we still live in a world that cannot see beyond our sexuality. How appalling is it that the masses fail to realize our worth or accept us wholly and completely? When faced with hatred, discrimination, and stereotypical imagery in media and entertainment, we can’t help but feel a bit of shame, guilt, and anger. So many misconceptions and stigmas continue to cloud judgment, perception, and understanding. But for what? Our sexuality is one of so many parts of who we are. While it doesn’t define us, we can’t ignore it. And it’s obvious that public officials, conservatives, and organizations (that shall remain nameless) are obsessed with our sexuality more than we are.

Did the powers that be, holy rollers, and haters forget that we’re human too? We desire, no, we deserve the same things as our heterosexual brothers and sisters – family, friends, love, happiness, success on our own terms, good health… I could go on, as the list is endless. But you wouldn’t know this reading or viewing some of the media and entertainment created daily. How hypocritical can a society be that prides itself on freedom, but shames, victimizes, vilifies, and silences those who don’t fit the preferred, traditional archetype? We’re well past the time to lift the veil on the alienation and isolation that comes as a result of living in such a heteronormative society. But let us not be defeated.

Validation from the outside world may not come in the time, manner, or fashion we desire it to. However, we shouldn’t let it hinder us from living or having what we want in this life. No matter what the outside world says we must remain steadfast in knowing ourselves and trusting what we believe in. No matter what the world says, we are beautiful in every way. We are not less than. We are warriors.

Sometimes we have to forego or question everything we’ve been taught or led to believe as truth to find out who we really are. There’s so much that we deny ourselves when we feed into to the B.S. aimed at refuting our existence. We have to shut ourselves off from the noise and the hysteria to make way for what’s real – to make way for peace, serenity, and truth. When we’re able to free ourselves individually and collectively – the change we see within and around us will be miraculous.

As Audre Lorde said, “Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.” We cannot wait. While we should celebrate the recent Supreme Court rulings in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases for being a step in the right direction for gay marriage, the movement doesn’t stop there. These rulings should only intensify our fight for justice, equality, and freedom for all. And everything we need for this fight lies within.

The key to finding what’s within, the power within, is loving ourselves. We talk a good game about loving ourselves, but how many of us actually do? How many of us can say we truly love ourselves? It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to allow internalized hatred to ruin our progress. It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to tolerate the abuse, ill-treatment, and foolishness we encounter daily.

We must not let fear run our authentic selves away. We must be brazen. Stand up for those who were/are not able to stand up for themselves. Realize that in doing so, we’re empowering ourselves and challenging everyone to (always) strive to be and do better.

When we find the love within, the power is never too far behind. When we find our power… When we realize our power… When we utilize our power, its intensity will inspire action and breed the change we need in our families, communities, and the world.

Ours is a power that not only changes lives, but also saves lives. As James Baldwin said, “The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” So let’s find our power and wield it lovingly, strongly, boldly, and unapologetically. It’s our world. Now let the power within—that internal fire—lead the way!

The Power Of Your Voice

My partner and I got up early this morning so we could get to our polling station before it opened (at 6 AM).  It was very good thinking on our part considering how long the line was, even at 5:50 AM.  But seeing the line of people this early was a beaming sign.  It meant people were not going to be swayed in any way.  They were going to let their voices be heard.  The coldeven with the temperature below freezingwas no deterrent either.  That’s because the cause was/is worth it.

The cause is worth it because my ancestors fought too long and too hard for all of us to be able to vote.  They knew the power of the voice and that we’d only falter if we remained silent.  They recognized the importance of the collective…and that if we all had the chance to vote that we could collectively change our world for the better.  My ancestors died so that we could we could be free and live in a world where equality and justice reign supreme.  Therefore I don’t take any of it vain. 

I also don’t take it lightly the (ongoing) issue of voter suppression and oppression throughout this country.  There’s too much at stake for any of us to be cast aside or denied our right to exercise our political voice.  And after being in a long line of voters today and seeing the long lines of people voting early in days prior, I know that this rightthis precious rightis something we all (should) hold dear.  As someone said exiting the polling station this morning, “You’ve got to show up in order to show out.”  And I’m so pleased, so happy, so grateful that people across this country have/are doing just that.

Never think that you don’t matter or that you don’t count.  Because you do.  If you feel you aren’t being represented well or at all, you have the right to voice your concerns and act accordingly.  If we fail to act or we don’t exercise our rights, then we’re giving in.  We’re signing off and are just as accountable as the parties in office.  Or as many will sayif we don’t vote, we don’t have a voice.  Remember, you and your voice are worth more than they’ll ever admit.  Why else do you think they up the ante on tactics to scare us away from the polls (especially during Presidential Elections)?

I don’t care what scare tactics they use.  I wouldn’t care if it was subzero or 100+ degrees outside this morning.  If I had to stand in line all day today to vote, I would do it.  I recognize the power of my voice and power of my vote.  And I’m glad to see that so many of my fellow Americans do too.

Related Posts:

Day 98: I’m Voting for Progress – Obama Biden 2012
Day 96: Michelle Obama at the DNC 2012
Desperation (from Prevail)
Politricking

Day 65: Get Free

Until you’ve freed your mind from the people, situations,
     and other assorted bullshit that ties you down—
     You’ll never truly know or be able to experience freedom.

If you can’t act independently,
     think independently,
     live independently,
     or just be independent—
     You’ll never be free.

Release the chains.
Get free!

© BuddahDesmond

On Marriage…

So many marriages are crumbling. Whether it’s people in the spotlight or people in our personal lives. Marriages currently seem to be more like short-lived excursions instead of life-long, fruitful journeys. At this rate, the only couple who looks like they’re going to make it is Whitney & Bobby. Recently, I told two of my friends (who’ll be tying the knot June 2006) if they end of like Babyface and Tracey Edmonds I’m going to cut them both. But seriously, where are the marriages/relationships like Ruby Dee & the late Ossie Davis? You know, marriages like our great-grandparents, grandparents and quite possibly our parents….When the love just seems to get stronger and stronger and the relationship seems to get better and better. When problems arise and they’re able to keep it civil, work it out and stay together….

Today, it seems like people are getting married for all the wrong reasons. Lust. Money. Security. Because a baby is on the way. Not because you want to but because it’s expected. First and foremost it’s supposed to be about love. At the same time, marriage is a business. Once you sign that contract, you’re making an arrangement between you, your spouse and the state (or government). Maybe this part is irrelevant. Then again maybe not. My point is this—why get married if your heart isn’t in it? Why make these arrangements or this commitment if this isn’t the person you truly love and desire? If you’re marrying only for security, what happens if it turns out to be a false sense of security? Marrying for children or because there is a child on the way doesn’t seem to be any better, especially if one (or both) of you has resignations about going thru with it. As we all should know, the children will be affected either way. Even more so if they have to endure unstable, hostile relations between parents who really don’t want or need to be together.

It should be a requirement that before you walk down that aisle, make sure he or she is the one. You also need to make sure you really know each other. There’s nothing worse than getting some unexpected surprises down the line. If there’s something you want or feel you need to know, you better ask! You need to discuss money, children, jobs, relocating, etc., before you jump over that broomstick. Because it’s so easy for any relationship to end, but it’s work if you want the relationship to last. If one person is trying and the other person fails to even make an attempt, you’re going to have some issues.

Another hot component to this discussion is the sanctity of marriage. But this typically comes up with yet another hot button issue—gay marriage. In all honesty, gay marriage is not going to burn down the house of holy matrimony. Newsflash everyone—the sanctity of marriage was already in jeopardy long before the gay marriage debate began. Take a look at TV today. When you have reality shows (really faux reality shows) like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?, Wife Swap, Trading Spouses, and the like, it signifies a big problem in our society with marriage. There are larger issues to consider when statistics say that marriages nowadays are more likely to end in divorce. How about considering many of the following questions: Why people don’t stay together? Why people commit adultery? Why people lie? Why fewer people are deciding to get married? And just how does gay marriage threaten anyone’s idea of marriage? You’re not directly influenced by it – especially if you’re involved in an altogether different relationship. So still, how does it affect you at all? And furthermore, what right does anyone have in invalidating another’s relationship by saying their relationship is insignificant (because of their sexuality)? But I digress.

Maybe the other part of this discussion needs to be reconsidering whether a traditional relationship is right for you. You may not be a fan of traditional. You may want a relationship that’s a bit more radical. Possibly an open relationship. A committed relationship without the basis of monogamy. Or maybe you want the fruits of traditional marriage without all the hoopla. As far as I know, no correlations have been made specifically stating that relationships more often than not fail to endure if there’s been no exchange of rings or a formal ceremony. Marriage, the idea or the actual experience, is not for everyone. You may have to walk down the aisle a couple of times before you figure it out (sadly). But hey, that’s just how it goes.

With all the many wonderful things that we encounter and achieve in this life, isn’t it just nice to share them with someone you love? Someone that’s got your back. Someone that’s always going to be there. Someone you can have great conversations with, cuddle with, laugh with and cry with. Someone that you can rush home to each and every night.

Isn’t this the overall goal? Is it possible? Or is this just wishful thinking? I think that it is possible. But I can only go on what I’ve experienced, what I’ve been exposed to and what I believe. I sincerely hope that the forecast calls for brighter, lighter conditions on the marriage/relationship front for everyone.

What do you think?