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  • Taylor Waits

#DeepThots: Finding The Connections

Updated: Apr 26

To escape the inescapable thoughts of the loneliness of death, I visualize my future as a long-ass book. "Now I really can’t be alone in death, my friends and family can read about my sex life whenever they want!" It’s full of chapters, various themes, complex characters, moments of laughter and moments of terror. 


On the front cover, there’s a photo of me being buried in Chipotle tortilla foil. On the inside left flap, my life’s accomplishments will be summarized into a neatly organized bulleted list with a 250 word summary of my personal life right underneath. The reader can flip through and catch some vintage photographs of me as a child, or my early years as an undergrad, my social activism, all of my artwork, and of course the people who empowered me to still be me all through the years of traumatic bullshit. I imagine them dogearring the pages, highlighting, and marking up all the fucking margins. But in anticipation for the release of my best-selling autobiography, I gotta curate experiences. I mean besides the fear of living a boring and regrettable life being a motivator, another one is having people be bored after they finished reading my book? While daydreaming about kick ass bucket list ideas for what to actually write about in this impending book I thought about being able to see the future. (Shout out to Raven) 

When I look back on my life experiences and make connections as to how they influenced who I am today I’m pretty proud I guess. But I still wonder how many times I could have saved myself from things that I felt like I didn’t deserve (or just outright didn’t want). I wish that relationship could be more transactional and equally beneficial. They definitely have done more for me than I ever did for them. But you can’t change the past. And that’s the real pain. However, the past ends up both interacting and collaborating with my present; which may have significant results on my future. Past painful, traumatic, or reactionary experiences help you to avoid, perpetuate, or alter your new experiences. The connections will start to make themselves clear. Waiting for signs, or for things to be “right” defeats the whole point of living. Life is meant to be figured out along the way, not planned out in beautifully organized planners. But focusing on my present too long leaves me disconnected from my life plans. I get so caught up in just hustlin’ and making it to the next day that I forget to YOLO. And then you YOLO too hard you may have to hold off on YOLOing activities to recover. Both are true. While one part of me loves to wild out, it gives me comfort to feel like I can “control” my life. Feeling out of control is a huge trigger for me, feeling stupid, feeling alone, feeling helpless - that’s ok. I plan my years out in advance, I perform personal quarterly reviews for my wellness, for fuck's sake I put “Take Nap Dumb Bitch” in my fucking iCal - it helps me heal. Connecting the dots in my life the way I best see fit is love.

 

However, these practices give me the illusion of control. As a means of combating the hypocrisy that is 'having control' in the unpredictability of this fucked up conundrum called Life, I plan and organize. But despite my comforts, I still understand: I have no control. I can die tomorrow. I’m more likely to die during childbirth than to win the lotto and - I’m black. So pretty much life can do a sideways for me literally at any moment. And I need to learn to be ok with that. Life requires balance - woosah. My anxiety is not just overwhelming, it literally gives my thought process tunnel vision. Not only do I easily get triggered about my past mistakes when I am reminded of them, but I also can't stop thinking about it for days on end. I think so hard about the past affecting my future, I totally forget to LIVE in the moment. But it never is that black and white. I don’t want to just get through my complicated past - I want to learn from it. How can I take my past experiences, complicate them into a 2020 lens, and set intentions to flourish for years to come? 


In the spirit of Black History Month, I am reminded of Sankofa. A West African phrase meaning “we must go back and reclaim our past in order to create a better future.” Revisiting my past shouldn’t induce panic or anxiety attacks, it should produce growth. I denounce the idea of simply surviving in this world - I aim to thrive. Find examples of the joy you want to create from the world around you. Searching throughout the many histories of the world to relate the connections that pop up on my own has been both hopeful and enlightening. When I am put against a wall, or forced to make difficult decisions, I stop and think, "A Black woman SOMEWHERE has done this shit before." What was it that other Black women academics were doing in their first year? How did they find joy, how did they overcome obstacles? How did queer Black people create joy for themselves in moments of pain and hopelessness? This month, I’m going to find pictures, create the spaces, foster joyous activities with those I love. I’ll continue to create content so I can not only feel joyous but also so I can share my moments of gay ass Black ass joy with others, specifically other Black gay femmes. It’s rare you see Black gays laughing or in moments of peace and we NEED to see it more. When you can’t see the connections, when you literally are removed from history, it makes feeling hopeful seem useless. But I am committed to showing how my history is quite the opposite.  



Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way


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