BY DAVE BRIDGEFORTH
Let me be clear. I am doing all of this for myself. This has nothing to do with anyone else. My own soul speaks to me at night, keeping me up, telling me what it is called to do. Telling me how to set a legion of hearts on fire, whispering to me the ingredients of love and honor. All of this is for me, so that I can live, because if I don’t reverence my soul's utterance, I will surely die in the land of the sleep walkers.
I don’t remember much about last summer. It is like a foreign film I saw at the theatre once and didn’t like it enough to write a review, but the tickets were a gift. What I do know is that I needed to take time to sink into myself, to indulge into me, and to understand the origin of my emptiness. I looked up and it had been a year. All four of the seasons had past. I had performed wondrously in the spot light of my ever rising career, but in the private shadows of my personal life I was stuck. Face down, ass up in mush; that’s what Maya Angelou called it, ‘Sentimentality, Mush.’ My mind was welded around the same boy that was becoming the man I’ve always wanted —at my hearts expense, and the nostalgia of our two year love affair.
I’ve been daydreaming about living a more fearless life. I realized for a year I hadn't touched the ground because I was scared shitless of it —the solidarity —the absolute of it paralyzed me. So I floated through the business of my world on large white fluffy clouds and met addiction with a firm hand shake. I didn’t know much about pain —what to do with it —how to handle it —where to put it all. Nor did I know how to collect the million tiny pieces of the heart I once had. I wasn't aware that there existed a pain that could change my whole pretty little life.
Something happens when you survive what you thought would surely take you out. When you make it over, elements inside you are different. There is a new truth you must live by; an understanding that you cannot ignore. You become familiar with a knowing; a strength alien to you. Fear wears a brand new dress; a colorful one with flowers.
My generation of young, funky, ultra-intelligent, progressive LGBT forces of color are searching for who they are. They have their hand stretched erect, lusting to be introduced to the fullness of who they are. Because there is no lightened path for them to know how much they matter, the CDC says, “One in two men of color who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.”
Those who understand that they matter stand flat foot with courage on the ground of their world. Anais Nin wrote that 'life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage'. Courage looks like knowing your status and daring to know the status of those who you select to give your only body to. Courage is not gambling with your life but instead letting this little light of yours shine bar none. Courage ventures to believe in the greatness that exist in us all. It reaches for the possibilities. My brothers and sisters, gay and lesbian and transgender are strong. We dodge bottles thrown at us on the street and hateful words shot at us like bullets because we just want to make it to the other side. The courage to know we matter is a birthright that most of my generation has yet to receive.
It is all a means to alignment. We want to be aligned. Like a dislocated hip. All the sex and the drugs and the partying, the high, the thrill of fulfillment doesn’t really fill us up. We are searching for the meaning of our lives, for the great introduction, and for the proof that we belong on the vacillating orb of soot. When you align yourself with the divinity that is all things, you will be able to say, “Let me be clear. I am doing all of this for myself. This has nothing to do with anyone else. My own soul speaks to me at night, keeping me up, telling me what it is called to do. Telling me how to set a legion of hearts on fire, whispering to me the ingredients of love and honor. All of this is for me, so that I can live, because if I don’t reverence my soul's utterance I will surely die in the land of the sleep walkers.”
What I have fervently come to know is that the only way to never touch the ground is to have enough courage to leap off the edge of life and grow your wings on the way down. If we don't, we deprive the world from experiencing the deity that is us, at a canvas of possibilities.