Sunday, February 19, 2006

rePARENTING FIELD TRIP: It's time to move back in with my folks... kinda...

OKAY, so I'm not exactly going to move in with them, I'm simply going on an intentional field trip. You see, I've been trying (for a while now) to move away from always being in reaction when I come from my folks. Actually, with any bio-family really. Thing is, as I've said in other posts, I end up getting triggered; can't deal with it and take it out on my chosen family - the family that supports me, cares about me, loves me.

And so, I'm preparing to propose an intentional visit to my old family home, MONROVIA, to really move through some of this stuff. Now, as I type this, I think to myself, what am I going to do to prep?
Am I going to ground? What can I expect to happen? All of this I pretty much know the answers too. Let's get started...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Part 2 - CRYING & MOVING THROUGH THE FEAR:I don't think I've cried enough this week (or this year)

THE WATER runs down my face, over the folds, around my nose and slips into my mouth. It's salty, and I'm shaking. I'm stiff and rubbing my legs. My breathing, at first is shallow, then becomes deep. I want to curl up into a ball and wrap my arms around my legs in a fetile position. This is me at 11 after an afternoon of humiliation and terror at the hands of brother.

This is also me in my counsellor's office at 27. Right now there are voices in my head that are saying: what are you doing writing this down? Are you crazy? Someone's gonna see. Then I remind myself, someone needs to see...

So please: SEE! SEE! SEE!

I see my counsellor once a week - an intense, grounding and healing experience where I can just.. be. I never thought I would ever get to the point with a counsellor that I would be okay to have emotional release with one.

The first counsellor I had was unemotional. I know this sounds strange, but you have to understand, I had wasn't really in touch with myself, and darkdaughta, who had been encouraging me for some time to see someone, was glad I was talking to a person about my stuff - besides, well, her.

At first seeing her worked out ok. She in the very least, made me ask questions of myself, andbecause of her own confusion and discomfort with who I am, and what it actually didi to her world view- made me articulate on an ongoing basis my life choices, my feelings about the world, and my justification for my choices. She got me to talk about who I am not because she was really interested, but more because of she didn't fully understand me as a complex, multi-layered person.

Sessions with her also felt like a real client/practitioner relationship, and I didn't feel any connection with her. This is in great contrast to my current counsellor. I see now that the unemotional way of being of my first counsellor was at the core of why we didn't establish a real connection, and was crucial to why I never opened myself up to her.

In one of my recent sessions I was speaking to my inner child.

I see him.

He was about 11, and he had just been thrown to the floor and beaten up by his older brother. The little boy doesn't move. He is just frozen in the corner, humiliated, defeated, and terrified.
I don't call out to him because he is already self conscious and or embarrassed at having been slapped around like a rag doll, and thrown to the ground like trash waiting to be taken out to the dump.

But am I just playing out a role here? Do I just leave him, cause that is what I understand in terms of boys/men and healing.

Something feels off.

I offer my inner child an extension. Not a physical one, but a voice. I talk in my session about what he is feeling, and thinking as a lies there, on the kitchen floor.

'Can someone help me?', he’s saying in his head. He knows no one is in the house.

He is waiting and wondering what will happen next. He not sure if he should move. Maybe if I’m still… I’ll vanish or blend into the surroundings.

Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.

My inner child hears the heavy feet of my abuser walk up the stairs of the family home. Sound thundering creeks and stomps are upstairs, as shivers roll up my spine.



Down the stairs he comes and approaches. I sit, still in front of a cupboard that he wants access to. He proceeds to open the drawer as though I am not there, banging my head against the drawer until I move. He does not speak.

But I do.

I remember these lines well:
'You fu*king piece of sh*t, you want me to be scared of you, I'm not scared of you, I feel sorry for you' he shouts/ I shout at his/my brother. Everyone in this family hates you, you’re weak, that’s why you bully me, and I hope you roast in hell..’

These biting words were meant to sting like the physical trauma he caused. I was scared, but I wasn’t going to let me have all of me.

He glared at me, eyes open in shock. He went back upstairs yelling at me, ‘Shut-up! Shut-up! SHUT up!’

Presentday- Here, I break down. An uncontrollable stream of tears and sounds pour out of me.

Good, I re-assure myself, the supportive voices of my intentional family/community, counsellor and men's group in my head.

I take a deep breath.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'VE GOT 4 CHILDREN! not yet, but this would be nice

I HAD a call from Iann, a man I was introduced to a couple of years back by my musician friend Dean. Iann was starting a new career at mutual fund company and called me up wanting me to participate in a practice survey he had to do as part of his qualifying round.
At first I felt like, "so he's calling me to talk work... we've had conversation about kids and family etc. why is he calling me abut work. Then I remembered, I had his number too - but I never called. Why was that?
And besides, men rarely reach out to talk about emotional stuff...
Even if he wanted to link up, it would have to be founded in business so he didn't seem to 'soft'.
With his kids screaming in the background (not really screaming so much as being alive, alert and excited) I thought to myself - what nice sounds... sounds of developing minds, emotions, voices...

Was this me... Did I think this... me the downtown, night/clubing... man about town...?
Oh Yes! but...

I thought I could hear this papi apologize for all the noise in the background, but it was really just me projecting. I think, inside the conversation, I actually got triggered to when stinkapee (my daughter) was a baby and my THEN business partner was engaging with a fragile, isolated, me. That person, as well as many of my early friends weren't 'supportive' of babies in the background. They were numb.
I resent feeling like a ever had to put stinkapee in the background. Or
I resent feeling like children should have to be quite, behave, or perform when I'm doing something 'important'.

Anyway, as I sat in the conversation, I thought about how I enjoyed hearing the voices in the background. I enjoyed imagining what stinkapee might sound like at 9. I enjoyed the connection on the phone with another dad. I told him so too. He seemed genuinely taken aback by my honestly, and welcomed an invitation over the house (kids in tow) to hang out and be...
I look forward to it.

Part 1 - I MUST KEEP GOING - as i strive to move through the fear ...

MY EXPERIENCE in my men's emotional group this week was layered. Again I felt scared and uncomfortable. I came in feeling excited that I had shared my blog with Don and Paul and at the same time nervous... what would they think? I have a lot of scripts in my head around 'judgement'- that I am trying to work through.

One of the things that stuck out for me in the group was when they were relaying their own experiences, feelings, current worries etc. As they would speak, I would go into this other place that was like:
am I really here?
Are these guys that I'm bonding with really 20-25 years older than I am?
Is one of them really gay?
and more importantly.. am I identifying with him?..
and what does that mean...

I'll tell you what it means. It means throughout my life I've been lied to. I've been cheated. Out of years of possibilities, of connection.. of building full and phenominal relationships with men in a very important way... responsibly.

But it is not all flowers and candy... I very nearly blocked the whole process. What happened for me is what I'll write about next.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'LL JUST LET STINKAPEE DEAL WITH IT: my plan for dealing with the new baby being a boy child [instead of dealing with my inner one]

I SIT at the computer, just minutes b4 I leave for work. I feel aweful. On one hand I'm blogging, and seemingly working things thru in my head. But, all of this time has come at great expense to my relationship/ partnership withdarkdaughta. Yesterday, we were having a conversation about the baby, which, after darkdaughta's questioning revealed my insecurities about being a male caregiver, protector, papi2. More signinficant though, yesterday for the millionth time revealed my continued feeling of contempt at being questioned by darkdaughta; even while claiming her questioning is crucial for m growth and I love her for it. As I write this, I feel like I am describing a crazy person. It has been like this for years. Things aren't going well.. and so now...

Much more to come

Sunday, February 05, 2006

PROCESSING:how it became a dirty word in our intentional community

First and foremost, b4 I begin writing this piece, I have to say that I apologize darkdaughta, not for ridicious behaviour - but for not posting in a more timely manner. I for one should and do understand that silence can be and usually is the kiss of death when people are participating in difficult conversations which are not glazed over wtih nicities. The following post is about the community in which I am apart of, Azania. Please read my partner's post called Coming Out, so you have full context.

Azania is still a dream I still believe in. It may not happen in my lifetime - although I like to think that it can because of the movement I have made. I quite agree with darkdaughta's opinion that we may be some of the most dazzling and articulate Black folk you'll (n)ever have the chance to meet. In conversation with my mother I talked with her about Black people's concept of conversation and or processing and/or negoitating. Specifically, I don't come from a family or community culture of conversation around feelings and emotions.

In Azania, an intentional community queer urban matriarchy, where building family/community specifically meant having processing conversations, engaging in peer counselling, being accountable to one's feelings, and being fully present in the day-to-day operations of two large residences, I was like: what the hell? You don't really expect me to do that. I'm a man.

More accurately, I would engage in strategic conversation, make minor movements, but then revert to my learned behaviours of my child/teen/adult years as taught via my parents, family and community. That's another blog entry.

One difference though would have to be that unlike the other members of Azania who had language learned in feminist environments and in women's community, some of who had a history of counselling - I did not. So, I could not word-smith or side-step direct questions from darkdaughta if she challenged me when I didn't do my personal work.

Still, I refused to develop deep/consistant relationship building conversation with the other collective members, even though darkdaughta had demonstrated what this could look like by supporting my relationships and friendships with others including women I introduced to her. She would often, help me choose my clothes, remind me to take some condoms and send me off to socialize on my own. She wasn't worried about me not coming back, I always did - what she didn't like was how surly I was when I didn't go out for a night on the town/ dancing/ attention seeking.

She was clear and I knew that after being out on the town, I was a happy man, and any woman I introduced to her, she gave full support towards. In fact, even when I wasn't coming from a place of being an ethical slut, that is - fully negiotating relationship, darkdaughta and I talked about it. Here, I'm referring to me standing darkdaughta up on New Year's Day...when Tigana was not even a month old...

I need to remember to ground in that one.

In fact, at the beginning of our relationship, we talked, read and inhaled info on polyamory together. But did I really take it in? - I think grazed. By the way, b4 anyone jumps to my defense, [that usually happens to the patriarchally colonized folk who don't question anything around them] I'm once again putting it out there that it's healthy for me to write, and I know my context at the time, when I did what I described here. That is not an excuse.

And what's more? When darkdaughta became envolved with her (now ex-) girlfriend, biafrakrunk I decided to not actively try and build a relationship with her - a sad statement when you think about how committed darkdaughta was to me exploring away from our relationship. God, as I write this, I'm starting to hunch over a little.

I think the truth of the matter is that I ignore, choose to turn off my gut, even when I know what I'm doing is wrong.


I'm just getting used to this whole blog thing. It has given me some hope that I will eventually link up with interesting people, men who want to think, build, and explore in a climate that would have us sleep, knock-down, and stagnate. Greetings to Rat Boy's Anvil. Clicking through your site I came across Hube's articule who about Closeted Athletes. The note about Ed Gallagher, a 1980's offensive linesmen who tried to commit suicide because "he was unable to reconcile his own image of himself as an athlete with gay urges." I found very significant, - even today. Yes, we men have a long way to go...thanks for the mention, Rat Boy.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'M A FRAGILE BEING: touch in my men's group

I SAT at my Men's Emotional Group tonight and felt happy when I arrived. I talked about feeling overjoyed at having begun the process of confronting my family. Last week it was my brother. This week, we had no agenda. We don't usually have an agenda. Sessions usually start by a 'checkIN', that is, literally a go-around, where everyone talks about how they are feeling in their body (ie. my neck feels tight, there is a knot in my lower back) Then each of us talks about what went on in the past day or two in our lives.

One of the facilitators, Don, talked about being moved by my check in. He remarked that he felt inspired by my excitement. And excited I was and am. In the psycho-dramatic theatre I did last week - the spin off effects have left me with a feeling hope/liberation/and celebration. I walk taller, and spoke more powerfully - fully present in my voice and emotion.

I said that I wanted to achieve more of this, understanding that progress is a process.

It is strange for me to say that, cause I don't value process. I say I do, but really...I don't. I want everything right away. Slowly, that's changing though. But need to be careful not think that the gift I recieved in my sessions will come every week. I'm trying to grasp that everything takes time.

You know, it's funny, cause everything I've been taught says that if I want to feel good, or I want to feel special, or solid in myself - that is all attainable via: the right car, the right house, the right clothes, the right friends, the right stuff.

And though, I knew on an intellectual level that that wasn't the case - it really wasn't until the end of last week's session did I really FEEL the emotional (& crucial) power of counselling work. It is liberation. Period.

In this session, D said a lot was happening for him and asked P for support. Support looked like D sitting in between P legs while P put his hand on D's chest. D's back was against P's chest and stomach. P's head was above D's head, while P's arms were wrapped around him.

I thought: I gotta go. I have to get out of here. So ... I stayed.

Intellectually, it all made sense. One human being wanting care, and another one willingl to give it.

But they were men.

D had been talking about career issues, stuff about his wife, and a general feeling of uneasiness. He articulated that he wanted touch - and even spoke to his fear of judgement from P and myself. He said he was frustrated around ignoring his feminine side, and not giving it equal weight as his masculine side.

I commented (while saying I wanted to GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE, but not actually doing so) that I was tired of those descriptions/expressions - masculine or feminine. What was considered feminine was beaten out of me at home, and that beating was reinforced mentally/ psychically in the outside world, simply by so-called everyday unemotional interactions between men.

Going to the group is like entering another dimension. I really believe in my lovership/partnership with DD. She has pushed me further than anyone probably could, or ever will. She infuses my success at everything and I will never forget this. Her support in my development have let allowed me to trust P and D.

They have encouraged me to grow and expand. They are at least 15 years my senior, and are white. P is a counsellor, is gay [I just put my head in my hands and started to fall asleep on the work station in my house. B, a collective family member just encouraged me to keep writing through my feelings and to not stop - even to describe what I was doing in the moment] [... 30seconds past.. I started to stare off into space again...]D is construction worker and printer, and is straight.

Ok, I definitely had a reaction to me seeing a P, a gay man. It is definitely my stuff around being called queer, fag, whatever growing up. I flash to being a child, and not an adult - and then think, so: what will people think? I take a deep breath.. watch the world around me, remembering it is present day, - not 1987.

Here is some more of what I was thinking and saying in the group:

What they hell am I witnessing? How am I in this setting the three of us being so completely different. Was I going to use our difference to stop me from growing emotionally? This doesn't mean pretending those artificial societal lines don't exist. I'm not saying that. But I have a responsibility to myself to not allow stuff to block my work..
I'm not suppose to be in a room with two men getting support from each other. My model for relationship between 2 men is: my horrible abusive relationship with my brothers, from the past. And so, at play for me was: me wanting to run. But where would I run. I can't run away from my own heart, soul, discomfort.

And, I remember. I remember the feeling I had after the confrontation with my brother. I remember the trust I built up with these two men. And so, I forged ahead.

I watched D receive touch on his body, touch that answered some of this pain, some of his confusion, some of the knots in his frame. I listened to D, as he spoke up feelings of homophobia, and unmanliness. I felt relieved. Glad he brought that up. It had crossed my mind. But after he spoke it, I thought and spoke about how that we men get totally shut down. That's how we stay shells. That's how we don't receive what our bodies need as human beings, regardless of gender: to be nurtured. And for me, it is especially significant from other men specially because I've spent my entire childhood, teen years, and adulthood up to now only understanding nurturing touch from another man as something mythical.. and really an impossibility.

I wanted something different now. And last night, I asked for it.

D had has shifted positions way from P, and the two of them were facing each other. I was right beside them, and at this point, I had my hand on D's hand.

My back started to ache, and my neck got a little stiff. With my hand on D's hand, I spoke to feelings of wanting to leave at first, while at the same time drawing closer to the two men. I breathed in, and then breathed out.

I looked at the two of them in the eyes. Earlier D had a tear in his eye. I chose to register this now. Fuck!, whow brave both D and P were.

I took another deep breath, felt my abdomen feel, and exhaled slowly. I opened my mouth, shifted or flexed my jaw muscles and ... hesitated.. and them spoke...

"Could you please put your hands on my back."

P and D paused. Their answer was yes. D put his hand on my back, it felt like a relief. Like I had an open wound was leaking fluid all over the place and his hand was helping to keep it together...

I sat face to face, holding P's hands. The room was quite, and still. It was scary. It was fantastic. It was beautiful. My body was doing something. I'm not sure what, but something was happening.

P brought his forehead to meet mine as I closed my eyes.

"oh my god, what is going on" I remember thinking. this can't be. But it is. And it was crucial.

D asked if I was ok if he put his other hand on my heart. I quickly said, "yes." More to come...