Being Black and queer is exhausting.
Sometimes I don’t even realize how exhausting it is until one day I can’t get out of bed and then I try to ignore it with television, social media and work and then my computer dies and I have to sit with my Black queer body all alone and then I’m like OH. RIGHT. THIS is what’s got me fucked up.
The fact that every time I walk into MY apartment, I automatically go to take out my keys if ever I’m around another white resident to prove that I live here and I’m not following them into the building. Or if we’re going the same direction, my brain is automatically doing the math—how many steps do I walk to make it look natural, not creepy so they don’t think I’m following them.
Or every time I go into a bathroom, I feel shame about not looking “woman enough” when I have to take off my hat and then find something to comment on so other women in the bathroom register my voice as one of them.
Or having to educate my family on why the shit they say is discriminatory and then crying for an hour, after all that emotional labor. Or not educating my family on why the shit they say is discriminatory and then feeling cowardly guilt for saying nothing. Or not picking up their calls for three months. Because I can’t tell them that EVERYTHING I DO IS GAY. I can’t tell them that I work for a gay company and when I’m not doing that I’m throwing gay parties and when I’m not doing that I’m chilling with my gay friends and my gay girlfriend. Or hearing my six-year-old cousin tell me to my face that it’s wrong and gross that I’m going to marry a girl, and wondering where he got that from—was it someone in my family?
Or riding the subway and wondering if today’s the day I’m going to get stabbed or raped because I look too gay. Or I decided to hold my girlfriend’s hand.
And these, these are passive thoughts. I am constantly just on edge and in fear enough to function, but always tired enough to break. Sometimes I wonder what people who don’t have to think about things like this fill their brains with during the day. How it must feel to have the extra brain space. The lack of constant fear.
It’s nothing new to us. In fact, one can argue that in 2017, it’s never been better. Generations of my people have endured it, and generations of my people will continue to endure it. So, I’m not saying “woe is me,” or anything.
But being Black and queer is exhausting as fuck. It’s going to be for the rest of my life. And I’m never fully going to get used to it, or less anxious or less afraid about it. And that’s exhausting as fuck. And in this capitalist society, sometimes I wish my people just had more space and time to be exhausted. To be tired. To be in pain. To be able to rest. To not have to work twice as hard because of that fear, that exhaustion.
If you’re a Black folk, queer folk, femme, woman, sleep in this Saturday. Hell, sleep in Saturday and Sunday. Drink water. Be with people who love you for you. Who see you for you. For the beautiful, powerful, brilliant, tired soul you are. And Rest. Because you deserve it. We all do.