I Am Many Things
Originally posted on jaradeancoffey.com on August 23, 2020
At my folks for the first time since early 2020 — too long. It was good to lay hands. I am at the pool continuing my pursuit of Viola Davis. I have some sun-time to make up. It’s about 1:00 PM. I forget how big the sky is in Arizona — spacious.
When I can’t shake an idea or theme, I know it has taken root and when ready it will sprout. I had some conversations this weekend with my folks — separately — about how Black folks were showing up in commercials and other media spaces that made me realize sprouting time had come.
Early this summer I wrote “I am not difficult.“ It was about me, but really it is a note to others in my orbit as a bit of a heads up about what you might consider as you think about engaging with me and others like me (as it seems to have resonated with others). It’s one of my favorite pieces and yes, it still makes me so tired that I felt the need to write it.
A few weeks have passed and a series of asks from known and unknown folks lead to a Twitter thread that I turned into a short piece that sits in my heart in a profound way. It says all that I try to convey in my interactions and should really be part of the prerequisite if you are pondering an approach. And then it dawned on me that these pieces didn’t really tell folks who I am, although you get peaks here, here, and here.
OK— back to the chat with my folks. We remarked that often Black folks are characterized as a few stereotypes. The full figured Black woman is often comedic or aggressive (never sexual or fully embodied). If a Black woman is exceptional (meaning exceeding the expectations of what the dominating culture thinks we are capable of), they get the ‘Black Girl Magic’ stamp of approval — which is for another time after I intensify my meditation, as that brings up some feelings. The Black man is athletic, a womanizer or enterprising. We are also often dancing or singing (performing).
If you are post-gender (love that framing), you are an outsider or an artist (again, performing). Even in 2021. It is all so lazy, dangerous and inaccurate. I reminded my folks that white blonde women are often portrayed as stupid and overly sexual, brunettes as smart and rigid and red-heads as wild and unstable. It is part of what we do in this country — we label and simplify.
As I reflected on the writings referenced earlier I realized that they talked about experiences but they really didn’t say anything about who I am at this moment. I fit no single narrative nor does any other human I know.
I am many things, as I like to say. We all are.
Here are some of the things I am today:
I am comfortable in all spaces (and deliberate in where I choose to be)
I am quick witted
I am open to most all things (if invited)
I laugh fully
I am deeply fond of silence and solitude
I am in a loose relationship with money
I am breaking up with capitalism and extraction
I am aware of how people perceive me
I am in awe of those with multiple language fluency
I am a believer in both the sacred and the irreverent
I am insignificant in the big scheme of things
I am constantly asking to what end
I am to the mat for the few I hold deeply in my heart
I am clear in my convictions and I also change my mind
I am rarely shocked and I would love to be surprised more
I am freakishly intentional (so I’ve been told) and also know I have very little control
I am ever unfolding and evolving freeing myself of all that no longer serves my liberation in pursuit of a life of love, abundance and purpose
I love to be surrounded by people who know things I don’t know and are smarter than me
Tomorrow I will have different configurations of these and other things. And they will look different the day after that and the day after that. It is in the ever changing nature of my being that I am myself.
Completed August 24, 2021