American LGBTQ+ Creative Nonfiction

I usually don’t share in this way. It isn’t a lack of desire which stops me, it is the potential for another’s misunderstanding. When sharing wisdom and experience is my primary aim, many who harbor suspicions assume the worst at every turn. I imagine this is on account of the probability of what they fear or suspect happening, being something within their own capability of doing.

My delivery needs some polishing, I know… but I prefer to speak from the heart and shoot from the hip. I’m direct, unfiltered and I’m told it gets me invited exactly nowhere, with anyone, during any holiday event. And I am A-OK with that. The truth I’m speaking isn’t just an opinion yanked out of thin air, it derives from many years of observation. And it isn’t popular to go against the grain even if it's for the right reasons. Regardless of how you define “right”.

I have upset many people for speaking my truth and sharing my observations in a way that suited me. Doing so has brought much turmoil into my life as well as experiences and challenges I would have never needed to overcome otherwise. That I learned something of my own grit and fortitude cannot be overlooked, or undermined. I speak of my hardships humbly and -hopefully- with grace.

There was a time when I had just begun college after earning my GI Bill. I seriously asked myself what my heart wanted. If I could be anything, I asked myself, I asked God… What could I be? I asked so hard and for so many days that eventually a choice was presented to me in a waking dream. I lay in bed one night waiting to fall asleep and in my mind’s eye, I found myself walking through an empty space. It was something like the desert I’d stand in while deployed overseas in Iraq only a few years before. It was dark all around me, the stars the only light. As I would back then I stared up at the sky listening for the wind reaching across the desert. When I could hear the beat of my heart I would seek that small voice, the one that becomes too big to ignore during the most trying times.

In the waking dream, when I began walking I approached a large hole, something like a bear trap that was deep, too deep to be for only one bear. Too deep to be anything other than a pit toward what some might call hell. As I stood looking down, I began to see the contours of a face with lines aflame. When the face grinned at me, I turned my back on the creature and later I did the same to anyone who represented dark tendencies in my waking life. As I cut ties with the darkness inside of and around me, talents hidden from me or that I hidden from myself made themselves known to me. This is not to say that I wouldn't have discovered these talents otherwise, only that... I feel my choice to turn toward the light will allow me to use my talent to benefit others, which will only create more positivity in and around me.

Being that I came from moderate means and my family fights… like cats and dogs. Things like screaming at night loud enough that an entire neighborhood hears isn't abnormal or even shocking to me. Which, I didn't understand until recently, the discomfort I felt with the neighbors around my childhood home was due to the loud and violent arguments my family had every night, and not something I had done to them -which was what I thought-. It begs the question, why no one ever said anything to my parents about those weekly, if not nightly explosions? I chalk it up to a win for myself though, I tend to handle conflict rather well now and my instincts sometimes blow me away with their accuracy.

I feel compelled to emphasize a point here, fear can confuse the senses and create anxiety that clouds intuition. An easy fix for anyone who tries it though is to either trust in your faith so completely you understand this life is only a tiny piece of the pie, or simply focus on the emotions you want to cultivate more of and ignore those you don’t. Please understand that the anxiety you may experience, even sometimes the emotions rumbling within, do not always belong solely to you. Take a step back from people and things and ask yourself, how do you feel, -what was it?- name five things you sense around you, then ask yourself again how you feel. Start small, our minds are our greatest weapons or our greatest enemy. It's a choice.

People want you to believe that psychic abilities are something of a myth when all it is an intense study of empathy in real-time. It might not be common knowledge but “The Matrix,” was surely right about one thing, individuals are a legit natural resource that creates an energy field. Eventually, I’d wager; like with our data, one day someone will figure a way to profit off that aspect of you too.

People also want you to believe anything they tell you at any given time, so please don't take my word as gold, formulate your own opinion. Wasn't it Mr. Marvin Gaye who made the song as famous as it is today? He said something like, “Believe only half of what you see, and darling... none of what ya hear". I'm reminded of this during a time when so many people believe the first thing thrown at them. They put their whole everything into it, and later find it isn't true, or perhaps they learn it is not in their best interest to continue on the said path. Those people are usually too deep to wanna try, and this is me begging them to climb out.

When I heard the story about the man who created the light bulb, he wasn’t the first to invent it, but he was the first to patent the invention. I asked myself several times, the meaning of this. If one man was so legendary how is it so many other people had the same idea for the same invention at the same time, thereabouts? Another waking dream flooded my minds eye and a wave or an invisible cloud just outside our reach appeared. I call it "the wave" that connects all people, and I found that somehow it has its own… agenda. This dawned on me when I heard what Houston hospitals were doing to try and cure cancer, using the Plague cells to insert medicine into cancer patients whose immune systems would otherwise attack/consume the cell and the medicine within before it hit the target area. I thought it a beautiful irony. A disease that wiped out so many, being used to transport medicine. I understood then there are things that the human race needs to discover. This message, these inventions are so important "the wave" spreads them out amongst all those listening until someone completes the task. So to become a legend, just patent the idea first.

Which brings me to a few questions, how many legends do we know of that were just like everyone else during their time, in their immediate vicinity? Doing what everyone else was doing, thinking how everyone else was thinking? Not many, right? Ole' societal norms and the like keep people locked in this idea of belonging, and strength in numbers. Quantity over quality doesn't benefit anyone except those already living it up. What was it this one guy said, "Who wants to be a part of a circular firing squad?"

And why is old age, during a decade when so many were snuffed out too early, why is old age, wrinkles, or saggy skin viewed as anything other than a blessing? Why is old age treated as something undesirable or necessary to avoid? Shouldn’t the focus be to aid the youth and all their ridiculousness to use their otherwise negative energy in a positive manner by preparing them for potential hardships instead? They are hungry for it, for change, and for equality. Open the floodgates, give them the tools and resources, plant the seeds. Like, say… a public education that actually teaches young people how to learn, rather than teaching them answers for a test that ensures funding… *Ahem* Thank you to everyone in the Government who has done nothing to change these -needles- flaws due to how lucrative the haystack is for other already full pockets. Which, they say they need funding when those who make the books every year, for the test that only slightly changes every year... when they make an ungodly amount of money... what funding do we need again?

I grew up with a kid who had serious deformities, I was told he had several surgeries before he was a six-month-old baby. These surgeries allowed him could lift his elbow away from his body, for example. Or pull his legs apart, maybe have some semblance of fingers and toes. As a young man in high school, it always shocked me how people regarded him. Adults, kids, White, Hispanic, African American, Asian American -trying to be PC here guys- it made no difference. They were unsettled, uncomfortable, and sometimes just plain cruel. This was due to either how difficult he was to understand or how very different he looked with surgical scars on his bald head and any other visible area of his white skin.

It was then I began to understand that cruelty does not see skin color, religion, or sexuality, it is not prejudice, discriminatory, or racist. It will pick any person of any color, out of any crowd. It will seek any differences and darkness and latch onto it before squeezing tight to manipulate a person into doing things they damn well know better than to do. Knowingly hurting or harming another. Mmm. Word to the wise, regardless of your reasoning or justification… negatively impacting others always comes back around to you, if not on this plane… it’ll find you on another. The severity of which it comes back around depends on your initial blow. I know it of my actions and now you do too.

When people mock me and say, “Sure-sure, white girl, you don’t see no color”. I look at them with a blank expression, wondering how they could say such a silly thing. Especially knowing I’m an artist. What kind of art would I create if I could not see color, let alone distinguish between tones? So yea… I see color, but I put more stock in how ya treat someone than I do in how much more or less pigment your skin’s got than mine. I put more stock in that thumping reverberating from your chest than I do in what kind of clothes or brand names you’re sportin’. Does your heart thump with such vigor that it motivates; haha, moves those around you? If so, I’d love to stand next to you for a time, we don’t even need to talk.

This idea came to mind when studying a speech by Malcolm X. I'd of liked to hear him speak in person, he had a way of relating things to one another that I admire; metaphors and analogies are as fun as they are challenging to create. I respect the concept of black nationalism, and I support it. If for no other reason than I am appalled to find myself looking at the date on my calendar versus the date of his speeches. Appalled to see no real positive change after the recent Black Lives Matter uprising, which was snuffed out too quickly like a fire in the wrong place. These nearly forgotten concepts in society biding their time in the back of our minds and on the tips of our tongues. How almost sixty years of racial, and sexual oppression continued even after we as a people made our demands known!? Oh, and the recent overturning of Roe vs. Wade?

I like men and that’s something they also don’t understand due to my being a lesbian. I like them but not only do I not want to, but I won’t have relations with them. And because I'm kind they still think… somehow, even after I expressively assure them it will never happen. They somehow convince themselves that the right dick is all any woman really needs. Therefore, I find most men hilarious. If only because somehow, they’ve got themselves convinced that they can control women, generally speaking. And somehow women are duped into thinking that a few self-defense classes, and locking those fine legs shut to those little dickheads for a few days wouldn't change those laws faster than they were changed when Covid hit the streets.

I met a group of Christians around Covid and on one of the first nights I joined the group, the topic rolled to the dangers of the vaccine and the mark of the beast, and other conspiracy theories floating around the campfire. The challenge I faced in my understanding, was how this doubt and fear could be coming from the same mouth that just finished praising Father God for blessings to reiterate his almighty reign over man. I stopped to ask the group during the conspiracy talk, “If your belief is so strong in God, then why fear other people so venomously, why shudder at the thought of something they create? Does your faith not tell you that God will counter any man-made move to the benefit of his creations? Or is your God only that wrathful one everyone wants to remind homosexuals about?"

We think this is a sex issue, a race issue, a religious issue, a political issue, a financial issue... We think what we are doing to each other, and allowing to be done to others is anything other than what it is, a human rights issue.

February 25, 2023 04:56

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Delbert Griffith
07:44 Feb 26, 2023

Loved this (sort of) stream-of-conscious story. It rambled, but with a purpose. I especially liked the "Therefore, I find most men hilarious" part. The religious hypocrisy part was good as well. Missing God's real message in lieu of focusing on their own paranoia and biases came through very well. Nice piece, Kathleen. This prompt was difficult and you did well.


Kathleen Hair
17:06 Feb 26, 2023

Have you heard what they say about art? It's in what the looker sees and less in what the artist creates. What is the "it" to which I refer? That's for you to decide. Thanks for the recognition. Best to ya.


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