I am not strong all the time. Sometimes I am so weak that I cannot see myself in the mirror. Sometimes there’s black, ubiquitous smoke in my soul and I can’t see me. I’m learning to see through all the emotional noise and the tall, thick incessant, tar thick raindrops. I’m learning to tread in unison with my heartbeat. It takes courage to listen to your own heartbeat when it carries such little currency in a society so hell bent on discrediting the worth of those who love in ways that are not celebrated by hetero-normative spirits. Spirits that celebrate youth and superficial beauty as though it bears the elixir to immortality. Where do I go now? Where do I find faces that know what it means to count every inhalation as though it were your last in a falsely free world? How can I be free knowing there is a soul on the other side of the mountain afraid of the sunrise because it means possible death in the hands of a homophobe? I am not free. I can’t be free. Not until my voice is heard. I matter. Every cell. Every hair follicle and misty breath. The world just doesn’t see it yet. It’s taking way much longer that it should. But I’m here. Say my name. Learn it. Look me in the eye and pronounce it. I might be chopped in pieces in a township bin, but I belong somewhere, with someone who will never wholly live because I never lived out my intrinsic worth. Look in the mirror. There I am.
Photo by Duy Vo Lap
Frank Malaba © 2016