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Alternative Black Women: The Good, The Bad and The Bullshit

Once upon a time, somewhere in the concrete maze of Brooklyn New York, lived a little black girl with thick raven coils wrapped into pretty twists held by colorful bobos. She grew up in the streets of Bedstuy Brooklyn before the days of gentrification, in a family of religious zealots, retired black panther members and pro-black figure heads. Or so they seemed. On a daily basis that little black girl was overwhelmed with black media, "pro-black" rhetoric and was only allowed to consume what her black family considered acceptable black content. At every turn, this little black girl was being repressed and forced to perform her suppose blackness within the comforts of those around her. Any desire to venture outside the suffocating bubble of black culture was met with rage, rejection, and mockery. This became so prevalent, that she couldn't even desire men outside her tribe, let alone look at them. Least she be berated by men and women(women more so than men ironically) alike. Loneliness became her only companion. The little black girl, with dark lion's mane of hair crowning from her head, often escaped to her inner world. She found solace in books, movies, and music. Anything that would take her away from the rabid clutches of a community that felt a desperate need to repress, control and destroy the parts of her that made who she is. For years, she wallowed in loneliness. She wished to any higher power that a friend who would accept and engage her would come into her life. Just one.

One of her favorite movies as a child was Casper the Friendly Ghost, among other weird quirky horror themed films, shows and so on. One night she prayed to the false Christian god to send Casper to her, as her innocent child brain truly believed there was a Casper somewhere out there willing to be her friend. She'd sit out on the terrace of her Brooklyn apartment looking up at the moon hoping to see him fly down from the heavens and befriend her. She spent many nights fantasizing about going on adventures with the apparition and never returning to her urban landscape again. Instead, she only gazed upon empty night skies. She learned rather quickly, that there was something odd about her from early on and accepted this long before hormones ushered her into adolescence. She kept this to herself for a number of years and lived out her desires for something other than the bland existence of urban living through books and writing. Silently waiting and hoping for something more.

While other little kids bopped and danced to the latest hip hop track, she secretly banged her head to the deafening cries of the angsty and fed up. While other little girls dreamed of motherhood, or being 'fly' as they use to say, she fantasized about escaping to a world of magic and slaying dragons. While her family shoved the ways in which she was meant to present herself as a black woman down her throat, and attempted to groom her to be easily consumed by those who looked like her, she dreamed of being free of this. The suffocating repression of all that made her who she truly was only strengthen her loneliness and at some point in her childhood, she simply felt cut off from all who resembled her. Thus, the rebel was born.

As time went on that little black girl grew into a young lady. She found that she was drawn to oddities and the supernatural. Horror movies and books about fantastical worlds became her place of solace. She grew an affinity for the sounds of guttural screams and thrashing guitar riffs. Her mind would wander to those vast places that lied within her and she grew less and less interested in the people and things others expected her to be interested in. She couldn't help it, but those within her tribe could not accept her for who she truly was. For years, they shunned her. They told her she fabricated this persona to gain favor with those of the Euro tribe. When that accusation fell flat on its face they assumed her interests and personality was a result of being raised among white people. When that proved false, they accused her of adopting these traits and interest in order to attract white men and have biracial children, because why would a dark skin black girl want a child to look like her? (writing this is giving me a headache). Clearly this little black girl hated herself. What other reason could there be for such a 'white washed' black girl? When it was revealed this youngling had no interest in having children, those of her tribe drew blanks. They had exhausted every negative assumption about her. As a result she grew weary of those who looked like her. Skeptical and distrusting. So, she chose a loner's path. She welcomed the fact that in order to live in her complete truth she would have to walk her journey alone. Freedom, true freedom, came with the price of being ostracized and she accepted this with a highly held head. At some point that young lady either found herself on her own or befriending those who did not look like her. Only to be criticized for doing so by those who rejected and wanted nothing to do with her from the get go.

Now that young lady has grown into a self aware woman. One who never truly outgrew that sense of wonder and affinity for the occult, the strange and deranged. After years of strenuous inner work, she learned to accept herself without the permission of anyone. Be they of her tribe or not. She observed the dirty looks she'd received from others with melaninated skin, with a knowing but saddened smirk. The dirty looks that alluded to a disgust they held in their hearts for her, because in their world a black woman who looked like her cannot be anything other than the version of a black woman that exist in their walnut sized brain. Sure, it stung. That childhood wound of being isolated, singled out, ignored, mistreated, bullied and made a mockery of is still alive and well. However, she later understood them to be hallow and without an identity. Instead, all they had was an image, fabricated by stereotypes they themselves would complain about. Suddenly, the narrative would shift a full 180 degrees when they would see her befriend or the god's forbid date someone not of her tribe. Now suddenly, there were plenty of black people like her and she just didn't try hard enough to find them. If that were the case and there were plenty others like her, why look at her sideways at all?

It is safe to say, you all are full of shit...

But I digress.

So here we are, near thirty-two years later. I am noticing that the number of alternative people of color coming out and expressing themselves is growing in numbers, and I couldn't be happier. I see more and more black girls saying fuck it and doing whatever it is they want to do and being who ever they want to be with no apologies. I see myself as a pioneer of this movement. More and more black girls are owning who they are without the input of those who think they have the power and the right to dictate who we are and what our destiny should be. I see how uncomfortable we make a lot of you and I must say, the sadist in me enjoys it. Cause lemme tell you...

We don't owe you shit.

I know for a fact, many benefit from black women and girls remaining stagnant in the offensive stereotypes designed for us. Hell, a lot of black people are complacent in this and are deeply disturbed by any black woman or girl doing what they want to do. I have noticed that my existing as I am with no apologies triggers many other black people and the occasional non-black person and I do get a jolly out of it because I love when people show me who they are. It makes it easier to move accordingly when doing so. That aside, I do feel sad for that little girl inside me. My heart weeps for the times she begged and pleaded for anything remotely close to a friend or loved one who would give her the space and safety to be who she truly felt like she was on the inside. I wouldn't wish that loneliness on anyone, let alone a child. I adore my resilience no doubt, but I wouldn't for one second glorify that experience at all.

Now after all that diligent work I am noticing a bit of gaslighting. As previously stated, after all the negative accusations meant to assassinate my character is exhausted and I choose to remove myself, I am later told that I just didn't try hard enough to find other black folks like me. I am told there were plenty like me and I just didn't put in enough effort. If you all truly believed that there were so many black people like me then, as stated earlier in this blog, you would have never treated me the way you did from the start. I do not have to force my way into a space I was not welcomed in. I do not have to endure emotional abuse just to be invited to the cook out. You can kindly keep that. I can cook for myself and I have my own table thank you. Also, side note, I do find it interesting that black women who are "different" have to go through all of this hazing to be invited and accepted. But all a non-black person(especially if it's a non-black woman) needs to do is say "Black Lives Matter" and they're suddenly given a golden membership to all the cookouts that's happening this summer? In what realm of existence is that pro-black? We are expected to perform our blackness perfectly just to received breadcrumbs. Meanwhile anyone with a lighter skin tone can do the bare minimum and be seen as revolutionaries by the black collective? Make it make sense. In fact, nevermind, you can't make it make sense, because it simply doesn't.

I have also noticed that we are more followers than leaders. Not too long ago, other black folks would be bullied for liking anime and nerdy things of that nature. Now that it is possible that your homeboy down the street watches Dragon Ball Z religiously, and weeb culture has gain a large following among black and brown people alike, it's acceptable. I myself am not a fan of anime. My attraction to alternative sub-cultures has nothing to do with a preexisting interest in anime. This has put me at odds with other alternative people of color who at first glance appear to be my tribe. My interests simply derives from within. It is an intrinsic attraction to all things strange, dark and unknown. I did not choose this nor am I a product of internalizing a piece of media to create an identity. My identity has always been innate and I found it hard and next to impossible to find others who are truly like minded within my community.

But that's okay! With age I understood that I am peculiar and a bit strange. I understand that I don't move like most people, be they black, brown, white or otherwise. My aloof demeanor is seldom seen in my culture and it does trigger insecurity in those from my community. People can't control what they do not understand. As a black woman who is misunderstood on a frequent basis, I get the root of people's problem with me is that I cannot be controlled...

Sorry? Lol You're just going to have to get over it I guess.

I don't feel the need to belong anywhere, to be perfectly honest. Rejection has its own power and few know how to use it to their advantage. But those of us who mastered the art, understand that when the world rejects you, you no longer have to be of it. You are free to move as you wish. You are free to be who you want to be. Those who remain within the confines of a cultural prison they designed for themselves will never know the sheer joy of being detached in such a manner. While they're busy performing an image they feel is acceptable, I am simply walking in my truth. There's nothing more freeing than that.

Stay Ferall.

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