Monday, February 8, 2016

On not being organizer

So this is my truth. 

The biggest gift BOLD and this time of rest, reflection and reading has given me is the space to discern what I am not. There was a time when it was more important for me to declare what I was. It was as if saying what I was at all times helped me feel and embrace it that much more. (Especially when  I was unsure of myself) This year I offer my reflections on what I am not, because shedding labels that once defined us is important to us in this journey of growth and becoming. 

While I respect and value the craft of organizing I can not say that my own role in movement is one of organizer. I love and support those who are called to that work and those who do it out of necessity because their very being is called to and inclined to it. There are people who eat, sleep and breathe it and while that was once who I am, I am taking a different shape. There was something for me so calculated in my being. I have realized I need to be a little more free with myself and the world to be happy. Plus I have spent much of my life controlled, controlling, deliberate and intentional and freedom in my next life looks like being careless with my love and words. I need that freedom of movement in life and in my work and I am not sure how to get what I need from life by doing this work in its current form. 

For me, the work is beginning to be unrecognizable. Its blending and becoming some advocacy and activism hybrid that does not make sense to me all the way. (sorry, my opinion) The thing about organizing I loved was the politics of it all. The way you could work with those who hold conflicting viewpoints.  The clarity of the ask that has an impact on peoples lives and moved us closer to a different version of the world. There was something about claiming power and building it and talking about it with people that I loved that was amazing. My benchmark was I need to be able to explain this to my brother and cousins and if my grandma don't get free from my work, than what does it mean. That may be stupid to some people but those people held me accountable and made me who I am. 

This is not to critique the current work that is happening in DC and around the country, it is to say I don't see myself, my world view, the way I manage conflict reflected in it. I take accountability for that and also ask the question: if we are not building power what are we doing? We cant disagree without disregarding each others humanity, what do we gain? Lastly if our claim to fame is the number of organizations we bash, or how much mainstream media we do or how may likes on a post, than we reduce movement to moments and burst of energy sustained only by mass consumption and the energy of a few instead of the collective, cumulative and quiet work of many. 

I look forward to discovering who I am in movement. After many months of thought and prayer and distance I can say "I am not an organizer". 

I am a writer. a poet. a lover. a warrior. a prayer. a reader. a talker. relational by default. creative. curious. I'm a lot. Finally getting okay with being a lot. 

As someone who has organized in a neighborhood, who has been stood up for more one to ones than she can count, someone who has met with people in apartment living rooms and church basements, stood on street corners I have realized that lack of relationship is not the only problem. My assessment is it is the lack of clarity about what freedom looks like that keeps us bound and its our unwillingness to see each other's vision of freedom as valid. It is not only Nicole's vision that matters the most and the more I impose one way of being free the more I mirror those oppressive forces that discourage our dreams and visions for ourselves. Part of freedom is self-determination and if freedom is joy for you and revolution for you,  if freedom is anarchy or maroon space, its part of loving you believing in the power of YOUR dreams. Not my own for you. 

In one breathe we say those most impacted carry the answer and then don’t slow down long enough to listen. We talk past each other rushing to regonition  and praise by calling each other out on our weaknesses. We forget to be gentle and tender with one another and we forget that our politics was formed over time by mentorship, scholarship and experience and yet we want other people to just arrive already formed, already awoke, already ready to die for OUR Cause. We are unwilling to admit our own privilege because we have reduced blackness to a monolithic experience and thus we say things like “we are the community” but fail to realize our own class and educational privilege. We forget in between our panels and events, to love the reflection of ourselves we see in each other. 

All of this shyt has limitations. But whats not negotiable is our impact. At some point, we have to think about who we are each accountable to. At times the choice is our own body. I want to be accountable to the different version of Myself. The whole version. The playful version. The less cynical version. The honest version. If the only way to "do the work" is to be an organizer than our vision is limited.  

The good think about not being something, it opens up space to be something else.

And I love what I am becoming. 

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