An interesting thing happens when you start to realize you are not in this alone. That there are people, places and things that think like you and look at the world through your eyes.
I walk into a room, and sense the air. It is familiar, but different. There is sadness, heaviness, pain, laughter in the air. Heavy, dank, dark. I understand.
I look at you, you look back. We are different, but the same. Mirror-images of one another, look at back through the same eyes.
You ever meet someone and feel like you have known them, whether in this time or another, for quite some time? Kindred souls. Animals, lovers in another dimension. Frolicking in the wind. Or maybe enemies. Bitter enemies made incarnate to battle things out the end. In this dimension. The cycle continues.
What is the purpose and meaning of life, and are we really all alone? Depression does that – it separates you from the world and makes you think your angst is unique. But there is nothing new under the sun. We have all experienced pain. Some of us have been given the strength to sit up, others sit in it for a while. Who decides?
Back to the question of consciousness. Consciousness of self and others. For a while I didn’t want to write for all. I wanted to be as specific as possible, to touch only on those things that I knew most intimately, that I knew to be true in the very marrow of my being. When you touch the truth there are no arguments. You try to reason with me and I pretend to listen but you are dismissed. You know not of what you speak, so what’s the point in wasting breath?
And then I realized the foolishness of my folly. Only an egoist cleaves herself completely from the world, creating a self that is firm and impenetrable. I am the experience of my sisters and brothers. Not all of them, but some. When I write I am written through, by forces young and old, spirits of the dead whispering to be heard. The responsibility of carrying them on my back lies heavy on my shoulders, but doing their bidding reinforces to me the fact of my oneness with the world and exposes the lie of separation.
We are consciousness, looking at one another through depth of our spiritual abyss, trying to figure out if it is okay to dance, move, and be free in each other’s presence. Your secrets are safe with me. I, too, colour outside the lines. My life, splashes of discomfort in an effort to reach ultimate freedom. Transitions, changes, moves; jumping from a thing to another; continuously searching, only to turn back into myself.
And then there is political consciousness. Of course life is not so simple, sweetie pie… Deep in the recesses of the minds of the oppressed lies the consciousness of the oppressor. They make appearances every now in again, in the flicker of an eye, the look you give yourself in the mirror when you realize you’re not light enough, bright enough, white enough to gain full acceptance. Who said that? Certain forms of consciousness build us up. Others need to be excised.
T. M. G.
Accompanying Words: LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR, THE BLACK WOMAN ASKED, “MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO’S THE FINEST OF THEM ALL?” THE MIRROR SAYS, “SNOW WHITE, YOU BLACK BITCH, AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT!!!”.
Artist: Carrie Mae Weems