Questions from Melony Hill’s Writing for My Sanity Therapeutic Writing Workshop (@STMSBmore), held online.
• What is the one thing that people always misunderstand about you. What is reality?
I really find that depending on where people come into contact with me, they’ll misunderstand different things about me.
If they know me from Twitter, they’ll know me as this militant white guy who cares about dismantling white power structures, Black and Brown movements, criticizing capitalism, fighting homophobia and transphobia, feminism, and resisting fascism.
If they know me from Instagram, they’ll know me as a rather quiet artist and photographer who stands back, observes, and creates.
If they know me from protesting, I find that they don’t see as a creative or a romantic or a sexual person.
If they know me from designing with Zerflin, they don’t see my artwork.
But I find that with the Stronger Than My Struggles group, things are a lot more balanced. I find that my very closest friends are the ones who take the time to learn the different things about me and appreciate and put them all together.
I think that all this stemmed from when I was just on Facebook and Twitter. My Facebook was full of my family, the people from my community, and my former church. My politics had definitely shifted while I was in college, my faith grew deeper when I joined my new church, and my outlook on relationships and love expanded during and after my divorce. Twitter felt like more of a blank slate where I could be the person I was becoming.
My platform grew unexpectedly as I got more involved in the #FreddieGray and #BlackLivesMatter protests, and I felt this obligation to use the space to uplift other people and the people around me who didn’t get as much attention, but also to talk in a certain way. To perpetually be “on” about all these major protest issues. These protest issues and things we must fight against ARE important, but I’m also a whole person. I purposefully also make sure that I’m talking about other things that matter to me, from art, to writing, to design, to relationships, to religion.
The other part of it is that in previous relationships and friendships, I have been told that I was “too much”. And so I would diminish certain parts of myself just to be palatable. I’ve made significant gains on that, and it’s still a process.
I am working on being all of me, everywhere.
• Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of before the new year? What can you do to help yourself let go?
I’m not letting go of anything! I really feel like 2020 took so much from me, that I had to create and imagine things for myself to replace what was taken.
For example, 2020 was supposed to be the year that I began exploring the Caribbean. But the pandemic had other ideas.
At first I was really depressed about not being able to do all the things I planned, but then I shifted. I made it my mission to explore as many beaches in Maryland as I could, and built in meditation and workout routines that worked for me.
I’m not letting go of those things, they were really good for me.
• What’s the most important thing you have to get done or focus on in January?