A one-lined poem
Walking away from my vehicle–appraised for well over the payoff amount–it was a no-brainer to leave it behind.
I am Tremaine. I am no one else.
I believe, as human beings, we can be almost anything outside of society’s perfect little boxes for us, but when we’ve ascertained who we actually are, this discovery can be lifesaving. I say this so you are aware, like many LGBTQ living and breathing individuals, I struggled with coming out and staying inside the closet. It wasn’t until three years ago, I suddenly felt safe saying to my family and friends who were not in the know, “I am bisexual.”
At age thirty-eight, this was my celebration. It was my tea-time, so to speak, and like it or not, I was ready to take my seat at the table just as I am, and nothing more. Coming home to me was a gift that kept me alive. It was a gift that handed me the opportunity to be a voice to and for others who have the same struggle.
I walked through the door and never looked back.
I am who I was created to be.
There isn’t a hair on my head that doesn’t define me. I have black, sandy red, and gray strands assembling themselves in order and streaking in just the way they are meant to do. I have laugh and frown lines and crow’s feet and extra weight settling around my middle, but I have grown to appreciate all these things.
They show I have lived. They display I also have more of that same living to do.
Before, when it was easier/safer to remain quiet about who I am, there was always a nagging, unsatisfied feeling. I felt both trapped and gutted at the same time. Trapped because I come from a long line of devout Christians on my father’s side. Gutted because there was a person inside me who was dying just a little each day and needed to be set free. Every single day, I had to connect with both sides and silence whichever one became louder than the other.
I assure you, this is no way to live.
What saved me after coming out was the love I continued to receive from my father (who is an Episcopalian elder/preacher, by the way), siblings, cousins, friends, and my mom. Many had already known without me uttering a word, especially my mom.
I hadn’t known, in her past, she was fighting battles on my behalf with her own family about their “image of me” regarding my sexuality. I hadn’t known she was practically saying to them, “My child’s sexuality is none of your business. If she’s happy, this is all that matters to me.” With a few expletives and hands thrown into the mix as well — because my mom has always been a person unafraid to physically get down if she has to.
I’m grateful for my tribe. They are the reason it has been easier to breathe being fully who I am. I cannot be anyone else. Not anymore.
Home is where a breath of fresh air is.
I have learned, on my journey, this body is my tower. If I keep it well-oiled, fueled, and maintained, it will continue to house me securely. I am home in this body. I am loved in this body. I am one with this body.
I recall the moment I first knew I was “different” from my playmates — I was eight years old. I knew what made little girls different from little boys regarding gender specificity, and I knew I liked both boys and girls. I knew I couldn’t choose. I also knew, in the eyes of the adults who raised me, I shouldn’t say anything about my discovery.
It had been frowned upon and preached about as the damning ways in which God could thwart me.
This confused me — if God created me and all things created by God are “good,” then why wasn’t I . . . good? Why would God oppose me? I was not the type of child to challenge my elders, so I snuck around to do the things I wanted to do and did a substantial amount of “sneaking” well into my early 30s.
Now, there is no need to sit the people I choose to entertain intimately or in a loving and consenting adult relationship on the sideline. I can play alongside them in the game of life. Coming home to my sexuality gave me the fresh air I should have been breathing decades ago.
When you ask me who I am, I will tell you.
The one thing I carry with me since I came out to my all-knowing mother is her phrase, “If anyone asks you if you’re bisexual, you better damn well tell them you are.” And I do. I stick my chest out a bit, breathe in a few puffs of air, and I say who I am — proudly.
Does it get any easier? Truthfully, yes. The fear is always there in the pit of my belly because being bisexual still has an air of taboo about it, but I don’t deny it. And I don’t change the subject anymore.
Being at home with one’s sexuality and comfortable in the skin I drag around is a place I have longed to be for years. It is the gift that saved me. I am thankful coming home to myself took place before my dying days.
There are so many of us who hold on to our “secrets” until the grave slips itself around our decaying bodies.
I am here. This is who I am. You won’t get anyone else.
It’s amazing how much of my brothers I see in their children. Joshua sent me the photo you see above of him and Sarai, and I instantly thought about how much my niece looks like my younger brother when he was a toddler. He was BAD. OMG! Joshua was such a handful. I am certain I had high blood pressure dealing with him while he was growing up. Lol. Thyrie looks so much like TJ when he was a baby. I think back to the days of him growing up and I get a little emotional. We’ve always been close. He’s the brother everyone says, “OMG, y’all look just alike” about, and I just nod and smile.
Their children are my energy. I push myself so that I’ll one day reconnect with all of them. I moved away from home when I was eighteen years old. Truth be told, I was running away from things I didn’t care for and wanted to be far away from, and I just kept running.
But receiving photos of the beautiful additions to my family’s bloodline and being so far away from them all gets to me sometimes. I am missing so much. I breathe in and dream of these little ones. I breathe out and ponder on their whereabouts and well-being.
When everything seems to be branding me with anger and pain, I think about them, and my energy is renewed.
Today, I am reflecting on the stories from my life that lend me peace or make me laugh or send good feelings through me. My mother’s only brother, and the youngest child on her father’s side, Andrew (who we call, “Uncle Red” and all others simply call, “Red”) is my favorite uncle. He was fourteen years old when I was born and from what I am told, extremely happy to be an uncle. I was his second niece, but I was the baby for a long time.
He likes to tell the story of him visiting my mom, father, and I one evening for dinner. I was probably two or three years old at the time. As we were eating, my uncle rehashes how I looked over to him, and announced, “Are you eating your food, Uncle Red?” And to this, he responded, “I am, baby.” What came out of my mouth next definitely indicates I had been around adults more so than children.
My uncle said I looked up at him, smiled, and rebutted, “That’s a big boy. You eat your food.” He said all he could do was laugh–not that fake, silly laugh, but a belly-full laugh, and for the rest of the meal, he had a huge simile on his face. He tells this story to his wife, to his children, to anyone who will listen, and I still love to hear it.
I believe it was the moment I knew I’d always be bonded with/connected closely to, my uncle.
If you’ve been reading my work for quite a while, then you have seen pictures, read poems, and know about Caison. I have a ton of stories that make me happy when it comes to this Munchkin Man, but my favorite happened about two months ago.
I had been waiting for Caison and Akua to come back home. I was sitting in their living room talking to Caison’s grandmother and watching television. Akua did not tell him I would be “popping up” to spend some time with him. Caison had just turned four years old, and I had his birthday gifts with me to give to him.
Akua recants the story so vividly and with a smile on her face each time as she tells me how excited Caison was to see my car parked in their driveway. The conversation went a little like this, Caison: “Oh! Mommy, is that Naine-Naine’s car?!” Akua: “Yes, baby. It is.” Caison: “Yay! Naine-Naine!!!”
The babies of my family call me “Maine-Maine” or “Tree” and Caison has a little trouble with the pronunciation of “M-words”, they often come out as words beginning with the letter “N”, instead. I think it’s the most adorable thing–his excitement by simply seeing my car, and knowing I had been there waiting to see him.
It makes my heart smile and reminds me how grateful I am to have the love of a young one wrapped up in me.
My kid sister and I communicate mostly via text message. I’ll call from time to time simply to hear her voice. I wrote a poem for a friend of mine a few days ago and I shared it with my sister to get her opinion. I actually said to her, “Read this and let me know if it’s garbage or not.”
She read it and said she found snippets of herself throughout the poem and she believed my friend would love it. Of course, being the big sister I am, I wanted to know which snippets of herself she spotted . . . My sister’s response, although simple, got a chuckle out of me. She said, “Oh, see now . . . you want the deets, sis!”
I laughed so hard and I don’t really know why. I could hear my sister saying this to me as if we were in the same room discussing the poem and its details, and I could see the look that would show up on her face. Lol. I simply said, “Of course, I want the details, kiddo!”
The simple things in life make me happy I am living. I am thankful for family and friends and sustenance and words and love and kindness and breathing.
I hope all of you will enjoy this day, should you choose to celebrate it. I will spend it knowing I am blessed and at any moment, this could change.
Peace and blessings.