Spending a lot of time reflecting these days, I've realized many things. It's been a mixed journey this past year, coming of age (yet again) in a darkening, chaotic world. My story is one thing, but the world I've reentered feels foreboding and not without good reason.
Images from the second half of last year, Ferguson, Cleveland, New York still haunt me. Senseless violence and murder from the unaccountable, flames, riot police and military gear under a season's greetings sign during the holiday season, marches in the snow and cold. Add to these this year's horrors, Baltimore, McKinney and Charleston. The rage and fear I felt, and still feel, is hard to articulate, but consuming nonetheless. I fear the quiet of night time, something that used to comfort me. I live in a tolerant, diverse neighbourhood, but it only takes one hateful individual to cause grave harm, even in Canada. Being black, being trans, being out: any or all could be used as reasons by a bigot on a rampage.
And there's more than that. The free spaciousness of our society is diminishing rapidly. Corporate culture is everywhere and feels like a noose tightening around our necks, inflicting both micro and macro aggressions, unleashing its malcontents in the form of gangs, racists, and "lone wolves" to scapegoat and attack at will. Maybe not today ...
Once, long ago as a bullied pre-teen, I suffered from what I now know was PTSD: nightmares and night terrors, stomach pains and vomiting, chest pains and coughing, anxiety. Growing past this, gaining independence, growing intellectually and creatively through college and university, moving out west (twenty years ago) gave me confidence. Coming out a few times since then, even more so. I had always felt that the world was moving forward as I was. But I wake up feeling that fear in the pit of my stomach that bullies past have returned with a vengeance on the world stage. I walk through the world, with autonomy, with agency, but for how long.