No one taught me how to love myself. Not my family. Not my friends. No one but me. Like a dense block of clay, I had to learn how to use the hands and muscles of my mind to carve and mold the self-deprecating words/phrases that I’ve defended and built close bonds with into words soaked in the sun’s rays. Into words that wrap around me like finger vines around an old chimney and whisper into my ear to remind me of my worth. Into words that act as water mirrors to reflect back the beauty and complexity of my very own definition of Black masculinity.
This is the work that many gay Black men have to do. The work of unlearning the normalized falsehood of our reality. The arduous and strenuous job of reminding ourselves that who we are isn’t an anomaly but a gift wrapped in resilience and worth being protected. Our existence is a protest and a direct challenge to the seemingly homogenous pillars of Blackness and gayness. While we’re limited in the amount of power we hold, radical self-love is the hammer we need to make a crack in the structural systems built to dig into us and toxify our perceptions of self.
To all my gay Black men, we are enough. We are worthy of love.
We are deserving of happiness.