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Brown Love...

It's been a long time since I've written anything on this platform we call a "blog." There have been many moments that I have had thoughts, titles, and whispers that I have wanted to share. I kept hearing my friend Janice say "Did you write it down Shanz?" It's something she has always said to encourage me in my writing. But sometimes, we as humans, and I as a wounded one, get lost in the storm of emotions, stories, and reflections. I need quiet without the expectation of any more than the stillness I offer to myself in my process of healing. To be honest, I've been letting go of what I thought was love, you know, that soul-mate love. They always say that soul-mates teach you lessons, even though they may not be the partners you choose for a life time in this world.

Lately, I've been busy writing a bigger piece of work , my book. I've learned how to be home more and not move into my ingrained "flight or fight." I have spent years in all sorts of fear and it would support me in the thoughts that I was less than, "not enough," hence encouraging my need to put others before myself. I needed a place, a role that would give me a sense of belonging. This is where the soul-mate conversation begins. It's taken many fucked up dudes mirroring my own "troubled girl" self to finally get exhausted enough to let go of the bends.

There have been so many boys. Chino- In-between the sheets sharing stories with me about his Mexican heritage and how when he and his family stepped foot on this California soil, it was his own people who were racist against his family. It was "the blacks who showed me and my brother love. That's how we got into hip-hop, the real stuff, that good underground shit." On our first date, he took me to go see Zion I and The Grouch. We even exchanged cd's. I let him barrow my Warpaint album and he let me barrow one of his favorite rap cd's. I call him Chino. After I stop seeing a guy, I usually call them by the city where they reside. To me relationships are like cities and they each have their own traffic and noise.

I've gotten tired of holding...

I have always been the one who listened but some how my stories we too much for the reciprocal holing to occur.

Before Chino, there was Vegas and he was my first. When I write about him I express how I thought he was "safe." I never knew what safety really was because as a survivor of, not one or two but a few sexual assault's , I needed some kind of shelter. I felt powerless in my body. It seemed men always had access to it. Vegas was Nigerian and he and I were friends before we slept together. It was high school when we met and he was wearing a neon green lose button down shirt, as if he was The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. I experienced long drives by myself to see him in his town on the weekends to only fuck him and feel the coldest winter during and after. I would leave on Sunday. Once sex came into the picture, the talks were seldom. He told me, "I didn't know us being together met that we still needed to be friends." I was troubled by this comment and others that were similar. I wondered, what makes a relationship- a good one? The conversations remained about him: how he was an old soul, the family pressure to be "successful," the competition between he and his doctor to be sister and Berkeley bound brother, and his fantasies like me saying his name in Spanish as he fucked me. I remained quiet and a good listener, just like my father trained me to be. According to my father, I was too emotional, too in my head; I needed to shut up and listen more.

Before the last one, who was my favorite and a soul-mate, there was Etiwanda. We met at a coffee shop. He was a blast from the past. He was tall, lean, and my John Fucsiante come to life, even though he swore he looked like James Franco. He was a mistake from the beginning. I heard a voice ask me, "are we really going to do this again?" as he and I smoked out behind the Rite-Aide. We were in his car listening to one another's music on our iPhones. He introduced me to ODESZA and I introduced him to POLIÇA. I was with him for my adolescent within. In high school I wasn't popular. I was the Afro-latina, the" new girl" who listened to The Smiths, The Cure, and Radiohead just to name a few. I wore chucks, nameless t-shirts, and knitted satchels. In L.A, where I was from, it was normal but in the white suburb of Rancho Cucamonga, where I could count the shades of brown people on my hand, I was an Amelie. So, when I was with Etiwanda, I felt like we were in high school and he was the boyfriend I dreamed of and it was "Friday I'm in love" but for real this time. Little by little, we shared things about each other with one another. He told me about his years in the military. "I joined the Marines because I didn't know what else to do and I wanted to travel and see the world. I needed to get out of this town and the Marines was my ticket out. Too bad I didn't know what we were fighting for, we just were fighting and drinking." He also told me about his four year old daughter he rarely saw, his narcissistic mother, and his true love that he still couldn't seem to escape, no matter the distance. His mother was white and his father, who he only met a handful of times, was Mexican. At the end, he decided to leave to San Francisco and join a Buddhist Temple or something. I helped him write his statement for his application. He wanted to discover himself he told me. But, I remember what that was like and he reminded me of myself in my early twenties-he was escaping for sure. I was happy to see him go, I couldn't keep up with all the girls he had on the side. Besides, we never said we were exclusive any ways, I just acted as if we were; it's the cancer in me.

Instead of asking: "How many licks it takes to reach the center of a lollipop?"

I ask: How many "hits" until I reach the center of the trauma?

My favorite, the Iguana town amor, mi Venezuelano. We met in a Latin-American Globalization class. It was my last semester of college. Behind the cloud of cigarettes, I spotted his baseball cap in the distance. I watched him take a puff as I walked in his direction. Switching lanes, my hips caught his attention and our eyes met. Within him I recognized my home country of Cuba y Haiti. He understood my brown self. The arroz con pollo y frijoles negro, cafe con leche after sunday mass, platano dulce for dessert brown girl. Not the expected brown of me representing the hip-hop nation, "a round away girl sucking on a lolly pop," maybe some Rosco's Chicken & Waffles girl, everyone thought I represented. I say this because I've gotten tired of holding a stereotype for the cities , in which I grew up in, and it's not just white people who prescribe racist stories, it's many of our brown communities. Venezuela, saw me, he knew I was a salsa dancing niña. I thought my wish had come true. I thought he was Gilberto Santa Rosa’s cancion “Perspectivo,” the one I played in search of "real love", come true. He shared with me of how in "Venezuela they export women, drugs, and oil.” I heard him, I understood his story- the internal conflict. Cuba is still a red light district, where Mulatas like myself are sought after and men from all over pay top dollars to sleep with them, us, me. He listened to me as I shared my wounds over my parents divorce, the struggle in being brown in our home countries and now, the "free" U.S. With all the heavy and harm we helped each other to express and release, I felt my heart on fire for the first time.There was an opening. I felt a passion I never felt before. When he embraced me, our bodies were so hot, that like a hand to a hot plate he removed his touch quickly. It was safe to discuss these things in the classroom and in the courtyard, where he walked me through everyday after our class but we could never walk the street in this love. I knew it, our love was dangerous, it was ... brown love.

To be continued....

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