me in black and white

(Author’s Note: This Facebook status/photo caption was posted March 3rd, 2014 after a life changing experience. Again, it got a lot of acclaim on FB, so I’m resharing it here.)

Picture, if you will, a young, black man on a personal journey in the midst of the chaos known as New Orleans during Mardi Gras. He ends up in an establishment on Bourbon Street where the music is just as lively as the gyrating bodies keeping up with its heavy bass and melodic beats. In the middle of this vivacious crowd stands two older black men, gay and deeply in love, dancing with each other passionately. The young black man was mesmerized by this striking scene, because he realized that not only were the two lovers happily enjoying themselves with no care in the world, but the crowd around them… The crowd didn’t care either.
The crowd did not care either.
There weren’t any stares of disgust. No forms of childish finger-pointing or giggling. Just harmonizing love. Peaceful, harmonizing love.
They did not care. THEY did not care
This wrecking ball of a revelation broke into something deeply personal for the young, black man. Something which was always aimed at that mental concrete wall within his soul, but was never successful of breaking through no matter the person or literature delivering the message.
“They” did not care. Nobody cares, Mark.
As the young, black man watched this beautiful black couple enjoy their life, their unconditional love serving as a beacon of hope, one of the lovers spotted him, possibly feeling the young, black man’s intense gaze upon him and his mate. The older, black gentleman matched his younger counterpart’s gaze of interest and awe, but instead of annoyance there was an instant connection between the two. Maybe it was the sense of wonder generating from the young black man who encouraged the older gentleman to hold his gaze with this arresting person. Or maybe it was the freshly purchased rainbow pride flag clutched proudly in the younger man’s hand, its bright and bold colors reflecting the revelatory awakening spirit generating their connection at that very moment. Whatever the case, that moment was purely magical on so many levels, tear-inducing almost.
Night Life Unlocked
The older gentleman, still dancing seductively with his lover, gradually made his way to the young black man holding the rainbow pride flag, surprisingly their gaze never faltered. As the couple made their way off the dance floor, the older gentleman walked towards the young, black man he’d just shared a temporary connection with and pounded fists with his new comrade, a knowing smile on his face.
The common gesture might seem menial to most people, but at that very instant that fist pound served as the final strike against the mental blockage with that young man’s mind. Life began to seep through the cracks of his steely resolve until it couldn’t withstand the restless pressure, finally giving in to the weight of a long-awaited breath that was impossible to hold any longer. The young, black man became fluid in his surroundings, the fear that had haunted him for most of the 30 yrs of his life evaporating into the hazy smoke and sultry environment of the New Orleans club’s atmosphere. The young, black man – excuse me, I – started to really LIVE.
That fist pound was like an electrical charge, a skeleton key, an inheritance of sorts to a life worth living. It released me. It demanded for me to live in the moment, and live for myself. Yes, that message was drilled into my head since before college, but it was always a mirage of sorts when it came time for me to put the sound advice into play. I never believed it. Not until last night. That’s when I really felt it. The brick to the face divulgence felt supernatural, as if that specific fixed moment in time was supposed to happen. As if that mesmerizing beautiful couple were Angels manifested to properly deliver the message that was constantly getting returned to Sender. My God… I’d never felt so emotionally free before in my entire life. And actually believed it.
It’s incredible how something so small and innocent can change someone’s life around in one given, thoughtless moment. I hope that I will do the same for someone else one day, but until then, I will continue loving me. I will continue building me. I will continue being me/M.E./your son/brother/cousin/best friend/lover/pal/
Falling in love with yourself is the greatest love affair of all. Everything else just comes naturally afterwards.
Me With My Pride Flag