Who am I? I have so many answers to that question. Then, at the same time I have no answers. One thing I do know is that most days, my contradictions speak louder than my affirmations. Some days I identify with my beliefs, and ideologies; other days, I’m a gangbanger from an Afro-Caribbean/Latin American hood—policed by militarized gang unit SWAT teams—in the so-called united states. Both these answers are true. Both of these people are me.
I’m not very good at writing about myself. The mirror is so hard to face when you are as confused as I am, confused as to where I fit in this movement, this world revolutionary struggle. I’m confused about the color of my skin, confused about culture and race, confused about how loud I should be, what I should write, how radical I am. These confusions make the mirror harder and harder to look at. But, I wanna try. I have been pushed and motivated too by a lot of comrades to write this reflection. I used to be so much better at writing, but this past year I lost that touch, that skill, that dear friend. I remember I used to love to write. It was my refuge. This past year, however, I had hundreds of pages, years’ worth of poems and ideas and notes stolen from me by the pigs—probably now attached to some computer file in a federal building somewhere.
Since this loss, my writing feels frantic. My pen hand anxious. I feel anxiety in each word, wanting to get it out: my thoughts and my ideas, my story. I’m fearful that when I finish this piece, the thought police will swoop in and add this to their collection—my collection, of me. So I apologize if you have ever loved my writings, and now feel like this is not me. Because it is me, years later, having served over a year in solitary confinement right now, with no end in sight.
After being placed on strip (that is when the pigs take all my clothes and property as a punishment), after losing a partner, after losing my mind a few times. After being sprayed with a few bottles of chemical agents. After losing comrades, after gaining and meeting comrades, after finding love again. After losing and changing so many of my philosophies, and gaining new perspectives. And even after wrapping a sheet around my throat. I’m going to try and write about all of this. It will probably be a series of blogs and essays and conversations. I’m even thinking that I will have to flush every word that I write down the toilet, every single day. I’m worried that I will no longer have this tomorrow. Will it even exist? Will it ever get transcribed? Will anyone ever know who I am? Does it even fucking matter?
This essay is about me—the contradictions I face. The things I am learning. This is the bloody savage in the mirror. This is not going to be a chronological account of my life, but a very scattered view. And hopefully by the end, you, I, we have a picture of who I am. But please don’t hold your breath, because we might be even more confused at the end of this piece than we were at the beginning. So walk with me.