When I moved to New York I was still entangled with a boyfriend who was not moving to New York. We both knew how the inevitable scenario would play out but we decided to stay in-frame together for a little while longer. I suppose that bit of dishonesty was an honest effort to smooth our transition. It meant lots of phone calls and a handful of sweet visits with long goodbyes. It meant keeping half of my life from him (the parts that I knew he wouldn’t approve of, like making out with that dj at Maria’s party or dancing with J.T. on the table at the hiphop club.)
There was something false about us, about me—I wanted him to see me the way that he always had and not see me that way that I really was. We were uncomfortably straddling two lives, in two cities, with a different face in each place. The reward of our lie was equal to a pound of pain for a mere ounce of comfort. In our last communion, I was listening to a new CD that I’d purchased after hearing a single on Hot 107.5. He made fun of that song and told me to turn it off. “You don’t like crap like that,” he said. I laughed and remember telling him that I was tired of being inauthentic—that I was tired of faking it for him (or for anyone.) I couldn’t fake it anymore. Not the music, not the dancing or kissing, and not me. Our relationship was over.
Folks I grew up with always thought of me as authentic and honest and strong willed and I was all of those things, but I also looked to others for approval (just like every wallflower and jock and nerd and betty and rocker and pot-head loser—we are all the same.) I haven’t stopped looking to others to see what they think, but I have stopped letting that look change me.
After all this time, that moment, however small, was a moment that defined me. It was a moment of pure self and raw selfishness, a moment of inequity and fearlessness. I let go of someone good to become someone greater, someone more real. And in that becoming, I became less sorry and more myself. And shit, that song became my anthem for freedom and trusting myself.
I am not a closet fan of anything. I am an outright fan. I don’t have “guilty pleasures” just pleasures. I’m not ashamed that I like stupid tv shows (vampire diaries, dawson’s creek, nashville) and hot hip hop and r&b (missy elliott, rihanna, beyonce, ludacris, wakkaflokkaflame). This is just part of who I am. It is good to be me.