I’m at the church I actually grew up in. Possibly the Blackest place in my world. And it makes sense why the churches I was forced into felt so foreign and not for me.
They feel too sterile. That’s what it is. The expressive Black church is much more organic. If we need to stop and have a moment, we’re going to stop. We are going to actively invite the presence of God and bask in it. And how ever that manifests is how it manifests. How ever that sounds or looks like is going to be what it is. The Black church doesn’t follow the strict model of European churches. Some people have malicious intentions and will try to change the nature of it the very core of it can never be altered. THAT is what we get from church. If you’re going to make me go to church, don’t make me sit in something foreign because YOU want to go against your history and things that have been in your blood for thousands of years. We are in a point of time where assimilation isn’t the goal anymore. I don’t care what y’all do over there because I’m doing my thing over here. And some people try so hard to get away from our roots because somebody made them feel excluded once. You let somebody else force you out of what has been yours since the beginning. I’m throughly unconcerned with fitting into a particular box, but I know which boxes weren’t made for me. And white culture is that box. I feel most at home in spaces where existing is free. We aren’t perfect, my family isn’t perfect, but I strive to be around the people who actively try to make that space available and learn more to do so. I don’t put myself around people who make me feel like an outsider in my own home spaces. Which is why I don’t like being around certain people because they would do it regularly. They don’t give me the space to freely exist as I am. So I have zero reason to be about them. Period. I’m old enough to say “I don’t want to be around this person and you can’t make me be around them. Obviously, I’m not going to create the space for someone to engage in unhealthy and destructive behaviors. But I will try to make the space to explore why that is an outlet they chose and why they feel stuck in it. THAT is the important thing. And if you have zero interest in holding that space, make it known. Because I’d rather you say “I’m not going to hold this space for you” than make me feel like I’m unlovable and unwanted under the guise of “I love you except for that thing you do, I don’t like it.” Keep it. I’m not risking my internal health for anyone. If I know you won’t hold that space for me, I’m fairly certain you don’t hold it for yourself and that clouds your judgment of me. If you knew what it was like for someone to reject that comfort and safety for your benefit, you wouldn’t happily do it to someone else. That’s how we end up with toxic families. That’s how we end up with the aunt or uncle no one has heard from in years except for one family member. That is how parents end up with kids who want nothing to do with them. Get comfortable with yourself before you try to dictate to others. You might learn something. And how ever you need to do that is what you need to do. If you need to meditate, dive into the Bible, go sit in a cabin for a few months, what ever needs to happen.
That is the link I’ve been missing. There isn’t a secret hack to my Akashic records or communicating with my ancestors or finding my life path or gifts. It’s right here, it’s been here, and it never left. Just need cut through the noise, the static, the voices that aren’t mine. And there are infinite ways to do that. What ever physical response happens to the mental and spiritual stimulation needs to be felt freely. I never saw my mother physically express anything outside of a hug and on the rare occasions I saw my dad cry, it was either Watchnight service or my grandma’s funeral. We didn’t dance, sing, barely cried, or those basic things we see children do. I learned by association to calm down and stay reserved which is why I do yoga. I just understood why it is a spiritual practice a few days ago. I had to get it of my own head and trust that my body knew what to do better than my brain did. I had to shift my brain from being the controlling force into being a coaching force. That isn’t something I was ever taught to do. The reason why praise and worship in church seemed so foreign to me is because I never saw it with people I knew and trusted. My grandmother was an usher, my dad was a deacon and taught Children’s Church, my mom sat quietly in the back. I never saw them “dance out of their clothes” and now I’m realizing that is why my dad would be disappointed in me and I never understood why until now. Don’t get me wrong, my parents never said “don’t make noise, don’t dance, don’t sing.” But as an only child, I had a handful of influences while learning how to be a person. I copied what I saw and what I didn’t see. I changed writing with my left hand to my right hand because I saw my mom and grandma do it. And you can’t force someone into a relationship with god independent of going to somebody’s church house. There has to be an internal shift for that to happen. There has to be a level of tapping in that needs to occur. You can teach and tell somebody something all day long but nothing will happen until it clicks. And if they’re like me, they can master the performance before understanding the cause. It has resonate. All you can do is create the space for that to happen. If you can’t say “I’m creating the space for you to explore this idea, no one will judge you and I’ll protect you” then you don’t get to dictate anybody’s life. The physical manifestation might look different from what you’re used to. They might have to try some things. You won’t know what will resonate before them because it isn’t your journey or place to do so. You can’t rush the process. It’s not your process to determine, but depending on your role, it’s your responsibility to provide the tools, the space and the protection. As a parent, as a disciple, as a teacher, as a guardian, as a grandparent, as a manager, etc. it is your job to make that space. If you don’t make that space, you don’t get to judge the consequences or resentment.
We will get into you “educated Negroes” separating yourselves from your culture another day because some of y’all irk my LAST NERVE WITH THAT!!!! If going to a “multicultural” church resonates, then go right ahead. But if you’re forcing yourself into that box for reasons you won’t figure out for yourself, I don’t want to hear a single whisper of a portion of a syllable about my crystals and tarot cards because I’m literally just over here minding my own business.
***This is your random reminder that following a tradition without being able to explain the reason is okay until you become upset that someone won’t follow it due to a lack of an explanation.***