Hey Speakers! The In Search of My Own Gardens Podcast is HERE! Check out episode one, and tune in next Friday at 5pm for episode two! Make sure to follow!
Damali Speaks Xx
Hey Speakers! The In Search of My Own Gardens Podcast is HERE! Check out episode one, and tune in next Friday at 5pm for episode two! Make sure to follow!
Damali Speaks Xx
“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it” – Zora Neal Hurston
I don’t really remember the moment that I knew I was queer. I just know that I knew. I had a crush on Josh* and Helen* and I liked them both equally. I wanted to be close to both of them always, hold them always, play “Duck Duck Goose” during recess and all the other cute things that children desire to do with crushes. I remember being asked if I had a crush on Josh* and never being asked if I had a crush on Helen*. Queerness in whatever form it came in seemed to be something that was silently made fun of and only okay if you did it on the terms of straight people, if you adopted their ways, if you picked a side of either masculine or feminine presentation. I remember those silent and unspoken rules vividly.
I’ve always dressed weirdly. Kudos to those who find true expression. I love the feel of clothing, just as I love the feel of removing it. Clothing is expression to me. I’ve always loved the idea of androgyny and the reality scared me. I’m not shaped like a boy and most of the views of androgynous people that I see are with those who have a very “boy-like” shape. But my androgyny exists outside of those boundaries. I love experimenting with what my breasts do in mens clothes, and just how I can both accentuate and disguise my hips and ass in various wears. MY androgyny is based in inclusion and experimentation. Just how many new ways can I find to fuck up the binary?
The other day, I sat with a family member who asked me, “Why can’t you be Queer quietly? Why do you have to broadcast it?” In the moment, I rationalized the sting and said something rehearsed, but I also thought to myself about why I do “broadcast” my Queer, my Polyamory, my Self. Well, because that’s who I am. It is just as much a part of me as is my sex, my skin complexion, my eye color. Who I love, how I love is important because love is what makes the foundation for a world worth living in. Frankly, I’m out, because I can be. I love myself enough to be all of me, whether that’s privately or publicly.
With the invention of internet and apps, we have much less privacy now than we did 10 years ago. What’s your personal threshold? How often do you broadcast your life and what do you choose to keep to self? It’s a constant wondering for myself. I don’t like to put out all my business but I do choose to display some of it. Is there a right and wrong in that? Does it matter?
I’ve always been a creator. I would create clothing/crafts/songs/poems/plays/ etc. as a child and it all seemed to carry over into adulthood. I occupy space in this world as an actor/dancer/singer/director/designer/singer/songwriter/advocate/activist/writer/etc. I am the slash in a world where the slash is confusing. But isn’t that the fun of the all? How do we manage? How do we fall? How do we choose to fly? Confession: I have not gone a single audition in months. I have no desire to. There’s nothing that grabs my heart and truly makes me want to be a part of it. I am not just an actor. I’m an artist. I want to create space where there is no space. I remember being in school and being taught how to manage and maneuver auditions because it would be “so much of life as an artist” and I wanted to vomit. If Nina Simone had spent all her time auditioning, would she have written Mississippi Goddamn? Maybe, maybe not. Let me make this clear, I am not judging those who choose to audition frequently. I’m simply stating that for me, it’s not the way.
Currently, I’ve done a lot. I released an album, finished a play, started on two projects, got asked to do a few more with some wonderfully talented artists and am simply living, teaching and learning. I’m content with the world and growth that I see from my life. I can see a pattern, a place, a space to occupy. As a millennial, I feel that I have to make the space. I not only don’t want to, I am not willing to endorse the system that doesn’t work. If it’s broken, don’t hop on it and try to ride. I’m not here to apologize, to be nice, to participate in so far as abiding by rules that are clearly messed up. Be bold in seeking your truth. Be brash. Be loud. Make mistakes. Make corrections. Find new ways to love both yourself and others. I’m here to re-frame, to burst through, to hold space, make space and take space.
To all my wonderful fellow beings,
I see you. I support you. I live you.
Damali Speaks Xx
Hey Speakerz! Yet another Monday brings with it another post and another look into topics and life lessons. Today’s topic came about mostly because of the 1991 film, Daughters of the Dust written, produced and directed by Julie Dash as well as so many other experiences. So often this week, I found myself questioning the reality in connection, a moment in time. I also found myself breathing into nature and realizing just how important earth and sea are to my very existence.
Just how many ways are there to connect with other human beings? I found myself asking this question so often and this week received SO many answers. I find that in this society where “connection” is often equated to sex in advertising and everyday life, I’m bored. I want more. So I find myself deep in conversations or just eye gazing, creating new work of art and lots of touch with consent and while this may seem strange, it says just as much but requires a different sensitivity. How often do we actually take the time to truly see another human being? I don’t mean just the beautiful parts, I mean the whole person, warts and all.
Connecting on a deeper level is more than just superficial wonderings and ideals. I often think that people fall deeply in love with the idea of a person and not the actual person. We are so bombarded with ideals of who people are, and so often, I watch people place expectations on others that are of those ideals and then are sorely hurt when that person doesn’t live up to what they wanted them to desperately be. But why did we need to make ideals in the first place? Why weren’t we allowed to see everyone as they are from the beginning? Where did these expecations come from in the first place and why were they seemingly necessary?
How is it possible to not second guess? When you’ve found a deep connection, how can we move aside our ego and simply be so present and not over-think and fill the future moments with wonderings of self and season? How much does self love play a part in staying present? Have you ever stared deeply into someone’s eyes and seen their deepest soul in all of its wholeness and somehow there you also see yourself? As scary as it is, it’s invigorating and incredibly awakening. I’ve always loved looking in someones’ eyes, eye gazing as it’s called, but recently I had an experience that left me unsettled in many ways. It left me deconstructing my own sense of self and maybe that’s selfish but maybe it’s also the self love journey in itself.
I’ve always had this deep fear of dark blue water. Strange, considering that I learned to swim at a very early age and would’ve lived in pools and ocean water if my mother had let me, but nonetheless true. I’ve always had this reality or inner knowing that there would come a day when I would walk into the ocean and never walk out. In the film “Daughters of the Dust” by Julie Dash, the setting is the early 1900s on the South Carolina gullah coast of Igbo’s Landing, the site of a time in history when, enslaved Igbo people arrived to that very island and rather than be enslaved, they turned and walked chained into the ocean in mass suicide. I don’t know if maybe that’s me remembering a past life or just an inner knowing of my own, but that story has always lived in my body.
This week, I spent a good amount of time in the ocean. I live about a 20 minute walk from the beach, and the water has always been home to me. But also, parks and greenery. I feel the difference in my sense of self when I surround myself with the world of nature. Although I can appreciate the beauty in social interactions, how often is it that I need the balance of personage and nature dwelling, solitude and aloneness? Most recently, I’ve been called to collect crystals and stones. They all require some sort of charging to cleanse and then incorporate my own personal vibration. Some I’ve cleansed in the ocean with me, some I’ve put lavender oil on and cleansed in the grass to soak up some sun. All of it, goes back to grounding and restoration of that sense of self that I so treasure.
To treasure, sweetness, and more realization,
Damali Speaks Xx
Hey Speakerz! So this week, I was surrounded indirectly with a lot of death. I personally am not as much scared of death as intrigued by it. When I scrolled through the news, there was so much of what seemed to be death and despair, but what I was most drawn to was the fact of human frailty. Today’s topic is on the human existence, death and rebirth.
From the time human beings are born, we’re forced to say both hello and goodbye to so many things in our lives. We say hello to our immediate family members when we’re born and then goodbye when they pass on. We say hello to our friends and as we grow and change, sometimes we leave them behind and move forward and new people come into our lives and stay or go. Every day, we wake up and say hello to a new day and the new possibilities that it brings in its wake. You’d think that we would’ve perfected the art of death and rebirth already. But maybe the question is, how does humanity embrace death and rebirth instead of perfecting it?
We live in a world that strives for perfection, yet human beings are undeniably flawed and that’s what’s so beautiful about us. We make mistakes. We breathe, we reason, we find meaning in each season. Yes, I know, I rhymed purposefully. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with striving for the best that there is. That’s realistic. It leads me to question how it is that we set goals and then set out to achieve them. How is being intentional with all that you do important in creating balance?
I always set “impossible goals” for myself. This summers’ impossible goal is a short film and believe it or not, it’s actually unfolding, mostly through sheer will and determination. My point is that what seems to be an “impossible goal” can actually be very possible. It’s the challenge that matters. The striving toward and not the completion of a job perfectly done. Why is it that we strive toward the end result? It isn’t just the “hello” and “goodbye” that matter as much as the life in between.
With the end of friendships and relationships, come lessons. When people walk out of my life, it’s generally through no ones’ fault, but just that it’s time to move on. It’s the journey that matters more than anything. When I watch a film, I don’t want to watch just the begging and the end, I want to see the arch.
I went to Barnes & Nobles the other day and saw so many books on getting through missing a person. I thought it was strange and so I set about the dig for what it all meant. Then, I sat down to speak with a friend and they talked about how hard it is to end things or to let someone go. Does it all come back to self worth? Do I have to love myself enough to choose me every time? How much growth is in each goodbye? Literal death forces us to let go and begin a grieving process, but what about the walk away? How do we handle each goodbye no matter how or when with grace and acceptance?
I never did resonate with “Goodbye” but instead leaned toward “Farewell”, the idea that though our journey together ends here, I hope that on your journey as it continues, you fare well with home in yourself, completeness, and a self worthy of all that you are.
Farewell until next time,
Damali Speaks Xx
Hey Speakerz! Happy Monday! As my first day off in a long time, I’ve committed to writing this from the joyous comfort of my bed. Today’s topic is one of spirit and yes I may get very third eye open, next level plane spoken. I owe the title of this post to a theater exercise introduced to me by my tribe of the moment. If you’re reading this, yes I mean you. The Topic of the day is Soulwork and how we engage with our spiritual experience in our hueman bodies.
I remember being a child and feeling the confusion of ancient and youthful. I was always finding ways to communicate with a deeper sense of self. I would suck on crystals, spend all day digging in the earth, play with birds, and splash in water while at the same time find moments of extreme stillness and quiet and at other times become a regular 5 year old who wanted to run and play after her older brothers. Always a contradiction, no one really knew what to do with me. I’ve learned in my growth that when human beings are confused, we seek out ways to make sense of what doesn’t make sense. We box things. We label. We “under” stand. Why not let something just be what it is in all its contradictory confusion? Is there a way to “under”, “inner”, and “over” stand and then simply just embrace the moment for what it is?
What is it to be different? What is it to not “belong” and instead of shy away from that, embrace it? In this, I’ve found “soulwork”. Soulwork for me is the act of balance in working on mind, body and spirit. All of these culminate in the creation of a soul. I’ve talked before about my theories on soul and while I do believe that soul can’t be boxed and just is, I also believe that there are ways to truly know, love and explore what my own personal soul is. I will be exploring from now until the day my soul leaves this plane of existence and goes beyond, so why not embrace the ride. I always notice that when I’m moving with my soul and flowing with life, just how blessed and engaged I am and when I move against, just how congested and sickly my life becomes. So maybe the question is, how do we let flow?
Self love routines and creation with exploration can all lead to a healthy amount of soulwork. But what really is “Soulwork”? How can we listen to Mother Earth? How do we cultivate true and real love within ourselves before engaging in anything else? What is the work that must be done to truly see both light and dark, whole and fragmented, deep and shallow in our own existence?
Most recently, I sat with someone that I consider a soul-mate and anchor. They talked about how they’d seen things, their passion and their hopes and within them, I saw my own soul staring back at me. I wanted to listen to them talk forever. I got home that night and cried, because I know my own soul. This knowing allowed me to recognize and love the separation and collision of atoms that brought us to that moment. That’s connection. That is soul work. Doing the work that is required of your own soul. I’ve written about this before, but when I say “soul-mate”, I mean that there are people in my life that I consider mates of my soul. They are maybe people that my soul has lived with before in other lives or maybe just on the same vibrational frequency. Whatever it is, there is something so familiar about them and we always exist in peace and learning together for however long we have.
Most recently, I had an eye-opening conversation with a part of my heart. I work a lot with a belief in chakras, alignment, blockages, etc. Having a steady aura and energy is very important to me. I work with crystals, I have a balanced diet, I do lots of yoga and am focusing on how to turn my love for theater, music and teaching into a business. It takes a lot of work and time and yes some money, but everything is unfolding as it’s supposed to. I realize that I walk through the world with my third eye and crown chakras first and foremost. The way that I engage begins from the top and works downward. With all of the barrage of information and advertisements, most people in America in particular, operate with huge blockages. We are such a sexually explicit and yet repressed society and so many people think with those parts of themselves first and foremost and yet lose sight of the magic of what energy can really do. How do we cleanse so that we awake? What exactly is it to be woke? Is it balance?
How then, do we find the balance of awake, escape, cultivate and expose?
Damali Speaks Xx
Hey Speakerz! This topic came about one late sober night as I sat by myself, romancing my soul and I thought it would be cool to elaborate on with y’all! Today’s topic is on romance, and the emergence of “old” ways and how they can play a part in self care and self love.
When I was little my mom would always say that I should learn how to play by myself. Let’s just say I learned the lesson too well and now I’m a lot bit introverted. I appreciate the outside world and its inhabitants, I just love my own solitary space so very much that I have a hard time giving it up on odd days and maybe even too. The more I speak to elders in my life, the more they talk about how important it is to have a “self care routine”. This routine is all about getting deep into your own soul and while it is in fact work, it can also be a soothing, cleansing release from the everyday conditioning of the world.
I’ve always been sensual. Aware of all the senses and wanting to use and explore each one. This lead to being a serious romantic. For a while, it was a secret. I hid it under lock and key. It seemed that in the world I lived in being romantic and or sensual needed a monogamous relationship and without that, there was no place for my sensuality. I don’t mean to say that sensuality and romance are inherently mutually inclusive. They can be, but don’t have to be.
I’ve learned in the years of adulthood, just how to be romantic with myself. Usually, when I get home after a long day, I light some sage and incense followed by candles and of course string lights. After the ambiance is set, I pull out jazz music because my soul loves jazz in the best of ways. Most nights, I’ll make my own tea from herbs that I pick up here and there with almond milk and agave and just sit and revel in what I’ve created. (If anyone wants a recipe for teas, hollar at me!) It may seem like a little old lady and I don’t mind. It gives my soul completion. So what do you do? What’s your self care routine? Does self care come instinctively?
I always used to ask myself the question that if I don’t want to romance and fall in love with myself, why or how would I be able to do the same for someone else. While I love being able to romance other people that I have in my life, I always appreciate being able to do it for myself first and foremost. Onto the emergence of old ways. I know that myself and a lot of friends tend to make fun of each other for being “old”. Most of my friends have old souls and I like to think that it’s because vibration attracts vibration. In a society that values youth so very heavily, how does that make for being able to embrace the sensual solitary act of curling up with a book or coffee or even just staring out the window at the sky? Does it at the core have anything at all to do with age? Maybe we put too much on it. I have aunts and uncles who are older and although married, still value their alone time, their “self care routines”.
In romantic routine, is there something to be said for the old? I’m a bit of a purist. Although a staunch minimalist, I have an old cassette player and cassettes, vinyl, old clothes of my grandmothers and mothers, etc. I appreciate the old things that seem to carry so much history with them. It seems that in America, societally there’s an obsession with certain time periods and although I love what those time periods have to teach me, I’m not drawn to them for the purposes of re-living. I’m drawn for the purposes of remembrance and self exploration. I love jazz from the 40s because it pulls on my heart in a certain way, but I also love jazz from 2016. How do we establish balance between the old and the new?
Self care doesn’t have to involve romance. Your self care is your self care. What’s important is that you do take care of yourself. Develop your routine. Romance yourself before anyone else.
Damali Speaks Xx
Hey Speakerz! This week was an eye-opening one, full of liberation and the twenties. I’m back to speaking on one of my absolute favorite topics, sex and sexuality! Discovering myself as a sexual being is something that I feel is so important, especially because black women’s sexual autonomy is constantly policed. While this is true, I’ve found that taking the time to be in my own body and space and knowing who I am is paramount to knowing what it is that I want in a sexual partner. So, today’s topic is on Womanhood, exploring sex in a healthy way and what is a need, followed by a want as well as repression and release concerning sexual ideals.
With almost 8 months of celibacy under my belt, I began to feel as though I either might not ever want sex again or that I would die if I didn’t have sex soon. So began the tug of war. What is “sexual liberation” and how do we, meaning queer/straight millenial poc deal with our own needs and desires? From what I’ve gathered, being sexually liberated means having the innerstanding of the inner workings of one’s desire as well as the discipline and vocal wherewithal to bring about means of expression for that sexual experience whatever that may be.
I struggled for a while with this explanation. I’m a queer, polyamorous, old soul having millenial who doesn’t adhere to respectability politics and is so unapologetic that I most often don’t actually care to deal with others projections of low vibrational bull shit. So, sexual liberation is a given right? WRONG. I super recently broke my 8 months of celibacy with someone with a penis who identifies as a straight, monogamous man and it took a while for me to openly ask for that experience, mostly because understanding my sexual liberation is also understanding the energy transfer that comes with sexual expression particularly with intercourse. The gender norms and politics don’t have to be adhered to, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t present and how, then do we move forward? How do we engage past the sexism, hetero-patriarchy and ego to a place of real and honest connection that brings us to liberation?
How often do I have sex because I genuinely want to?
How often to I feel pressured to perform?
How often do I think about connecting and not dis-connecting in an effort not to feel because feeling too much is scary/overwhelming?
How often do I feel safe enough to connect?
All of these things lead to blockages or breakthroughs in our ability to truly experience liberation concerning sex. The thing is that everyone should be able to experience what it is to not be judged for being a sexual being. Many people have sex. Many people don’t. It’s okay to express. Being closed off about it only leads to sexual repression. I always wanted to talk in depth and length about sex but would always be stopped by the older people around me. There is so much unlearning that has to take place surrounding sex and desire.
Moving onward to needs and wants. Throughout the exploration of my own sexual liberation, I came across a funny feeling. Is sex a need or a want for me? Some people say that it’s a need, some say a want. Can it be a neant? A combination of both? I found in myself that there are times when it is one and then the other and then a mixture, mostly because I am a changing human being and every day brings about something different. Sex is like food. I need to eat because my body needs the fuel, but what I eat determines just how my body will run. So maybe I do a cleanse once in a while, maybe I eat more fruit than meats, and maybe I eat junk food on a regular.
What is your style of self care? Sex is a means of reproduction, but it’s also a means of energy transfer, healing, grounding, expression, etc. Masturbation restores my energy and helps me to manifest and connect with just how my inner self is doing. Sexual intercourse involving another human body allows me to dispel some energy but also to regain my own and form a connection to a higher self and stream of consciousness.
What is your intention? In a world where we are constantly bombarded with images and energy, how do we set intention, when and why? Do you ever think about an intention not just for your day, but for that moment? When I engage in anything, I immediately set my intention. “This will feed my soul and give the energy I need to do such and such”. That way, there is no misplaced anything. If something comes up, I can figure out exactly where it came from because I was intentional. Intentions for sex can be mind-blowing and soul-healing. You don’t have to say it out loud, you can say it to yourself, but always have a direction for the energy to go, otherwise, what are you inviting? Carelessness?
Using your whole self in sex is such a release. Use your voice, throat chakra, your root, sacral chakra, your heart, your third eye, your hands, mouth, hair, etc. Why not throw yourself headfirst into the experience and let your spirit soar and then return? Being an adult in terms of behavior is paramount. And now, come to think about it, I don’t like that phrase. Being considerate and responsible with sexual energy is better. People tend to say that I “act like a guy” post sex because although I am fully present in an experience, I’m not attached or clingy. I allow the energy to flow and then I maintain my autonomy. So often, those classified as women are expected to be these emotional creatures that want marriage and use sex to get love in both heterosexual and homosexual interactions. While that is true of some people, it is also true that sexual liberation allows space for a new type of woman: A woman that embraces her power and can embrace the sexual energy and then let it flow. This woman isn’t “acting” as anything. She’s in touch, she implores self love and most importantly, she moves on. If you are one of those women, I salute you for your journey and I say, continue on. As your fellow sister and “too much” woman, I say that we need more examples of women like us.
Sex can be such a liberating and beautiful experience, let’s engage.
Damali Speaks Xx
Hey Speakerz! Back at it again! I am currently writing this from a sort of renewed and re-birthed place. So, if you feel newborn vibes from me, it’s all a part of the cycle. With yesterday being Easter, it was so important to harness the energy of the day as I spent it in Prospect Park in Brooklyn with some wonderful Warriors of Light (I’m calling whoever I meet as my tribe member at any point in time a Warrior of Light) as we worked through our collective pain to re-birth ourselves. Sharing my growth into today is my name. The most difficult thing for me to embrace is my name. My birth name is different from what I feel I need to be called and though I’ve been fighting it for a long time, I’m learning to embrace my true name and my spirit. After all, words are spells and we must use them to bless and not curse. Today’s topic is on Love, Self & Spirit. Let’s dig in!
What’s something that you love so much that you could not drown, but swim in? For me, that’s rain. I love the rain. Yesterday in Prospect Park, it rained heavily for about 15 minutes. It was cold and almost like knives digging into my flesh. I heard people running and screaming around me in fear and I thought. “It’s water.” How can we say that we love water and rain that falls from the sky and yet want to interact with it only from the safety under an umbrella? How have we as human beings and spirits of the Universe lost our selves so much? Loving something, someone, some self, means that we don’t drown in it with the intention of sinking to the bottom, never to be seen or heard from again. To love something wholly, means to swim, to flow with the tide, to ride, to seek, to find solace in, etc. and yet to understand that love is freedom. Set what you love free so that it can roam, live, and be found again anew within you. When we hold on to what is no longer ours, we don’t allow for the energy to flow. We remain stunted in the same loop. To keep the flow of energy going is to create an elevated loop, a deja vu that’s not quite the same.
How do I really love? I know that I’ve been programmed to believe that sex is an act only done with someone you love, love is possession, love is all-encompassing, an act of passion, monogamy, workaholic, self-sacrifice, etc. The more I roam this earth and meet more spirits housed in human bodies, the more I realize that love is so much more than I could ever have imagined. Yesterday, sitting in a cocoon of love, I realized that love doesn’t reflect time. It lives outside of it, yet it is still stable. Grounded. Reveling in love, doesn’t need to mean the things that I was programmed for them to mean. Being in the present with time is understanding the harnessing of present energy and respecting it. Living in the moment and letting that moment live.
How then, do I love my self? How do I establish a relationship with my self so strong that no matter what I do, I am always my authentic self? Self love and self care. Lately, “Self Care” rather than “Self Love” has made it’s way into my vocabulary. How to Care for ones’ Self is an important space to live in, to make a home in. So many human beings have made homes in places and left the self an empty shell. But what if we all became committed to making homes in our selves and roamed in freedom and nature? What would that look like?
Duality. There is an important necessity in duality. The world balances itself out. In every day simple things, we have the presence of a penis, balanced with a vagina. Masculine energies balanced with feminine energies. Warm white light balanced with pure and black energy of creation and absorbed power. As so above, so below. Neither is better or worse, it just is. It is simply, maintenance of balance. As human beings with eternal spirits, how do we revel in our own duality? What is our dark nurtured by our light, what is our wrong nurtured by our right? Still, there isn’t just the two extremes side by side. There’s a whole scale. I’m attracted to the spectrum. I enjoy chocolate, vanilla, and cherry, mango, pineapple, etc. Our duality is all encompassing and we should be allowed to explore and play in it, rather than be forced to pick a side unnecessarily.
This leads to Spirit. Some call it spirit, intuition, “gut instinct”, etc. That feeling in your core at various moments. How often do you listen to it? In the span of a few months, I’ve been training myself to each morning, check in with my self, my intuition, and receive instructions for how to care for the little girl inside of me that still needs raising in so many ways. Sometimes the instructions are sweet: “Make sure to get a good hug and moment in the sun today.” Sometimes the instructions are sour: “Sit your ass down today and write”. Sometimes they just are: ” Fruit is imperative at this time. You need to be sweet and a little sour. Cut out all other foods and listen to the world speak”. Knowing when to listen to intuition versus the ego is crucial. When is my ego speaking? When is it my intuition?
Always operating from a place of love, acceptance and openness is so easy that it’s hard, and I’d be lying if I said that I always did it 100% because I’m human. I falter. But let’s remember to always rise. Move through our collective pain, embrace our human, be free and well, live this life we are blessed with.
Damali Speaks Xx
Tune in to today’s episode of Talk to the Cat! Leave a comment, have a like and you betta Subscribe!
Damali Speaks Xx