To identify as a black male, within a diasporan construct, is to live a life of duality.
It’s impossible, as a person of colour, to completely avoid the daily shelling of preconceived perceptions, many of us still carry the shrapnel of these encounters lodged within us.
A constant balancing act of cultures and assumptions, wrestling against your true and innate nature.
When I was younger, there were times I wore a mask to conceal certain aspects of self, at times this mask would slip, causing chaos amongst friends and colleagues.
There is a certain relief you feel, walking into a room in which the majority of people look like you, a long exhale after an extended period of holding your breath.
As I grew older and more emboldened, Oscar Wilde's advice to “be oneself,” became a rally cry, knees scuffed, hands clasped, a daily act of worship at the altar of authenticity.
Many times I’ve found myself experiencing periods of unfettered elation, as my nature and actions coalesced, a spiritual simpatico. These moments are always fleeting, butterflies and nets.
I’m on a constant journey of self, a daily battle of confidence to “be myself” while simultaneously trying to “find myself.” I have met him many times, myself that is, and I like him. He’s self deprecating with a sharp sense of humour, an insecure boy in a man's body. These encounters are fleeting, we never seem to have enough time to really get to know each other.
I arrive at his last known location, seconds too late. “He was just here” they say, “you just missed him.”
Reality and perception, authenticity and bad faith, it’s where these rivers meet, that fascinates me the most.