Blaque/OUT Magazine March 2021 Issue #006

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This month’s topic is such an epic one. I’m so

I believe these are great Lps for us on

excited to be sharing my thoughts on “being seen”

breaking down and eventually achieving the

with you. There are a lot of different layers to the

art of being seen.

phrase so I’m confident we’ll all experience a new level of clarity by the end of this read. Lets get into it!

I’m a huge fan of Iyanla Vanzant. Black and

1. There is Nothing To Fear


Brown people preaching & teaching Black/Brown unity just does it for me. I can honestly say that I have not been endorsed by her or anyone on her team so you know my level of reverence and respect goes rather far for her work. She’s an “American inspiraLonal speaker”, per Google and has provided much insight to her beliefs through the work she’s done on her innovaLve television show “Iyanla, Fix My Life”. What I appreciate most about her advice is that its honest.

BRUTALLY honest. I also admire the fact that she clearly has her own set of ChrisLan beliefs but never pushes that on anyone. That truly speaks to

Iyanla tells us to accept the very real fact that theres nothing to fear and she conLnues with “Just keep moving, breathing…” Perhaps the soundest advice we’ve heard all year. How many Lmes have you allowed fear to paralyze you? Stop you dead in your tracks and revert you back to an inexperienced child? I’m sure its been countless Lmes and realizing whatever you’re afraid of actually has no power over you is the absolute best thing you can do to help you on your endeavor to “being seen”. That’s called taking control of the narraLve and seeing yourself FIRST!

credibility for me because I do not share in those beliefs but sLll have the same struggles that ChrisLans do. My life experience is just as

2. “Breathe”

important as a ChrisLan’s and so is anyone else’s. Very simply put, right? Iyanla explains

I’ve chosen to discuss with you an Essence arLcle that Iyanla featured in from August of 2019. Iyanla

this thought a bit further by adding that

talks about her top life mantras and I believe

people stop breathing when they get

Marshay upset and this couldn’t be any more true to

can supplement her belief for my own

me. When I’m frustrated, the first thing that’s

and STILL benefit from this powerful message.

affected is my breathing. I hold tension in my chest

So can you! I prefer to accept this as a

and quite literally become “stuck” in a moment. By

statement showing me how hardships and

pracLcing controlled breathing, you’ll find your

the daily lessons the universe presents me

mind is much clearer and you’re more capable of

with are meant for my current and future

responding to and showing up in a situaLon that

understanding, not my demise. Instead of

may have altered your progress in the past. Now,

walking around and viewing the world as a

not only can you process what’s happening in

mean-spirited place where everyone is out to

front of you but you are able to easily move on

get me, I choose to see it as a place full of

from it when the Lme comes. Breathing is so

opportuniLes that I haven’t quite wrapped

important that I had to make a personal

my head around yet. Much less inLmidaLng

connecLon with it while birthing my son. He was

that way, right? Life is never supposed to be

stuck in my birthing canal and was too far along

viewed as something that’s just happening to

for doctors to perform a cesarean secLon. One of

you. Its about exisLng and seeing life as a

my great friends at the Lme stepped in as a doula

chance to take what you want out of it while

and coached my breathing which was the ONLY

you can. Only you can build and shape your

thing that saved my baby that day. This was my

own experiences!

first lesson on how controlled breathing can actually make a world of difference. Whether you’re in sLrrups or out, I know it could be of great help to you too!

4. Today, I Begin A New Life Iyanla finishes her list of mantras with this key phrase emphasizing that whatever

3. All Things Are Lessons That God Would Have Me Learn

happened yesterday is done. All you have today is right here and right now. I think we can all relate to how hard this advice hits especially during this pandemic. Hearing

Remember I told you I don’t share in parLcular beliefs and respect that others may?

about people who were alive and well just moments ago and are now afflicted, sickly

Well here’s a great example of what that looks like.

and dying so quickly makes me want to grab

Instead of omicng this great advice because its

everyone I love and squeeze them so Lght so

Lght so they have no doubt how much I

you are and for who you will soon become. Please

need and appreciate them being in my life. Life

don’t be afraid to eliminate people from your

is so short! If you can take even one thing from

circle who do not provide you with that sense of

this arLcle and share it with the ones you love, I

connecLon that allows you to feel and be “seen”

hope its this final mantra. Encourage those

on a regular basis. This need for validaLon is so

around you to let go of the past and remove the

natural to the basic human existence that its listed

chains of trauma and shame that were once

as a vital characterisLc needed to sustain a

binding because we all need to enjoy the beauty

healthy and balanced well-being. Imagine, just as

of life as much as we possibly can. We need self-

much as you need oxygen to breathe and provide

care to keep ourselves moLvated and clear but we also need our community to care for itself in

sLmuli for your bodily funcLons- you need people who just “get you”. I believe these steps will have

the very same way.

us all on the fast track to being seen not only by others and for the right reasons but in our own eyes as well.

A Final Word

~Eternally & Truly Yours,

When I hear the words “Be Seen” or “I felt seen”, it is so validaLng! Even if I’m not the subject experiencing this moment, its that powerful to create a sense of relief in anyone around. You deserve to be seen for both who



Need Advice? Email your questions about love, life & entanglements to: & you might see it answered in an upcoming issue of Blaque/Out Mag!!



by my demeanor, I’m stamped by my criminal history, I’m.... It's a battle to be seen. To be seen

through your own eyes and through society's

I'M RICH!!!!! … I AM, for real. I

eyes. For who you are and where you come

AM RICH!!! And DAMN proud of it. Not knowing

from. When i say “where you come from?” I

sooner doesn't in any way compare to the final

don't mean birthplace or where you currently

realization or anything that comes afterward.

call home. I mean where you come from in

According to Google, one of the many definitions of

your way of thinking. Your logic. Your

rich is “interesting because it is full of diversity and

perception. Your feelings. Your likes. No

complexity.” The point at which something is the


most powerful or successful… ZENITH …RICH! My


own puzzle ... learning the pieces and putting them

you hear me? I can't be seen because others

together everyday. I went from finally feeling FREE

dont understand it. And they don't want to

in myself to knowing I’M RICH. I said feeling free IN

because they've learned that it's bad. They’re

my self …not WITH my self. Big difference. I also

shamed now because of those who walk in

said KNOWING I'm rich, not feeling I'm rich. Make

their truth and how they’re NOTICED. They

sure you understand what I'm saying because I

don't even know what SELF is. Can't look their

know I'm not the understood type. Except for in MY

true self in the mirror if they feel it won’t


amount to nothing in SOCIETY aka real life.

As I know, I will continue to say for the rest of

People need to know that REAL LIFE is

my life ... I AM ME. Zenith Imhere. Who and/or how

BEING WHO YOU ARE. Other than that…

I am seen as and/or for will be different with some

You’re living in everyone's shadows, including

similarities by each individual. Yall like the way I

your own. How does that sound? In on

twisted that? I had to say it again myself. Who and/

everyone else's life while hiding from ya own

or how I am seen as and/or for will be different

or putting it on someone else.

with some similarities by each individual. I'm underestimated, I’m overestimated, I’m judged

Do I want to be seen? I'm used to being the quiet one, laid back, on guard. I've

Do I want to be seen? I'm used to

background and history, she still fought. In a

being the quiet one, laid back, on guard.

male dominated world, she still fought. In a

I've never wanted to be seen however I'm

grimy world full of naysayers, Cardi B never

always advocating in some form. I LOVE a

gave up. I felt her strength through the

good debate. I get on plenty of nerves. I

screen. How she didn’t bow out doors when

love to learn from books but more from

rejected. With her head held, she looked

people. I have a voice… I know how to use

them all in the eye and told them what she

it. I have a purpose… and a 10 toed

would be with or without them. I watched this

stance. I am a model. Not publicized but

while in prison. Fighting for my freedom now

acknowledged even if by myself. I AM

became one of two of the most important


things in my life. Watching Cardi B made me

I grew up fighting to be seen … fighting to be who I am. My actions, My looks, My walk, My talk. All me but all

realize I would have additional problems once released. Wisdom can be a blessing and a

talked about negatively. Why?... Why is it

curse. Just as being humble is. Life is

ok to talk about any body let alone able

hilarious. So make sure you get a lot of

bodied people while it's “morally” wrong to

laughing in. I don't have a care in the world

talk about the disabled. Why do I have to

for people's perceptions of me which aren't

have some qualification for it to be wrong

accurate anyways. If the shoe doesn't fit, I

to be talked about? Even though the

don’t wear it. My transitioning has brought to

disabled are talked about as well. Here I

light a lot about the LGBT community that

go getting off track. I grew up fighting to be

needs to be addressed and corrected. I'm

seen … fighting to be who I am. My

quiet but don't get me to talking about

actions, My looks, My walk, My talk. All me

injustices. I have my own personal injustices

but all talked about negatively. WHY???

however societal injustices concerning the

For some reason I was conversing

LGBT community that I can give a lending

with friends about Cardi B and I expressed how she's a model. Cardi B is a

hand or mouth or mug to, IMHERE! I do not conform to any societal

CERTIFIED MODEL. The popularity of

norms that I don't deem logical. And I believe

Love & HipHop had viewers … eyes on

myself to have a rational mind. However i

the tv but, were they really paying

feel just like those streetwalkers that just

attention? Cardi B constantly heard that

ramble up and down streets about any and

her aggressive demeanor and past would

everything that listeners take no heed to. I

keep her from succeeding in the rap game.

just have a home to go to. We all come in

LOOK AT HER NOW!!! Through all the

different shapes, forms, and fashions …

LIVE reality of Cardi B, she is still HER


TRUE SELF … AND where she wanted to be and more. She overcame a system put in place to deter … A MODEL. With her

Stream It On Demand: FEBRUARY 22 – MARCH 7

An electric, hip-hop autobiography Written and Performed by Brian Quijada | Directed by Chay Yew

Originally produced by Victory Gardens Theater Produced and Presented by Geva Theatre Center and Victory Gardens Theater

Purchase access at

“I AM Here” Okay, lets talk…. It’s frustrating that we are in the 21st Century and people are still fighting to be seen and treated as human beings, in spite of race, gender, sexual preference, sexual identity, gender identity, or social economic background. As a woman, as a black woman, as a black woman of transitional experience, I fight everyday to be seen. When I walk in a room, or arrive somewhere, I want the anticipation of my presence, or my reputation as the strong, loving, caring, intelligent black woman that I am to have arrived before I do physically. The importance of being seen, respected, and included, since the beginning, has been a struggle for women, a fight for black women, and damn near impossible for black women of transitional experience. If you look into the rates of admission into colleges/ universities in this country you will discover that black women account for the highest rate of those college/ university admissions outside of ANY demographic of races. However, that’s not the normalized narrative is it? Why is that? Perhaps maybe its made more popular or conversant when it comes to academic success to equate it to being white, or any other race besides black. I find that not only insulting, but dismissive as a black woman, or black person period. Especially since it was the blood, sweat, tears, and flesh of the Black woman, and man who built much of what they get very little credit or recognition for. Since we were brought to this country the black women brought with her the strength, values, and divine ability that

carried this nation through every trial and tribulation it has gone through. Though she was battered, beaten, raped, humiliated, had her family ripped from her arms, and treated worse than an old yard dog, the Black woman sat in the shadows polishing, and cleaning the filth and disgrace from the face of her white oppressors for them to shine in the face of the world. All the while it was her, it was my forebear, my ancestors, that was the influential driving force behind this whole “show” from the start to this moment. Perhaps, this is why higher education, or education in general, was/is seen as more of a societal threat than any gun or weapon when it came to black folks. It would, and oftentimes does reflect the ignorance, and inadequacies of those that choose to suppress it. Now with all that being said, which really didn't even skim the surface, about the oppression of Black women in the history of this country, let’s throw in Black transgender women and reveal the face of a whole other beast. Not only do Black trans women press on against the continuous oppression from the “other” man, but the often tragic oppression as well from the “brother” man. Imagine a single rose trying to grow and reach the light of the sun, but planted in the middle of two big boulders threatening to crush her, and shadowing her from the light she deserves just as much as them. Think about it, paint your own picture, and see the basis of this metaphor. Black trans women are denied housing, education opportunities, employment, heteronormative community support services,

and healthcare; just to name a few. There is a devastating health crisis in this country regarding Black transgender women. The life expectancy Black transgender women are 35-40 respectfully. Between 2017-2020 80% of transgender homicides were Black women. 44% of transgender women with HIV are Black transwomen. At the corner of Racism Avenue and Transphobia Street Black trans women face chronic homelessness, and mercilessly subjected to discrimination, constant harassment in school and work places, threats of bodily harm, and a staggering suicide rate within our communities. It’s not enough that we rally and fight only when something happens to one of us, and then when the fever has passed, AGAIN, we as trans people of color are forgotten until the next wave of violence comes crashing down upon us. We are NOT a fad, or “juicy” story that captures your attention for the moment. We are danger on a regular f***ing basis, and taken for granted. Sadly, there are even those in our very own LGBTQIA community that don’t give the respect, honor, and tribute we deserve. The time is now for the constant remix of uncomfortable conversations, lobbying, voting, protesting, and screaming of “ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER” to be kept on replay. We will continue shout #AllTransLivesMatter, #JusticeForChanelHines, #ProtectionForChanelHines, and #SayTheirNames until the change that needs to happen comes to fruition for us all. We are no longer asking for our rights, we are demanding them. We will lay our grievances upon the table of the oppressors and force them to feast until their bellies pop with that freedom and justice for us all. Each step we take is a step closer to our better day; steps taken together! So until next time, this is your girl Javannah saying, “Be good to you!”

Love your body. Get tested.


Breaking The Mirror by Brandon J. Stroud At least twice a day, most individuals around the world have the ability to look themselves in the face. Mirrors have often served as a guidance of where we have been, what has invaded our minds throughout the day, and ultimately a reflection of who we hope to become. A mirror offers a reflection of so many various parts of us, but we often do not see the full inner being. 2020 was a weird year for the entire world. We had to take a look in the mirror that may have been one of the truest reflections of self. The world was completely naked due to a severe illness, while the individual was dealing with the self work and worth of who they were. Who they were without connection to family, jobs, and overall titles that did not allow for us to break the glass. It is okay to have felt the deepened breath that reminded you that you may not be where you thought you should be. Spending my 29th and 30th birthdays in this pandemic have shown me a lot, especially after associating myself in relationships of all sorts that can at times have seemed unbeneficial. Many of us began to release individuals from our lives who truly did not serve a purpose. Others of us continued to search for the love that is often so sought outside of ourselves. 2020 was the year of seeing yourself in the purest form of reality, naked. Many of us were alone (unless you spent the summer protesting against the patriarchy), nervous and for the first time dealing with the ability to see ourselves. Broken and whole. And sometimes we have to break the mirror. We have to then take those broken pieces and create a mirage of the beauty you wish to see.

I recently saw a meme that said “that freeing feeling when you can say ‘thats not me anymore’”. I sat and I wondered how many times I had spoken those words to people I had loved within the last few months or even years, of saying that is not me anymore. I also reflected on a time where a high school classmate gently reminded me that we were no longer friends, due to the fact we had not spent several years in each other's presence. Also due to the fact that no communication or space of any kind had been shared with one another. I profoundly also began to recognize that some of those words or images connecting with the person “who I used to be” not to the “who I am now”. I often still carry the same hurt and trauma of life that has been lived. I recall speaking to an old college mentor around truly not having friends in college, but thanking them for always seeing me in the pureness of who I was. The mere difference of timing is the only separation of seeing myself differently. Maybe, we are not seeing ourselves differently, but also recognizing who people really were once the multilayer of masks began to be revealed. We had to shed our own masks, if we decided to do the “shadow work” and “light work” around who we were, are, and are hopeful about becoming. 2020 should be a reflection of how to see self and others. In a pureness of where you may be with that person. In a directness of creating boundaries when you see potential harm coming towards you. A willingness to explore those boundaries with those who may not fully understand you and are for those who are not seeking to misunderstand you.

Being seen in the world, first takes courage to dismantle the reflection of yourself in the world. This means, you are deeper than what you see. We must all remember a few things. We cause ourselves harm by not accepting and loving the physical and emotional scars of life that we refuse to let go. Yes, others have harmed us and others shall attempt to harm us in similar or unfamiliar ways. It is us who must address the harm, regardless if the other person truly sees or understands it. Finally, that once we look in the mirror we must truly apologize to those who we have harmed due to our own hurt. A mirror has multiple perspectives to take into account. And as a car side mirror says “objects may appear closer”...take a moment to truly get close to yourself in this time. Taking a moment to see and love your scars. Taking the moment to see what is truly further behind you and no longer resides in your sight, while also enjoying the beauty that is in front of you.

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