Tirsa With is queer black activist en sociologiestudent. Ze is 20 jaar en richtte onlangs de politieke jongerenorganisatie van BIJ1 op: RADICAAL. Als voorzitter van RADICAAL heeft ze zitting in Algemeen Bestuur van BIJ1. Schrijven doet ze vooral als self care. Dit resulteert in persoonlijke, melancholische en sociaalkritische poëzie.

Sojourner

By Tirsa With

A moment of silent celebration for those of us who don't feel at home in any of their families. Who only get 1/3 of an invitation to the cook-out.

Never enough and always too much. Too black too queer too femme to.. be. heard.

Never seen but always looked at. If only we knew what we looked likethrough our own gaze. If only we could remember.

This one's for us. For all of us who forgot what "we" felt like the day we heard it in three distinct languages simultaneously.

Growing up trilingual but mute(d).

Like my thick thighs are too heavy of an accent for you to understand my shivering voice.

My skin is so darkbut she will never be"black enough"lest I shut upabout all this gender stuff.

"I have beenbrainwashed byimperialistwhite supremacistableist cisheteropatrachyto believe this is my identity."

Upon saying this,half of me lives andhalf of me dies.

One day, I looked into the mirrorand I smiled at myself.Except, it wasn’t a mirror.

It was what it must feel liketo see yourself on a billboard,rejoicing,because "you" has clothes onand a face.

To walk into a barand run into yourselfwith blond, matted dreadlocksand blue nail polish

To go to a march withyourselfehhyour selvesand call your name..together.

“No justice, no peace” right?

One day, I looked into the mirror and I smiled at myself. Except, it wasn’t a mirror.

It was you. It was us. It was "we"

When you said "Hi" I could hear voices harmonizing in 5 different languages, all seeming to poor out of different parts of your body. Yellow chirped cheerfully like a voice of my own. Green smelled like home on Christmas day. Purple was flirty, like a familiar stranger. Blue whispered, quietly. Their pain felt sharp and clear, like a vacant beach on a Caribbean island, but by the time they dared to speak, the tourists had already arrived. Red was indescribable. A myriad of overwhelming emotions flying through space. Not with any particular destination, not bothered trying to get my attention. In fact, if I would fixate on a single spot for over a second I could feel my stomach freeze.

Red was beyond me. Beyond you. Beyond "we".

We, I realized, is one and everything. If that's the unity you were looking for, But stop trying to see me in one language, hear me in one color.

My Christmas is both casserole and cookies and cookout.

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