I was living in NYC and had recently come out. I was enjoying life, thanks to the approval and acceptance of others - namely friends, siblings, therapists, and an expanding LGBTQ community. I had yet to realize that, even though others can be helpful, no one can give you self acceptance.
He smiled and opened the door, inviting me into his life. I’d just met him in some dark place, but he’d smelled of open fields and meadows of freedom, where cool breezes and acceptance lingered. I ran free in his gaze. The dreamy intoxication of his eyes felt good, following me about like he did… and he was nice to look at… very nice indeed.
Now we sat talking under muffled stars, the city lights blinking code signals around us. Big yellow taxis whizzed by, transporting the cooler than cool Lower East Side crowd to noisy downtown bars and clubs.
But as the night loitered around us, I found myself becoming disoriented… it seemed the scene was changing, and now I was in a movie theatre taking off those ill-fitting plastic 3D glasses. His voice was clear, but the picture of him was becoming blurry. Had I imagined the whole thing… imposing my own fantasies onto this man? I was pretty young, but…
A thought buzzed on the periphery of my consciousness, like a fly. His smile had opened a door, but his life, like all lives had rooms… with walls, and other doors that were closed and locked at the end of hallways, guarded by blank expressions that uttered short, vague answers. Answers that further confused and confounded the young, inexperienced me. This wasn’t clarity, these weren’t cool breezes of freedom and acceptance blowing here, at least not in any way I could understand. And so commenced my search for the exit.
Now looking back after all these years, I realize I’d been searching for acceptance in those brown eyes, I wanted this man desperately to tell me I was fine and whole. But as beautiful as his brown eyes were, my beauty did not reside there. As orgasmic as it probably would have been to lay wrapped in his arms, that is not where any lasting love would be made. The bliss I was longing for did not lay sprawled naked on sheets of Egyptian cotton, but rather in the present chamber of my mind. I could step into that room anytime through the door of attention and enter into now. My own presence would set the night to sweet sounds, like honey to my tongue, and afterwards I could gaze out through the windows of my soul, blinds lifted and shades removed, allowing the light of the moon to flow in, weaving unimaginable blessings like magic around my spirit. Anyone with eyes would be able to see the silver glow emanating from my soul.
So yes I returned home alone, but not lonely. I fumbled around in my pockets, and found the keys to my own acceptance, and quietly opened the door to a new day.
from Nhojj Poetry Vol. 1,
track released October 7, 2017
Written & performed by Nhojj
Contains sample of "Julien's Bed" by Nhojj