Perspectives index

Our Birthrights (Principles)

The following are seven principles that we feel to be paramount to our mental, physical, and spiritual well being. We believe that these principles are

Topic of the Month

BOUNDARIES

Line(s) in the Sand

What do you want? What are your limitations are in any given situation? What's your "end game"? Those are a few questions I've had to ask myself a lot lately...Writing about this topic has been of of the most difficult tasks I've ever attempted to complete and I haven't been...

ACTIVISM

In Attendance...

As I write what will be the last and final BSC perspectives piece of 2012, all that keeps swirling around in my mind is..."what a difference a year makes". This time last year I recall feeling absolutely lost and terrified. I was unsure about various aspects of my life. I...

DEPRESSION

Watching The Storm (Pass...)

I thought long and hard on what to "address" this month. Many things crossed my mind as noteworthy & ideal discussion topics, but the last thing I really wanted to talk about is what I've decided (albeit reluctantly) to "chew on" this month. Depression is something I thought I was...

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY

WithStanding

Today, as I sit still, I think. Life, or the life I have been gifted with (as I'm now choosing to refer to it), has been covered by what feels like a heavy fog lately. There have been so many changes I've experienced in the last four months. There has...

FACING REJECTION

The Bitter Pill

Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking when some of these topics come to me in terms of writing. I say this primarily because a lot of the things I've chosen to tackle as of late, while VERY relevant and timely are rarely if ever easy to talk about. I'm always...

DEALING WITH GRIEF AND LOSS

Surrender

Writing about loss and grief is difficult. It's almost as difficult as dealing with or experiencing both. Even for someone such as my self who considers himself pretty "in touch" with his dark side, it's hard. As I sit here finally allowing myself to sit with it, I feel resistance....

PERSPECTIVE

When Life Goes On...

Completing this writing is something that has been about four months in the making. Whenever I'd sit down, get still & proceed with the intention of hammering it out, something would happen. Either I didn't have adequate time, or privacy, or simply put, the inspiration to put my thoughts, feelings,...

ACCEPTANCE

Riddles (& Formulas)

Acceptance is hard...Until it's NOT. Acceptance is challenging...except when it's NOT. The moment I allow it into my space, my thinking, my being, it [miraculously] shows up in all other areas of my life. Although I know I'm hardly alone in any of this, I choose to make "I" statements...

IDENTITY

Very Useful Information

Writing about something like identity seems damn near impossible because it is ALWAYS changing. Like everyone else I know, I have 'characteristics' & things that make me...me, but even when I think about where my head was when I got the bright idea to write about this nearly 4 months...

KNOWING YOUR VALUE & WORTH

Self Study

Unraveling what makes one tick is like one big confusing, frustrating, fascinating, and ultimately rewarding science project. This is what I realize I'm in the midst of doing right now as I attempt to put into words something that I have struggled with for so many years but seem to...

REJECTION & ACCEPTANCE

Rejection & Acceptance

He told me that it was "worse to be alone or rejected" than to find out you're positive. This young, beautiful, gifted black man before me--having just found out a day before, that he was living with HIV--spoke words that had once rested in my throat, too "invulnerable" to admit...

FAMILY

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONNECTIONS

The beginning of a year is always a time of reflection for me. While many others are declaring resolutions, I always find myself thinking back on the previous year and all that came along with it. Thus in observing 2009, I find that there was a common theme that ran...

TRUST

Workin' With TRUST...

There is much to be said about trust. I've felt it's presence. I've been in the absence of it. I've prayed for it and I have abandoned it. I'm immediately taken to thoughts of what happens often for me during prayer and meditation. I have adopted a chant in rhythm...

FORGIVENESS

The "F" Word... & my use of it

When was the last time you thought about it? When was the last time you did it? If you did do it, how did it make you feel? I think about it all the time, and I know I probably need to do it more often, not only to &...

ME & WELLNESS

Not So Brave: The Struggle to Stay Positive

I hate being positive sometimes. For many people I remain a shining example of resilience and determination to stay positive against the seductive impossibility of being a "negative" person. Loving myself, just the way I am, means bringing light to the truth of my lived experience as a black gay-identified...

Trial & Error: The Art of Experimentation

Snapshot: I'm sitting in my bedroom with lots of stuff around me. Everything, most of the things that are here I've placed around me for a reason. My collection of old soul & jazz albums are to my left, and I'm listening to old albums by Natalie Cole, Deniece Williams,...

RELATIONSHIPS

Doing The Work

I'm complicated. I'm passionate. I'm long winded. I'm emotional. I'm guarded & defensive. I'm sensitive. I'm abrasive. I'm neurotic about lots of things. I'm compassionate. I wear my heart on my sleeve and love as hard as is humanly possible. I'm honest almost to a fault. Last but not least,...

Letting Go: Understanding the Laws of Physics

I always seem to get "got". This is no victim story, but the reflections of a man who lives for loving, if misguided by the projection of his passion. For all the writing about loving I've done, there is no crystal ball forecasting the "forever love" I've imagined I would...

FAITH&FEAR

Thought(s) Behind The Thought

I thought I knew what I wanted to write about this month, to round out the year 2008 about a month ago when I returned from a much needed vacation. I had NO idea what the next 25 days would bring in the way of experience, insight, inspiration, challenges, and...

POLITICS

Seekin' Resolution

Over the past year I've paid much closer attention than ever before to the election process and especially, the candidates. That leads me to where we are now...I'm in a bit of an awkward place with regard to the upcoming election. Tuesday, November 4th is also my birthday, the day...

CHANGE

Subject To Change

1. Seasons, circumstances, feelins, people...winds all do it Even still I have the hardest time adaptin to it Unconcerned with what I want or how it makes me feel Cant control its flow, aint no way 2 know Exactly whats its purpose or when its gonna surface like it's been...

DISCLOSURE/TRUTHTELLING

Shamelessly Self-Loving

"I write non-fiction, my dirt's already unearthed." - from the diss track "Alone Again" There's something really freeing about having no "dirt" for people to expose-in owing all your own stuff before anyone else tries to. It's a shameless act of courage for many black gay men, raised to feel...

THEPOWER OF THE SPOKEN WORD

Deserving(HumanSpirit)

What it does to one's heart and one's spirit when they've seen and been told and they hear it unlovingly repeatedly like a prayer or a chant should be that he at his root...is not worthy that the love he feels intuitively cannot should not will not...won't be that Him...

HEALTHCARE

Rest to Refuel

Nine years after my AIDS diagnosis, I have grown tired: tired of the meds, tired of disclosing, tired of sex, tired of being tired. Once, so passionately committed to living, I've grown, perhaps for the first time, most committed to the rest needed. A few times this year I even...

RACISM

The Changing Face of Race

Funny thing happened just before Super Tuesday. I got a call from my dad who'd done recent genealogy on his side of the family to discover, or have reaffirmed, that we have pretty close lineage with white people and Cherokee Indians. No surprise to me, though any affirmation of my...

THE CHASE 4...MONEY/POWER/RESPECT

Mission Accomplished.

When the impulse hit me back in September of 2007 to address The Chase...4Money/Power/Respect, I was very clear about the 'point' I was seeking to make. Now, today as I sit here to write my submission, not so much. Hopefully for you reading this and especially for me, by the...

Shedding the Consciousness of Poverty

On the verge of perhaps the most commercial and capitalistic holiday in the world and amidst the usual retrospective thinking about how to do 2008 better, I came to a rather enlightening yet disturbing conclusion about myself. Money makes my world go round! I grew up dirt poor, and despite...

GOD

lineage

So here we are again I meet with you daily infact you are ingrained in me only one of us in the room... You are working in as thru despite around inside me your ways are boundless wisdom some kinda infinite amazing, miraculous you are......................... finishing my sentences completing my...

BISEXUALITY

I have a secret...

I like girls too! There, I said it. And I don't just mean "like", akin to how some men like the way women dress or how the walk in high heels like "you better work, bitch" or like "she's so fierce I love her dress". I have the fashion sense...

UNPROTECTED...

AfterThoughts

i did it again and there was no question I didn't bother 2 ask him "when was the last time you been tested?" instead I dropped drawz and happily fed him what it was that he hungered and said that he wanted and while he 'head' feasted i stood and...

Iffection

(for calvin) Originally published in "Red Dirt Revival" by Tim'm T. West between infection and affection there is the utter unfairness of over-contemplating deep kisses, somebody's rejection of not just your truth, but your essence, your positive spirit. There is the soft brown flesh around you strugglin' against obsessions with...

PRIDE

Pride...How Many of Us Have It?

~Tim'm~ I first attended a Pride function in 1993. An exchange student at Howard from Duke, DC Pride's Banneker Field was an emotional touchstone towards visibility and self-acceptance as a gay black man. I was as drawn to the numbers LGBT people celebrating their pride in broad daylight. Having...

SEX

Foreplay22

tickle me softly count the glances between breaths caress the untouched parts again no part of this brownskin landscape orphaned keep me warm like home soften the cracked places until I am whole again lay your head where breath regains its rhythm let our lips dance to my heart's song...

FEMININITY

She...

As a same gender loving/gay black man, the issue of femininity is just as controversial as it's opposite, masculinity. It was of no coincidence that we decided to make masculinity our very first topic of discussion last year when we launched BSC. Therefore in honor of Women's History Month,...

LOVE

The love deserved...

Just before Valentine's Day 2007, I am writing about love, somewhere between the thick of heart-break and a surrender to hopefulness. I don't know that I know anything about love, except that somewhere down the line, I wrote my own fairy tale-- imagined a life with someone who dared to...

What I Know About Love...

Image, "monte & his music" photograph by Emile Benjamin love=music=god=love thas the way the equation is for me.... This is how I've learned, or remembered (depending on your school of thought about the process of life) most of the things there have been to know about love. music has...

OVERCOMING FEAR

Letting Go of...

It's something rarely if ever talked about, but it wreaks havoc in the lives of all it comes in contact with. It has nestled itself in the hearts, minds and spirits of countless people, communities, religions, etc. For me personally, about 29 of my 32 years on this planet have...

HIV/AIDS

Retrospect

With the month of December always comes an anniversary of sorts for me, a neverending series of thoughts. Triumphs, accomplishments, fears, happiness, blues, but above all else--- thoughts of joy, and affirmation of the fact that I am still here. This mainly because two years ago, I wasn't entirely sure...

SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Meditations on Jesus Songs

The first sound I remember was probably my mother singing some damn Jesus song. She was the product of a man and woman (my grandparents) who, in their old age, had themselves become a bit disillusioned with Christianity except for "special" visits to church during Easter or funerals. I remember...

MENTAL WELLNESS

Waves

Wave ONE. (Friday August 18th, 2006) Today I cried..... I cried for myself, I cried for my friends, I cried for all those I don't even know, but I know are suffering. After watching Mary's video for "Take Me As I Am" for the third time today, I cried. I'm...

Remember to Remember to Breathe

A Lesson Rickey taught me. It's been a little more than a month to the day since I received the news that my dear friend Rickey Williams committed suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. There...I said it. No softening what happened with elusive synonyms like "he took his...

Coincidences & Contradictions

How coincidental that last month's BSC topic was about relationships, and this month's is about mental wellness... The coincidence comes from the fact that as of last month, I was in a relationship (for almost three years), but now, I'm not... and the death of that relationship has taken...

DATING & RELATIONSHIPS

Brave Souls Sound Off: D&R

When looking at the lives of black men who love men, where do you stand on relationships? Do they, can they, have they worked for you? What is your overall feeling about black male relationships based on your experiences thus far? Erik Chambers: It seems like a relationship is...

BODY IMAGE

Sometimes I Forget

And so this Brave Soul....He comes with a fold.... Of flesh , of skin, of baggage.... A layer of stuff ...that he's still cleanin' up Yet he's anything BUT damaged. I tend to forget about it although its ALWAYS been there. My first memory of it was during my teenage...

I (like them) thick, therefore I am

(A Comment on Black Gay Male Body Image) I don't know that I was born gay, but my attraction dates as far back as some of my earliest memories, period. I was raised in the rural South where "diet" might as well have been a cussword, where skinny people got...

S.O.S.

S ave O ur S ize Queens I'm issuing an S.O.S. to Save Our Size Queens... To the brothas like me - the thick or stocky or pudgy or FAT We gotta press our collective weight into the ground and stand firmly in our visibility It's too easy to pull...

MASK-ULINITY

MASKulinity = ILLusion

If I wanted to be with a woman, then I'd be with a woman... As a same-gender-loving man, I've heard that line about as often as I've heard the question: Are you a top or a bottom? Interestingly, both the statement and the question are borne from a collective idea...

Deconstructing Banjee Realness

(a comment of gay black identity and masculinity) Banjee. That was the identity I was given back in the summer of 1991, when I, half out/half in approached the colored museum of the Christopher Street piers. I was new to the life, so I had no reference for what people...

HOW DO I SPELL RELIEF?

...TAKE OFF THE MASK AND BREATHE... ...what mask shall I dawn today/what role shall I play today... ...who will I fool today/tell me which fool will fall prey... ...all dressed up like a common boy/know all the common things to say... ...I can always get what I want...when I play...in...