Journal Prompt: How are you living out your values?

Writing is a somatic release of trauma and upheaval from my body, to let the emotions travel through the pen and on to the page, to give the generational trauma and manifestations of queerphobia, racism, and ableism somewhere to live outside of my Self. I also write to affirm my experiences. It’s emotionally exhausting trying to survive in a reality where I’m being told that existing as I am isn’t enough. It’s made me numb for 20 plus years pretending to thrive as a shadow of myself, never fully allowing Me to Be.

My journal is now where I plant seeds into my garden, to consistently nourish my mind when it’s navigating life in the darkness while imagining the shadows dancing.

© riverwindphotography, July 2020

As part of tending to my garden, I’ve been journaling about my values and if the life I’m creating for myself aligns with my core values. If my principles are reflected in behavior.

Journal with me for a moment.

How am i living out my values?
authenticityBeing accountable to myself. I’ve realized that no one besides me can fully understand the aftermath of my trauma, can understand my need to lift little Nique up to the light of goodness and watch the different sections of a kaleidoscope unfurl and dance. Being accountable to my needs, whether that’s words of affirmation, needing to release tension through movement and/or pleasure, if I need to lay in bed and only move when my bladder urges me to. Being authentic means living out loud as a queer, nonbinary/agender person. Means switching the narrative from qualms about outside perspective to agency and self-determination. Means asking myself if this (cis heteronormative, White, able bodied) reality is enough for me. Understanding that while things such as queerness and transness are politicized, my living out loud will be seen as political or radical and not merely me existing as I naturally am. That fuels me to naturalize what has been politicized. Questioning these norms and systems and working to dismantle them, so that I (or if not in my lifetime, generations after me) do not have to wonder where my community is, because the default for so long has been to be ostracized, picked apart and deemed foreign so therefore inferior.
vulnerabilityWith authenticity comes vulnerability. Living out loud has required a lot of vulnerability, Big Emotions causing tornados in my brain. Publicly saying that I am queer and agender has allowed me to also use my writing, writing workshops and cultivation of healing spaces to continuously create a life no longer fueled by biases that come with a colonized gender binary. Not so much about how I do or do not dress and present myself, but going further than that, it is about our freedom. Vulnerability to me means sharing the lessons I’ve learned along the way about healing from trauma and finding a sense of self, a purpose not tied to my abusers or a trauma identity- the flowers that have bloomed from the seeds I planted in my garden. Being vulnerability because I truly believe healing happens with and in community. Being vulnerable is my superpower.
rest as resistanceCapitalism and grind culture are an oppressive system, rooted in chattel slavery and seeing bodies as money, worthiness and livelihood tied to production. Rest is resistance against that. My body can be a site of liberation, but I’ll never be able to tap into that knowledge, abundance, and worthiness if I’m still going through the motions and trying to survive the violence of exhaustion. So I rest. I daydream. I imagine what I want my future to look like. I nudge my besties and those I hold in my heart to also rest. And shout out the Nap Ministry! (also @ thenapministry on Instagram)
honoring ancestorsMy story is not solely my own- my body is a manifestation of my grandmother and my mother’s trauma, from the time a pregnant 17 year old held both her daughter and her daughter’s eggs inside her. As her grandmother and grandmother’s nana had done. My body holds us all. Surviving physical, sexual, mental and financial abuse. Boundaries in relationships, both romantic and platonic. All of this I did ultimately for myself, but also for the ancestors whose survival meant staying in these situations. Thanking them, even while they’re still alive, for their guidance and protection. Expressing gratitude. My elders used to love receiving homemade cards in the mail and phone calls that would meander for hours. Next year, I want to learn more about creating altars and connecting to ancestors that way. Also want to acknowledge the generational trauma that some ancestors might have contributed to, and boundaries in relationships extends to them.
freedom/liberationMy North Star is liberation. To live and thrive in a society free from cages. That is why I study the work of Mariame Kaba, and protest in solidarity with and support organizers advocating for abolition, restorative justice. I look at the root of our society, and still see anti-Black racism as the fabric and White dominant culture as the seams threading it all together. That is why I invest in communities now, especially the Black, domestic violence/sexual assault survivor, queer/trans, and disabled communities. To directly deposit wealth, a voice, and autonomy to my peoples who have been systemically and intentionally silenced. That is why I check my self on biases related to punishment being carceral, or help for mental illnesses that frequently mimics a carceral response (like when I was suicidal, manipulated in going to a psych ward, and placed in solitary confinement for around 2 hours). My life work of abolition, so we can live free from cages of otherings is a love letter to both myself and my communities.
unlearning shameA lot of my shame has been placed on me. When people perceive something about me to be wrong, they have loudly proclaimed that I should feel distressed, humiliated, sorry for daring to do such a thing. I’ve been shamed for my eating disorder (and how people saw only a size and not an illness or call for help), for my gender, for my race, for disabilities described as laziness. To unlearn this, I affirm all of the things I was told were wrong. Every morning, I look in the mirror and repeat some sort of mantra. My Black skin is beautiful. I am valid. I am abundant. Shame also slowly creeps away when stories are told in safe spaces. That is why I am a cultural archivist, a myth buster and story teller. To learn alongside my folx who have been historically silenced, to tell the tales and find beauty where others have placed shame
Photo by Tim Gouw on

Overall, my values stem from a place of deeply rooted trauma, from digging and uprooting those beliefs of unworthiness and relearning how to prioritize what is important to me.

What are your values? How do you incorporate them into your daily life and actions? Holla at a homie 🙂

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