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Personal Reflections

Tipping on the Tightrope: Balancing Cosmic Flyness w/ Being ‘Regular’

I’ll admit it. I have trouble being myself all of the time, not because I don’t know me. On the contrary, I’ve been studying myself for as long as I can remember so I’m quite comfortable with all of my imperfections and facets.  For a brief moment in my life, though, feeling like an oddball among the masses started to get lonely and uncomfortable, therefore I decided that the best approach to life was to abide by those unwritten, but deeply embedded rules of society until I realized that I wasn’t getting the same results as everyone else. That’s usually the main sign that a person is cut from a different cloth or listening to the beat of a different drum.  So, I ventured into the territory of asking some difficult questions to discover ME — and this journey continues (it never ends). However, for as much ME work as I’ve done thus far, and for as much of myself that I’ve come to embrace and accept, I still find myself from time to time assessing how much of Chandra should I reveal when meeting and interacting with people.

You see, I consider myself to be a multi-layered woman; not exactly complex, because I’m too expressive for people to find me that way, but rather hard to define because I move between categories, labels, and expectations with fluidity. While I do have much in common with my woman tribe, there’s quite a bit of distinctiveness that I have adorned as my ‘cosmic flyness’.  Because I’m an artist whose work manifests itself in the form of the written word, I take full advantage of the power of creative licensing. Therefore, cosmic flyness is my way of adhering to what makes me special; it’s my brand of ‘otherworldliness’, a term I picked up when I delved into Ev’Yan’s Sex, Love, & Liberation.  During my adolescence and early adulthood, I managed to hide a good deal of myself from many people, including my closest friends. But now, since my emotional & spiritual well-being is dependent upon exposing my cosmic flyness and living to my full potential, you can imagine how longtime friends are quite surprised to see what they perceive as a ‘change’, but in actuality, I’ve been this way all along.  

Considering that I’m a Black woman raised and still living in the South, attempting to see the world through another lens besides those imposed by family, church, or immediate community can leave a sister feeling quite alienated. So, I find myself taking special effort to be ‘regular’, because I know that everyone doesn’t know how to deal with a woman who listens to P-Funk & Hip Hop religiously and cover a range of conversations such as, but not limited to, the Occupy Movement, Black Liberation Theology, rare books by Black authors, and eroticism all within the same day, and if I’m engaging in any form of social media, do all of them simultaneously.  In addition, I still identify myself as a Christian (which is a walk of faith that situates Christ as both Savior and Example), but I hate Christianity (which is a religion mandated by denominationalism and manipulations of Scripture) .  Eyebrows raised yet?    

But, you know, being regular can be such a strain for me, especially when I see or hear something that I need to address with my Chandra-ness.  Since I’d gotten so used to hiding, I tend to do that unconsciously and, unfortunately, the times when I should assert my cosmic flyness, I find myself hesitant and tempering my responses. But now that I’m in the throes of undoing this last piece of restrictive living so I can forge full steam ahead into the life meant to be, I have to resolve it within myself that I’m going all in with my cosmic flyness.  That’s why it’s vital that I surround myself with people just like me — multi-layered, gifted, and unchained to the status quo. For instance, I have a friend of mine that can discuss polyamory with the same casualness as her current nail color and another friend that can discuss motherhood with an elaborate Southernness and critique films with avidity.   

Now, I’m aware of the fact that I’m not the only woman who tends to be concerned about how well they will be accepted among their peers or within their community.  Let’s face it.  Acceptance is a big deal for human beings.  We can promote individuality and push that self-important talk with as much vigor as we can muster, but, we have an innate desire to connect with each other and to be accepted. Due to societal/cultural conditioning and upbringing, especially for Black women, it can be a real challenge to fully let down all walls and ‘keep it 100’.  It’s a good thing that we have several role models of women who expressed their cosmic flyness in its full splendor. Legendary jazz empress, Dinah Washington was married eight times and divorced seven times.  This was quite a feat for a Black woman living during the ’40s and ’50s.  I’m certain she caught a great deal of criticism for that.  There’s also Josephine Baker, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Nikki Giovanni, Betty Davis (Miles’ ex-wife), & Sonia Sanchez just to name a few.   As for today, there’s sistas like Erykah Badu & Janelle Monae, who I’ve been touting as the President & Vice-President of the unofficial Quirky Black Girls Club. At the end of the day, we all have to be true to ourselves — and how many times have we heard that? Well, some things are just right and exact so if you’re anything like me — possess a certain something that just doesn’t allow you to be counted in the number of regulars, stand up for yourself so I can see ya and let’s all stop hiding.  If we don’t, everyone in the world will think that all Black women are either like the Basketball Wives or Tyler Perry characters. 

The comments section is open.    

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About Chandra Kamaria

Chandra Kamaria is a playwright, essayist, culture maven, educator, entrepreneur, and activist. To learn more, visit www.chandrakamaria.com.

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