World Pride 2021: Conversation with
Eden Lost and Levi/Tom of Tottenham
This conversation was commissioned as part of the artwork for World Pride 2021 and focuses on the experiences of Black trans people in Sweden. It by no means speaks to all Black trans people’s experiences of navigating a Swedish context, but instead was intended to create a space to share our perspectives. With Édouard Glissant’s ‘right to opacity’ in mind, parts of the conversation have been redacted.
Eden: I’m known as Eden Lost. I am a performer in the disciplines of drag and burlesque. I am a non-binary, genderfluid queer. I moved to Sweden in 2014 for love, and ended up staying after my ex and I split. I come from the United States, California, and it’s kinda surprising that the American dream was more achievable for me here than in the US. And I was able to briefly live like a rockstar and work as a full-time performing artist before the pandemic. And it’s taken me a lot of places and introduced me to a lot of amazing communities and amazing people that I’m grateful for. Part of that is very much defined in my journey of gender exploration and discovery, confirming that I am trans and non-binary and just being around other queer people — and in communities like where it isn’t policed — has been really what helped me find my way.
Levi: I’m Levi/ Tom of Tottenham. I moved to Sweden five years ago. And what brought us here was that I have a partner who’s Swedish and we lived together in the UK for a long time. And there were health issues in their family so it was time to come. And I think actually today I’ve decided is my tranaversary, because way back when I started on this, I had a piece of paper which had the date the 6th June on it. And I don’t know if that was a medical appointment or a hormone prescription, change of name or whatever. But I decided it’s my tranaversary, so that’s fifteen years today. So it’s interesting to kind of look back, because I’m not really someone who plans or has the skill or felt able to make plans for myself beyond like what am I doing in the next year maybe. So that’s quite an interesting perspective. I think I’m aware that I used to live in London and I just had blackness all around me, I didn’t have to seek it out. I didn’t have to have conversations around that in ways I’ve had here. And that has been, I mean, violating, is probably where I’m gonna start with, in many places. So I’m finding it quite hard to find a way to slot myself in here I think in many different regards.
Rudy: Some of the themes that were mentioned for this year’s World Pride, were around ‘safety’, and ‘equality’ and ‘inclusivity’, which for me are really loaded terms. What do these terms mean as Black trans people? What is our relationship to those words? Who gets to feel safe? And also what is the difference between equality and liberation as Black trans people? And what does it mean to be included into a system that was historically built on oppression?
Eden: Safety is as you said, a really loaded term. Most concepts of anything in our society revolves around whiteness as the norm and the centre. And for a lot of people when we say safety, they think of policing. They think of these structures following the rules and laws. But for us, you know, we’re not white, we’re not cis, and its different. Our safety isn’t the cops, our safety isn’t the law. Our safety is not, you know, the norm, like white people. That’s not safe for us. So we have when you think about the normal safety — being robbed, things like that, we have that stuff to worry about. But we also have the added layer of colonial violence, of oppressive violence, to worry about. And then we have how we have to wear masks to not stick out. To not be identified as different, because different is not safe to people who are living within the norm.
Levi: I think our safety is often rooted in just not making others feel unsafe. So our safety isn’t even about us, it’s about how we don’t disturb the room. That’s how we are seen as safe and non-threatening. And to not challenge, you know, like Eden was saying — to wear a mask but also to be silent. I’m not someone who is good at being silent. And so I probably had to take risks with my safety in ways I wouldn’t choose to. And I think especially in a culture where challenging the dominant culture, challenging beliefs, or just having a different opinion, is often met with “But that’s not how we do things here, that’s not how we think here, it’s not like that here”. And it’s like trying to reason with a drunk person sometimes. You’re saying the most obvious, simple, basic thing, but there’s no way that it can be heard. And in saying that you’re the aggressive person again, you know. So my version of safety is really in limiting how I interact, limiting the spaces I go and really thinking about where I’m investing my energy and what I’m getting back from it; which is quite sad because that’s not how I like to think I have to go through the world. But I’ve gotta survive, you know. I’m fed up of being a threat when I’m a softie, little fluffy thing.
Rudy: I feel like it’s so complicated as well because there are certain things about being in Sweden about people not wanting to get up in someone else’s business. It has meant that sometimes when I’m walking along the street I know that people are gonna leave me alone. They might think really shit things about you, but they might not necessarily say it. So for me it’s been really weird that there’s that side — and then on the other side when I think about safety I think about how we show up for each other. I think about how we take care of each other. Safety is a collective practice and that’s something that I have felt is really lacking in Sweden. So if something does happen to you, even in front of other people, no one is necessarily going to do anything. People don’t know how to react in those situations.
Eden: I have literally seen this in Sweden with a Romani woman being attacked by a white Swedish woman. Crowded street in Gothenburg on Järntorget, with a lot of bars under Långgatan. She asked for a cigarette from the white Swedish woman. And she just like flipped out on her. And said “Oh you want a cigarette?” And took snus out of her mouth and shoved it in the Romani woman’s face. It was before the pandemic, many years before the pandemic. Super crowded, a lot of people everywhere, busy night. And no one said anything. I said something. And people were looking at me like I was crazy. But it just baffled me that someone can do something so humiliating and degrading to someone else. And ok maybe she didn’t hit her, but it was violent still. And people just kind of stood there and watched. And like no one said anything, security was there. And it’s so funny security here, it’s like ok no I don’t want to go home to the US and get shot by a cop. I guess I will take getting beat up by ordningsvakt over being shot. But it’s still violent. It’s still aggressive. It still amazes that they were just sitting there being silent, watching this happen, they didn’t care.
Rudy: It’s like you said Levi, you can be silent and there might be some safety in being silent. But also there’s a lot of violence, like you just said Eden, in being silent as well. And I think about how we’re never gonna be lagom. None of our cultures have it in us to be like that, you know, to be quiet and try and blend in! I always felt that I’m loud, I laugh loudly and I wear bright coloured clothes. We’re never gonna be lagom.
Levi: I’m over the instant, but I’m going to describe something quite horrific. But to talk to the point that’s being made here. On an October afternoon about 3 o’clock. I’m on the subway and a guy not far from me is having a bit of a rant. I haven’t got a problem with that, because we all go through life expressing ourselves in different ways.
I can’t understand what he’s saying, so I’m just sitting there. I hadn’t realised, because my Swedish at that time was pretty non-existent, that he was talking to me. And when I didn’t respond, his solution was to reach to the knife by his side and threaten me with it. And so we’re on that stretch between Slussen/Gamla Stan/Centrum. It was busy. And it’s really clear what’s happening. I’m backed against the plexiglass and I’m at the end of the carriage. And people are looking. Nothing happened. And it’s clearly racist from what he’s saying. And I’m like I can’t rise to it. You’ve got a fucking knife. And I can’t go anywhere. So all I can do is just be still and be quiet and say yes to whatever he says. So he gets off, and I just turned and I shouted down the carriage at these people “How could you see that going on and do nothing? You’re as much a part of the problem as he is. How you saw that someone was being threatened by a knife and you chose to sit there. And even when he goes you don’t come and see if I’m ok, what is wrong with you? I hope you sleep ok tonight.”
And it was a Turkish woman who had just got on when he got off, who went “What happened? What happened here? Do you want me to sit with you? You’re upset. I don’t know what happened, but you’re upset.” And that moment which I am completely over, it’s never happened to me in the UK, I’ve lived briefly in the States, I’ve never had that real threat of physical violence. And it is such an experience that sums up so many spaces for me here. In that, even if we’re not the perpetrator, even if we’re not the instigator, we can see what’s happening but we can’t get involved and we don’t see that not getting involved is contributing to the experience of someone else right? I just don’t understand in a culture which sees itself as being so virtuous in so many other ways you know. Of course it was a person of colour that came and saw if I was ok. Of course, you know.
Rudy: I think of Sweden as being one of the most individualistic societies I’ve ever experienced. And I wonder if that plays a role in not standing up for each other. I feel like even as trans people, if you go through Anova, and go through the system, it’s like of course you can be trans. If you’re willing to do these things and then integrate into the lagom society.
Eden: [REDACTED] It’s like lagom is internalised. It’s like you have to be really good at what you do, but you can’t be too good. You can’t toot your own horn. You need to be humble. And it just results in this like internal struggle and self hatred. Like hearing your story Levi, it’s just mind baffling to me. A fucking knife? - how can no one say anything? How can no one do anything?
Levi: I can have some empathy for “Someone’s got a knife and I don’t want to be getting involved with someone with a knife”.
But when they left, and I was shook in a corner, that’s when I was really raged. Cos I’m like this guy is off his face on I don’t know, whatever, and it was clearly racist. But that no one was like “I filmed it” or “Take my number, do you want to go to the police?”. Or like no one was like “I’ve called the number up here to let the guard know”, no one. And that was the biggest shock, that people didn’t see that lack was a violating act.
I’ve asked this question about where does it come from. There’s this book from the 18th, 19th century. It includes this thing called the ‘Law of Jante’. So there’s this thing called ‘Jantelagenhet’. Which is basically this kind of modesty, and being humble and not wanting to stand out. Which I think is how it’s understood today, as a general singular principle. I’m involved with BDSM, I do a lot of D/s. These are like D/s, proper gaslighting phrases like “you’re not good enough”. In a consenting BDSM context I can go with that. But as a general unconscious way to run a society? So at the same time there’s this real national pride. It’s that real kind of lets put flags on buses, and walk around town with our flags on because it’s the National Day. But it’s this very kind of powerful singular identity and rooted in that is this kind of sense of “Oh but we’re all the same, and we are all being humble. And no you shouldn’t stand out. You shouldn’t say you’re good at something” because that’s to be immodest. And I think that these values do come back from this kind of ‘Law of Jante’ and this kind of how we are gonna run a culture, secular culture. They’re far out.
Rudy: If we think about the next phrase, which was thinking about equality. I just wanna bring us back to that idea of the difference between equality and liberation and what that might look like in the Swedish context.
Eden: I don’t want to be equal to the Swedish Jantelagen mindset. I do not want this at all, please, no thank you. I can say that wholeheartedly, that’s why I’m definitely pro liberation. If we are all going to be equal in this system we are all going to be oppressed by capitalism at the end of the day. So why would you choose that, who would choose that?
Rudy: There’s something about in the Swedish system there’s a very strong sense of you’re allowed to have this. And the this is very set. It really doesn’t bring in all the other stuff that doesn’t fit in that box, that other people already have. And I feel like there’s a really strong sense of that in Sweden. I just find it difficult to articulate and to get my head around. Because for me at least it also has something somehow to do with the fact that in the UK I’ve experienced a lot more hustler energy. And I feel like in Sweden there’s not very much hustler energy. And as Black trans people, often hustler energy is how people survive. And so how do you survive when there’s no space for the ways that you would usually survive?
Eden: Well that’s like the thing, I feel like with Sweden and what I mean by like we would all be oppressed by capitalism, I feel like Sweden has the idea that socialism is like the American dream. We all know now that the American dream is a myth. It’s a lie. And I try and explain to people what it’s like to live in Sweden, and what Sweden is like. I basically start off by saying Sweden has an amazing PR team. Sweden has an ideal of Sweden that it has exported to the world, as like this peaceful, egalitarian, you know, progressive country. And yes like there are things here that are progressive, there are things here that are socialist. But like that is not really like the depth of it. That’s just the surface and the PR. And so if we were to have equality in Sweden, it would just be like a cog in the machine. And I don’t think that’s something that we should strive for. I don’t wanna be equal to the people who are working class and being used and slowly becoming more and more in debt.
Levi: I really can’t stand the ‘love is love’ message that’s been adopted here to think about LGBTQ+ stuff. It’s originally flawed, it doesn’t work here. Why in this culture which says that everyone can be happy, everyone can have an education, bullshit bullshit bullshit, we’re kind of importing versions of what it is to be a successful queer, a successful trans person, a successful migrant? That can’t fit here. It’s really disingenuous and shallow and it ticks that box, “Oh but we’ve got some rainbow balloons so that means you can be included here”.
I mean I’ve got too many examples of absolute stupidity, like kind of trying to reason with drunk people. And I think one of the things that makes it very hard here is that I don’t feel like anyone has got our backs. [REDACTED] And the most that is expected of us is to fit in. That’s the aim that we are given. That’s success for us here, fitting in. Either you’re like us, you want to be like us, or we don’t like you. It’s not a big spectrum of inclusivity. I don’t need equality in that.
Eden: Being here I check too many of those boxes that are outside of the norm. So I don’t fit in, I can’t fit in. And I have to wear this mask. Reveal little by little parts of myself or like very gently make myself more palatable to the general population. My mentor when I was living in the US called it ‘gen pop’, general population. Some of the best advice she ever gave me was accepting you’re not gen pop and that’s ok. And if you need to pretend to be, to get through to this meeting or to get through to, you know, where your goals are then that’s what you gotta do. So it’s like that times a thousand here. It’s really just overwhelming at times, because I feel like being around in crowds and being in certain environments in Sweden, certain types of people in Sweden, like we’re talking about safety before — you know how you have to be safe towards other people? It’s exhausting. Short interactions, I’m completely drained afterwards. But I have to for my safety, for my own sanity. But I don’t want to be equal to them.
Rudy: [REDACTED] You either find a way to navigate it, making yourself blend in in some way. Or you have to deal with the fact that you stick out and that’s going to cause a problem.
Eden: You can stick out here if you’re popular. If you’re famous enough. If you’re rich enough. There’s certain qualifiers that will cancel that out. I’m not bougie — but somehow I’m able to hold my own in bougie spaces. I just kind of hold myself with a certain confidence. And I’ve noticed that when I am in certain spaces, people can sense that you don’t belong and I think they’re so used to the Swedish way of people being so self aware, and really caring what other people think, and that’s been my cloak. Like not giving a shit has been my cloak of protection in these spaces! So I feel like that’s kind of my way of gaming the system. Just being like, ok well I’m here and I belong wherever the fuck I wanna be so you can’t tell me otherwise, and that has been my protection in certain spaces. I do think that like in Sweden though it is a huge problem with this idea of what other people think of you and how you present to them. Cishet svenbanan people worry about what they look like to other people. So when you add the layer of being trans, or being an immigrant, or being not white or any sort of deviation from the norm, when you add that on top it gets amplified by a thousand.
Rudy: [REDACTED] There’s something about also having the audacity to take up space in Sweden in a separatist space as Black trans people, which feels quite unheard of. It’s still a very new idea compared to some other places. I feel like the UK and the US, where it’s like obviously not everyone is on board with it, but it’s happening already. And like, the idea that you would want a separatist space that is on an intersection is still a really shocking, audacious idea in Sweden. And I think it’s also partly to do with like how Sweden presents it’s history as not having had any involvement in the slave trade, which is obviously not true. Or like colonialism. And yeah maybe if we could just talk a bit about that, about this like trying to have an intersectional space for ourselves.
Levi: I kind of feel like when you were talking the image that came to mind for me was when the first bit of the pandemic happened here — in the supermarket there was everything in the supermarket apart from one massive empty aisle. And that aisle was instant mashed potato. And I’m like, come the pandemic, that is the last fucking thing I want to be eating. And I kind of feel like saying you want to have a separatist space is kind of like saying “You enjoy your mashed potato and your brown sauce and that’s fine. But me and my friends are going to eat over here”. There’s such belief in this bland, mediocre, unnourishing, unsatisfying, uninteresting thing to have in your mouth as what you should be hungry for, that when you say “No, I’m gonna be over here and we’re going to be eating something different”, that you might not want to eat or you’re just not invited to eat, then it’s like you’ve picked up that food and thrown it in someone’s face. And it’s seen as a really aggressive thing. But you’re just saying, I just want to be somewhere else. And I’m not going to take any of your instant mash away from you, I promise, you can have it all. But it’s like “But why don’t you want my instant mash?”
It feels like if we say we want spaces, we’re saying we don’t want something that’s really personal to someone else. Rather than respecting “That’s really personal to you and I’m going to do the thing that’s personal to me elsewhere” And why’s that? Why can there not be space for that? There’s an actual genuine offence, people are offended that you would want space. You don’t like it when I’m in the room, but when I say I’m going to take myself out of that room you don’t like it either.
Eden: I did the first Black History Month Cabaret in Sweden. And it would have been illegal for me to offer free tickets to Black people, because of equality. Someone could have reported me and I would have been penalised for it, because I wouldn’t offer the free tickets also to everyone else. In doing some collaboration with the Sex Workers’ Union, I’ve discovered that Sweden doesn’t keep statistics on certain things like race. So we can’t even get a quantitative measure so that we can do studies, proper studies, on certain things.
Eden: Even in interpersonal relationships I’ve noticed you just kind of ignore any issues, you don’t talk about it. If they bring up the issue then it’s suddenly like you’re being confrontational. And coming from a society where you know, if you don’t talk to somebody like we’re beefing. Like if you remember the Cardi B line in the song — I remember that song Bodak Yellow came out while I was living here. And this line just resonated with me so strongly, she was like “If I see you and you don’t speak to me, I don’t fuck with you.” But that’s like the Swedish way! People don’t speak to you. People who you’ve met four, five, six, seven times at a party, or at work, or just like common circle of friends, like you know that person, they don’t speak to you. They don’t acknowledge your existence.
Eden: I feel like really we should be saying Black, Indigenous, People of Colour. I feel that abbreviating it and saying it as a new word dilutes it and makes it more othery and more distant from what it means. It gives white people a luxury of being able to look the other way and not really digest the full weight of what it means. I feel like no one is going to look up what ‘BIPOC’ means. And it takes longer to get into the general lexicon. So I feel like abbreviating it in text makes sense, because you’re typing. But I feel like when we speak it, it should be said completely, because I feel like it’s easier to not care and not really think about what it is we’re saying and fighting for when it’s just this kind of new trendy term that people don’t really know what it means or like why we’re saying it.
Levi: To my mind it really depends on who I’m talking to. So like in this space, as I did, I would say ‘BPOC’. But actually maybe there’s something about the self care lacking in doing that. I think a lot about being trans, and about being Black and trans, is about how we take up space. And even allowing myself to use that language in these spaces isn’t something I’ve thought about.
Rudy: It’s also important to say that in Swedish there is no term for this. That the closest thing you know is either ‘rasifierades personer’, which is not the same thing, because that’s just anybody who is racialised for whatever reason as non-Swedish. There’s no word in the language for it. Most of the time I just say Black because I feel like there’s also been a lot of issues around conflating the experiences of Black people with the experiences of People of Colour.
Eden: That’s a huge conversation. Non-Black People of Colour can be incredibly incredibly anti-Black. So we do need in certain circumstances to talk about anti-Blackness versus racism.
Levi: When I’m getting shit service somewhere, I turn into a version of someone’s grandmother. They’re looking at me expecting me to be an angry Black person. And I just turn into like this performance of an old white woman, that’s how I kind of navigate myself out of places. We are three people who a version of English is our first language. And I think here we have a fucking massive advantage because I got stopped by the police and I was like I’m just about to audition for Downtown Abbey. I’m using my best, poshest, Radio 4, white, middle class language, the longest words I can pull out of my arse at any moment; because I know they’ll have that hunger to keep up with me. It’s a real weapon that I have in my pocket there. So I’m very aware that I have a massive privilege in that. Also, I’m a lighter skinned Black person.
Eden: I can turn on my Valley girl accent and be fine. And I can make myself definitely more palatable to like white experience. It’s code switching and it’s how we survive.
Rudy: When we have the power to create the future that we want to call into the present, what does this look like? What might be some structures or strategies that are helpful in navigating out of our current frameworks into something where our existence isn’t an afterthought? What are some of the words or ideas that could be built upon to create a future that centres Black trans existence? What is something you would like to call in or manifest?
One of my favourite quotes is from the Black sci-fi author Octavia Butler. She said “So be it! See to it!” And she would write these manifestations for herself where she would write them in the present, “I am a bestselling author” and then at the end she would write “So be it! See to it!” And I just love that because she was manifesting what she needed into existence. So I just wondered if we could spend a bit of time now thinking about what is that we want to manifest in terms of Black trans presents, not even futures, because we need it right now.
Eden: First of all that is so beautiful, “So be it! See to it!” And it’s funny to me how, this like old old adage of like ‘Work twice as hard for half as much’ comes, because even just saying “So be it!” That’s work in itself. That’s manifestation, that’s magic. It’s calling upon your ancestors to look after you and to guide you and to have your back. I feel like the “Look to it!” Is redundant. I really do. I feel like we are so ingrained in our minds as Black people that we have to work so hard, for so little, for the very basics. That we even have to add in that little adage. And I love Octavia Butler, don’t get me wrong, I’m not shitting on her. The “look to it!” I’m examining that from this perspective of like we are expected to work so fucking hard for so fucking little.
The luxury of rest is something I’ve thought about a lot in this pandemic, because we work so hard and we are judged by our ability to endure, our ability to do so much. I wanna see Black people, I wanna see Black trans people, I wanna see us chilling. I wanna see us laying out in the sun. I wanna see us taking naps. I wanna see us taking four day weekends. I wanna see us just chilling. That’s what I wanna see, that’s luxury to me! Like, pampering ourselves, and it doesn’t have to be with like, a lot of money. I wanna see us with a lot of money too, do not get me wrong. If you want designer, I wanna see you in designer. If you wanna get a massage down, I wanna see you get a massage head to toe. But if your idea of luxury is having a long weekend, your bills are paid, your needs are taken care of, you’re not worried about surviving, what you’re doing is just relaxing — I wanna see that. That’s what I wanna manifest for us. I wanna see us so far gone away from the struggle that we are just actually a bit soft. We don’t have to be hard.
Levi: I find that really moving. I’m not very good at saying what I want for myself and I’m not someone who knows very well how to enjoy relaxing. So for someone to wish that for us, yeah, is really lovely to hear.
What do I wanna manifest? I think it’s a confidence in aspiring for what I want to aspire for and without feeling that I have to defend it, to argue for it. I don’t know how to say “This is what I want for myself, this is what I want for my future” I’m not someone who has seen themselves having a future in terms of in five, ten years this is my goals. It’s not an experience of mine. In many ways I have a fucking comfortable life. I would like to learn how to relax in myself, I’m relaxed in what I do have around me. I feel guilty all the time. I’d like to not feel like I’m not doing enough. And it’s kind of weird in this culture like you said earlier, it’s like, I kind of wanna hustle. I wanna be bibbin over here badabadabader. But it feels like here, that’s putting your shoulder into a really massive intractable boulder, like and trying to just walk in one direction. And I actually just wanna stop and walk away from walking in that direction, you know? And find different paths. So I think I want for us a lot of the relaxing and taking four day weekends and not feeling I have to justify it. I mean, I want people to get whatever support and care they need if that’s from community, if that’s from health providers, if that’s from the fucking legal bullshit. I’m hesitant to use this word in this context because I know this is World Pride, but I think pride is a real particular Black quality and our sense of pride I don’t think is about wearing rainbow socks. I’d like us to feel our pride on our own terms.
Rudy: It might be a strange thing for some people to hear, but I feel like what I really want for Black trans people is for all of us to enjoy being alive. And something that you just said Levi touched on this, which is like never imagining that you’re gonna live very long. So you don’t know how to plan for the future, because you are constantly living in this moment and dealing with this moment that the idea that you can be an elderly Black trans person just living your wonderful retired life, is really unimaginable. We don’t have very many examples of this, and I think it makes people destructive. And I would just really like to see us thrive in ways that are nourishing for us to lead long lives. To be able to have generations. To have the little Black trans babies and the Black trans elders in the same room. And for us to have some thread of what that actually looks like. And feel held by each other’s existence in a way that’s not like just about this moment right now.
Eden: There’re so many people who live their lives like, they don’t get to really say what they think and feel. They don’t get to really present themselves as they feel. And I don’t think that’s fair. That’s what I manifest for us, being our authentic selves. Whether it’s around our own people, or whether it’s around whiteness. Just for us to exist and be our true selves in any space. I manifest a place or like a time where we don’t have to have separatist spaces. Of course I understand the need for it. But can we please just be us? Like, it’s horrible because yes it’s nice to be around other Black people. But there’s like still transphobia in the community. And it’s so dangerous for us, with our own people. So it’s dangerous with whiteness, it’s dangerous with people who don’t think we should exist. Even being non-binary, I don’t know if privilege is the right word, but its a certain safety in that. Because I can just always pretend to be a girl, pretend to be a woman. I can pass very easily. And I feel like that’s you know, in some ways it’s a privilege and in some ways it’s not. But it’s like I just wish that freedom to be yourself, completely in all spaces and we don’t have that. We don’t. It’s sad. When you’re in the intersection, of like different oppressions — you’re Black, and you’re also trans and maybe you’re also gay or pan. I’m pan. So it’s like how do you explain that? These terms that are like relative like they’re not really new, but they’re new. And it’s like how do you explain that to your community? And like when you go to certain spaces they’re very white spaces, but you feel accepted for one part of your identity. And then you go into other spaces and maybe there’s more Black people but maybe there’s certain family members who are very transphobic, or homophobic or both. How do you navigate that? I just want to see a place where you can fucking be yourself completely. No masks. No navigating like you know “I can’t talk about certain things that are a part of my life, but you know mean a lot to me” in certain spaces that mean a lot to me. Certain people won’t understand, am I safe here? That’s something too, I wanna abolish that. This feeling of am I safe here? I would like to manifest that being completely gone, poof. More than anything else, wouldn’t that just be amazing? To just be like, no matter where you are in the world, no matter who you’re with, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re safe.
Levi: I think maybe talking to that a little bit is how we are seen. And I think I’d like to manifest being seen and being desired and feeling like sexually embodied for who we are.
Eden: I feel like that’s a touchy subject because that can unlock another two hours of this conversation!
Rudy: I was gonna say, like if we start talking about fucking desirability like that’s a whole next thing!
Eden: Yep that’s a heavy one, for sure! But it’s so true. It’s so true and it’s so needed.
Rudy: When you envision yourself nourished, what does that look like for you? And as a way of manifesting it, you can start to say “I am…” and then say what that thing is for you. So I would close my eyes and I would picture myself having what I need, feeling resourced, feeling nourished, feeling like I can be myself, feeling rested, like what that looks like for me. And as a way of calling that into the present I would say - I am painting, and reading, and tending to my plants. I am in love, and I am loved, and I am sharing my love. And I feel grounded in my body. And I feel like I am spending my time doing the things that I want to be doing. And I feel really happy to be alive and I am really held by a community of people that I really love. And I’m really happy to be here. And I am calling that into the present.
Levi: I am in the sunshine. I am wearing orange. I have got a full belly. I am feeling happy. I am able to feel the love of the people around me who cherish me.
Eden: Alright, so with all my needs met, and with everything as it should be, I am creative. I am energetic. I am thriving. I am not feeling like I miss being in my relationships. I am surrounded by friends and have time for family. I am thriving and happy.
Rudy: Thank you, this is a practice that I really want to encourage in all Black people. I’m just really thankful that you took this time to have this conversation and I just appreciate your wisdom and your vulnerability and it’s just this is what I wanted to do. For us to just have a space for ourselves and feel like yeah we — it’s important that we make space for this.
Eden: I just feel really energised by this and really like you know like I said earlier, I miss it. I manifest this for us! Just being in these spaces and just being around each other and just supporting each other.
Rudy: Thank you both