A PanAfricanist Queer Womanist Collective
Mercy has spent the past 21 years trying to figure out who they* are. This is a sneek-peak into what they’ve discovered.
I’ve tried on different persona’s, both on and off stage, different relationship-roles concerning power-dynamics, labels. And I think I’ve finally reached a stage in my life where I’m easy about all of this shit. I’m calming down and realizing that one thing I do NOT have pertaining to my identity is permanance. And that is perfectly okay, in my opinion.
So with that, allow me to reintroduce myself, or rather to officially introduce myself to the fam that occupies and engages with this space.
I am a mentally ill brown queer kid hailing from the eastern burbs of Joburg, Mzansi. I’m a survivor of various forms of abuse and a flawed, wounded negotiator of gentleness and compassion. I love deeply. Maybe even eternally. I’ve played around in so many of the different fields of the queer spectrum that I’m comfortable labelling myself a “grey area” queer kid. I’ve done the femme-bi-turned-lesbian thing. I’ve done the andro-turned-stud lesbian thing. Reverted to bi/panness and discovered myself to be deeply affiliated with trans*ness and gender-non-conformity. I’m currently exploring a part of myself that strongly feels inclined to do drag. My gender identity and sexuality are very queer and defiant of all binarisms. My preferred pronouns are they/their(s)/them because of the multiplicity of my overall identity.
I’ve changed my names thousands of times over my childhood years, keeping many of my preferred ones hidden from people who know/knew my “legal” ones. Now I am Mercy, or Medusa, or Immanuel or Thokozane. My chosen last name is non-variant, Minah. None of my chosen names hold higher rank than any of the others; I like seeing which of them various people are drawn towards when I give them the options. However, I don’t take kindly to folks addressing me with some name I haven’t given my consent to.
I LOVE CONSENT. Everything that is right and beautiful about life centers around consent in my opinion. It’s the biggest and best part of negotiating gentleness and mostly getting it right.
So -okay, let me not get side-tracked- back to talking about myself *twirls*.
I am an artist. I sketch/draw/paint and sing, write prose, poetry, songs and blog-type-essays. I act, really well. I create and dream constantly. I draw inspiration from [cliche alert] people, from life, from everything, really. A lot of my ideas are cooped up in my head with no time or space for an outlet. I guess that stems from the fact that so much of who I am is hidden (closeted).
I have a tricky, painful relationship with a domineering parent who makes it very difficult for me to be wild and free.
I am a loner, mostly. I really dig my own company. And yeah, it’s true, being alone is ideal for creativity. So, figures, right? I guess keeping to myself also has a lot to do with how difficult I believe it is for people to be around me, to engage with me or like/love me. I’m complicated. Lol.
I love food. All kinds of fresh, healthful, fried, rich, dry, tasty, bad-for you, good-for-you food. If it tastes good, I’ll have it. I prefer juice over soda, tea over coffee and beer over cocktails & ciders. And. I love wine and vodka. I smoke. A lot. Cigs, mostly. Blunts, sometimes. I have vices. I have no shame about them.
I’m a non-believer of western/eurocentric/abrahamic religions or eastern spirituality or african traditionalism. I just don’t have a moral compass that’s linked to supernatural understanding or faith or belief. I’m at peace with this. I’m at peace with the fact that for some people, faith and belief is necessary and beautiful and life-saving.
I do take issue with the centralization of some religions as moral guides for legislation that dictates how some folks ought to live their lives. I hate hate hate systems of oppression and their privilege-infused prejudice and bigotry. [Eugenics, racism, misogyny, ableism, homo/bi-phobia, trans*/gnc-phobia, cissexism, shadism, classism I’m looking at you.] I don’t trust eurocentric science/psychology or biology much, because I feel like – for the most part – they don’t consider the importance of human diversity.
I am a masculine of center feminist. My feminism is really hard but very simple to explain I guess. It’s rooted in compassion. In restoring the self worth of people who’ve been stripped of their dignity by various forms of oppression. It excludes no one. It isn’t exclusive to any one gender or sexuality or identity or class or ethnicity. It stretches far and wide and gives hugs and kisses and exchanges books art and music for free and celebrates sex as well as celibacy or asexuality and differently shaped/abled bodies and minds and psyches and narratives.
I love it when people defy the status quo and are wild and free and unique. I love it when people are kind and tough and hard and vulnerable and real.
I love the blues, jazz, rock/metal, hip-hop, dubstep, country, afropop, opera, gospel and almost everything in between. I love all kinds of books and movies, actors/actresses, authors, poets and various kinds of performers.
I’m a rebel at heart. Give me rules and I’ll destroy them. Give me respect and I’ll adore you.