*Pride: A Deeper Love
This can’t be happening! Not now, God. Of all times…I found myself unable to walk unassisted two weeks from Pride. The constant pain in my legs reminded me that something as simple as an infection could wreak havoc on my compromised immune system. My doctors hastily scheduled a battery of tests to determine whether I was having a flare-up due to my brain disorder, Neurosarcoidosis. My stomach dropped as conversations of hospitalization and surgery surfaced.
I was running out of time. I threw myself into editing the final draft of the third installment of my Pretty Boy Blue trilogy, The Evolution of Nikki Blue to distract myself. The deadline to submit the draft to my publisher was days away. Anxiety set in as my friend confirmed my live reading on the first Saturday of Gay Pride at his restaurant. That day happened to fall on my 55thbirthday. I was in awe of how God had lined people up in my life to help make my dreams come true.
The excitement was heightened by the impending birth of my third grandchild. The thought of my grandchild being born on my birthday was more than I could have ever dreamed of. Joy and adrenalin overshadowed the pain as I remained determined to achieve my goals. My sister’s concern that I was not well enough weighed heavily on my mind. She begged me to consider canceling the event. My eyes welled with tears as I admitted that my body and mind were tired. I felt like I was wasting away, physically, mentally and emotionally. Battling a chronic illness was taking its toll. I didn’t know if I had any more fight in me. I needed this win to keep from giving up.
I reminisced on my childhood. I thought I was the only little girl who liked other girls. I dreamt of being able to love whomever I chose without judgment or discrimination. I wanted to be a role model for others who were struggling with their sexuality. I wanted to love and be loved, freely. I longed to be an example of what is possible.
I thought of my ancestors whose shoulders I stand on…like the late James Baldwin. Would he be proud of me for accomplishing all the things society said I couldn’t? Would my existence dredge up his experience of moving to abroad when his own country did not celebrate him as a Black, gay author?
I thought of LGBTQ advocate and playwright, Lorraine Hansberry. Would she inspire me to pursue my dreams of becoming a playwright? Would she encourage me, an out and proud lesbian author to boldly craft narratives that are rarely celebrated?
I thought of Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two Transgender women of color who stood at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots that incited a new era of the LGBTQ movement in 1969.
I imagine the stories they could tell in their fight for equality. They helped pave the way for me to become who I’m becoming. In that moment, I thought of my legacy. I realized that my legacy is not my own. I thought of the deeper love I have for my grandchildren, specifically the one who will be my Gemini twin.
Would he or she have similar characteristics of mine? Would they be as fearless as I had been in my youth? When I am long gone, my grandchildren will be able to boast that their grandmother lived her authentic life during a time when it was not widely accepted.
I woke up the morning of my event and ignored the aches and pain that pulsed through my body. I smiled when I thought of God’s Grace and Mercy.
To celebrate my 55thbirthday on the first Saturday of Gay Pride as I launched my third novel while waiting for my grandchild to enter this world was a blessing I will cherish forever…and that is why this Pride has a deeper love for me.
Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States Army. She is the author of the Pretty Boy Blue Trilogy (Pretty Boy Blue – 2nd Edition, The Darkest Shade of Blue and The Evolution of Nikki Blue) available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble. Pickett is an advocate for the LGBTQ community. For more information on Monika M. Pickett, please visit www.MonikaMPickett.com