Why I Joined MiC: Dierra Barlow
I’ve known I was queer for as long as I can remember, in the sense that means odd or unusual according to the dictionary. It’s taken me some time, and deep introspection, to accept my identity as a queer black woman; six years, to be precise. Through both of my queer journeys, I’ve taken up space within spaces that don’t accept me. On both voyages, I’ve traversed life’s waters silently, completely isolated. As my life drifted down a surreptitious path, I always had words to guide me.
As a young girl, writing, listening, and talking were my favorite past times. I’d write poetry and stories about whatever I was feeling at the time, and eavesdrop while the adults conversed about topics they assumed I had no grasp of. I conversed religiously about anything from school to sports, realizing that one’s guard can be dismantled over the course of a conversation. I listened in church as preachers shouted to the heavens, their words deeming my identity a sin. I wrote phrases that detailed the pain of loneliness and the anger of ignorance. I discussed my hopes and dreams with unwavering eloquence and pride. As I grew older, the silence reserved for my pen and ears turned into dialogue, and my conversations convicted ignorant rhetoric. I wrote scripts with characters who represented resistance and power and freedom. They gave sound to the silence that laid dormant within my own being. I debated with my family, standing firm in my beliefs, as they attempted to discredit my ideas.
Upon transferring to Michigan this year, I longed for a place to match my resistance with my power and my power with my freedom. I longed for a community where I felt validated in all of my identities. I found it in MiC. Michigan in Color gives voices to those just like me. It gives sound to the stories that would easily die within the frame of worn out diary, or in the mind of a queer black woman. It gives power to those who feel isolated and alone, simply through the dissemination of one’s story, through one’s conversation. I joined MiC to tell my story, in hopes that my many voyages could make it easier for someone going through similar ones. Through this experience, I hope to acquire more resistance, power, and freedom, eternally and unapologetically claiming my space in the world as a queer black woman.