Black and white are colors we’ve been hearing a lot about lately. Well, if I could pause and be a nerd for just a second, neither of these are colors, but rather, illusions. Black is the presence of all colors and white is the absence of color. Okay, so I really just want to talk about gray today.

I wrote a poem when I was in college titled, Uncertainty. In it, I rendered the somber and mixed feelings of having alternative sexual feelings but also being spiritual. I lived on Seaver Street, and there were two Catholic churches, each a 15-minute walk away. One of them did their service in Spanish and the other did their service in English. I interchangeably went to both. I didn’t know enough Spanish to follow along for the entire service but it felt good. It felt so good knowing that I did not have to know everything to feel what I felt – the awe and softness that reverence brought to my life. In the same breath, as I walked to either church every Sunday, I would always think about my unresolved feelings about who I was prone to love.

In my expression of myself, masculinity defines me. I am more masculine than I am feminine, but these are not genders. I was designated woman at birth and that’s fine. We need something to put in the box, yea? Whether I remove my breasts or not, take the hormones or not, I will still be a woman AND a man. This is MY experience. Even as I write this, I am uncertain, because I wonder to myself if I will want more. Will I want more after I’ve done the things that will push my physical self into a new expression of my spirit self. I also stand the chance of being MORE misunderstood if I press forward. I focus rather, on the fact that I am shining light on an area that we don’t see clearly enough to think of as anything but ‘transient’. It’s seen as transitional, instead of being an actual place. I embrace that gray place. I am a ‘JanBerry’…fruit of my own tree. There is no one like me, and there is no one like you either. Own it. Embrace it.

I feel like the reason most people need to know whether you are a man or a woman is to know how to treat you..which biases to employ. The people that have seen me have felt me with their hearts – and used the eyes that aren’t on their face. I think from those eyes, perhaps everything looks gray, because you can always feel the tension between multiple perspectives of the same truth.

Recently, I told my brother that I was going to be making some changes to my body, and immediately he assumed that I wanted to transition all the way to male. I do not, but this is an expression of that inclination humans have towards seeing something as one or the other, and their being nothing in between. I am ‘in between’. I am gray. I am both/and…but I get it, ampersands are never the focus of a sentence when it’s used. Ampersands are a gray area.

‘Ands’ recognise a sameness that we cannot always express in words, but we lean into it. The ‘ands’ have it? I dunno, I felt like this writing needed a cute ending..but shit, maybe it doesn’t and…

– JanBerry. 26June2020. 6.23am

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