Facing the Pacific Ocean, I took off my tshirt. It was the first time baring my chest publicly. I beheld my moment only a short while before another bare chested man walked by.
“Whoa!” I shouted back.
“Where you from?”
“I’m from the Caribbean Sea – this coast touches the Pacific Ocean and the other coast touches the Caribbean Sea. I’m from that side.”
I gave him a dap and touched my heart – a sign of kinship.
Had I not already had my ‘moment’, he would have been bothering me, as he went on to share about how beautiful and humble the forested areas were. In the way that I am always fascinated by people’s lives and stories, I listened to him. I shared as well about the Grande Riviere experience and how this felt like it.
Although David’s eyes never drifted to my chest, there were other clues that he unearthed in the time speaking so that I saw his interaction with me shift slightly. From the beginning, I knew he might ask me for something but he was assessing what might be most appealing for me to give him. He had learned the masked humans’ game of gratification. What would I feel most served in giving him, if he asked for it? He decided, based on what he felt he had discovered, that selling himself sexually was the thing I would be most likely prone to want. He had decided that my physical alterations were a sign that I would want him sexually. He found a way to let me know that he was okay with receiving money for letting me please myself through the adulation of his male body.
I gave him bread instead.
There is so much that one can learn, by remaining open beyond offense. I was not slighted when, upon the exchange of bread, he said, “Thank you sister” and I corrected him, “brother”. He insisted, “sister” and I repeated myself, “brother”.
David thought he ‘knew’, and that that knowing was enough to render me submissive to what he thought he had figured out. I knew more than that, and in that moment, I knew more than him. Looking at the world through the eyes of my soul, I saw more of the world.
I was not burdened by trying to hide anything or sway conversations away from or toward anything. My eyes were unfettered by the weight of masking. I was able to see David’s hunger pierce through the thin veil of his friendliness. He was a friendly man, so beside his material conflicts and addictions, this was also true of him.
My eyes were no longer peering out at the world through a sealed glass window, tinted by the portrayal of womanhood. I was performing my most heartfelt self, so there was nothing that David could undo with his unearthing. I knew everything he knew. My body doesn’t make me less of a man, so there is no reason to hide my body, no matter how close or far it is from affirming my manhood.
Unveiling my body in its raw form is a matter of how near or far I am from living out my inside story. I don’t see the world through David’s eyes. I see them through my own, and I live it out. I love myself out of me.
This ..is The Outers. Living from the inside..out.
~ excerpt from ‘The Outers’ by Jan Berry