Druid in the City: One Black Woman’s Loathe Letter


“Disillusionment, despair, isolation, fear, and loneliness… It is in these ways, society can make monsters of us all.”

Natalie Lawrence

Being queer is being together but also being alone. Honestly, for most of us, being alone is our greatest fear. Having no one who understands you. Having no one who values you, who sees you as you see yourself. It’s a very real and valid fear. One that drives us to hold back. It is this fear that ultimately forces all of us to accept behaviors and situations that we otherwise know we shouldn’t.

No matter how much we try, this fear is reinforced. Being here, in China, without the relative familiarity of my home culture that attempted, in some ways, to dull the pain of social rejection, I feel naked to the constant, consistent efforts made to reinforce this fear by killing my humanity. I am unseen. I am forced into the shadows. I am an evil that brings terror. I have to deal with the ever-mounting fear of me by those around me. Seeing the fear in the gazes of people, I came to a realization.

“Maybe love was some combination of friendship and infatuation. A deeply felt affection accompanied by a certain sort of awe. And by gratitude. And by a desire for a lifetime of togetherness.”
― Chinelo Okparanta, Under the Udala Trees

I am a monster. That’s what I am here.

I am called a monster for many reasons. I am Black. I am Queer. I am a woman. I am pagan. These are interpreted as being a threat, being disgusting, being weak, and being demonic respectively. By nearly every measure of the dominant culture here, I am a monster. One of the worst kinds. Here in China, I have been forced to take on more of a monstrous role than ever before. People literally flee when they see me. Hide their children away. Doubt my sentience. They are convinced of my “pure evil” from just a passing glance. It would almost be comical if it didn’t constantly force me to face the monster that others see when they look at me. What has this examination of people’s reflection of me yielded?

The desire, like the great monsters of old, to disappear into a deep dark cave, retreat to the deep forest, or haunt abandoned places. It has also given me a renewed desire to find community. Where are my fellow monsters? I seek them out because they are the ones most likely to understand me. The ironic tragedy though is that within a community of monsters, what should be a place of shared struggle for some, others take as the perfect arena on which to put on full display their utter grotesqueness.

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Perhaps the most important thing I have discovered is a deep loathing for the world around me. It has been a slow-building feeling that I have tried to ignore, but no longer can.

I am angry.

On an almost daily basis, I am absolutely, positively seething with anger. Anger at the place that continues to devalue my existence. Angry at the people that see a thing not a person. Angry at the restraint and control I have to maintain to survive.

“I was finding myself forced to acknowledge that the limit of my imagination was by no means the limit of the world.”
― Chinelo Okparanta, Under the Udala Trees

Often I want to let loose. Like a werewolf tearing through a village or a Lovecraftian horror causing madness in my wake, I want to be the terrible monster they believe me to be. Let me prowl the nights. Let me bring disease. Let me disgrace the virgins. Let me destroy civilization. Let this monster have even an ounce of the destructive power you believe me to have, then watch as I use it to make the world burn.

I definitely would die, but it would be in a blaze of glory. Finally free from the fear. Let me be the monster society makes me to be. At least then, I’d finally have a chance to be alive.

Photos: Unsplash

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