Something Positive for Positive People Episode 113: The Radical Audacity to be Yourself
There’s far too much to be said about this interview with David Wraith. I’ll start with just expressing my gratitude. As a cis-gendered heterosexual black man in the sex positive space, I often feel out of place because I find it difficult to find anyone who looks like me that I can learn etiquette from as it applies to the layers of my existence in the eyes of society.
I met David at a Sex Positive St. Louis Happy Hour. I remember the words, “Yeah I’m a cis-het polyamorous, kinky . . . “ I forget the rest and I was like “WHOA! That dude looks like me!” and I damn near cried out of excitement and felt like I wasn’t out of place. There’s judgment that society projects onto black men. There’s this internalized communal belief that because there’s already so much stacked against us, we have to be perfect in every way. If we have a flaw or do something that “black men don’t do” then we’re supposed to compensate another way.
The big question here though is, whose definition of perfect are we going off of? My family raised me to keep me alive. They told me what I had to do, but I unlearned much of the protection based mechanisms and realized it was on me to learn who I had to be. That was most important to me. And being true to myself, as great a challenge that is, may be the single most important piece of life that we miss out on.
I’ve gotten crap for being black and dating outside my race, liking “white people shit” like anime and comics, for being too proper, being too this thing that black men aren’t seen doing, or that thing black men aren’t seen doing. I’m not gonna just stop being who I am, but I notice I’ve inhibited my being around certain people and in certain environments because of my chosen lifestyle. David Wraith said something that hit me hard in terms of one of my core values, freedom. He said, “If my choices are limited by history, then I’m not free”. He also said you have to obey the politics of what makes your dick hard and your pussy wet. Each of these statements made me challenge my own belief of whether or not I was actually living my truth.
I’ve lied to myself for a long time, and it took for me to have the approval of someone who is living with the radical audacity to be themselves for me to have seen my insecurity around embracing who I am reflecting back to me. I am extremely proud not only of this episode, but of what conversations this podcast episode has the potential to start. David fits into no boxes and he gave me the validation I needed to live outside of that as well. I am at a place now where I can proudly say I am who I am. I have labels others give me but i don’t have to live up to those expectations. I set my own standards of being and choose to uphold my values in the process. From here on out, I choose to live as David teaches us to in this podcast episode, with the radical audacity to be ourselves.