I never thought I'd say this, but after living in South West Michigan for the past three years, it's great to be back home! I've come to the conclusion that Chicago is a fantastic city to live in with much to offer. Prior to my departure for Kalamazoo, I'd become fed up with the city because it represented all of my frustrations and failures.
However, after experiencing life in a rural area, I've developed a new appreciation for the challenges that a big city provides. My three-year retreat has given me a new understanding of who I am in the bigger scheme of things and the direction that I want for my life.
Prior to leaving, I experienced a serious bout of tunnel vision. Basically, I found it difficult to see the forest for the trees. In other words, prior to my departure, I'd found it more difficult to ignore the negative events of my life, which were causing me great stress. My struggle with this tunnel vision actually helped my son to persuade me to join our family in Allegan, Michigan. This is a small Mayberry-like town, with few Blacks, in an area that is very racist. However, I gave in to his pressure and we headed to Michigan to begin a new chapter in our lives.
The first thing that I looked for in the Kalamazoo area was a Black lesbian community. Unfortunately, the only gay life in that area existed in white male bars that were also frequented by white wimyn. On my third visit to one of these bars, I finally ran into a Black lesbian. From my brief conversation with her, it was clear that I'd entered an environment that was void of Black lesbian culture. I was doomed. So, I wound up putting all of my time and energy into my jobs, my son, and observing my strange new home.
Initially, there seemed to be a lot of white dykes in the grocery stores. They wore that old uniform: jeans, boots, flannel shirts, and had cropped hair. As it turned out, those flannel shirt wearing wimyn were not dykes at all, just hard working farmers. I should have realized this right away since many farms surrounded me. But, I guess my desperation to find some wimyn like me made me stereotype them immediately; of course I felt guilty.
But, my greatest challenge while there was avoiding the deer that ran onto the highways and roads, especially late at night. There were many close calls with various animals on dark roads, some made it, and some didn't; I rolled over a snake, squirrel, and some other unidentified creatures. They paraded around like they own the place during off-season, but run for their life during hunting season. Every fall, my mother puts feed around her seven acres of land to fatten up the deer and wild turkey, while my brother anxiously awaits the start of hunting season—I never touched the stuff, yuck! Yep, I was definitely out my element, no sistahs ... just Bambi and Mother Nature.
In the end, I decided that it was a good thing that the Black lesbian population was limited, no stress and no emotional roller coasters; or so I thought. Hey, there comes a time when a sistah gets lonely and any dyke will do for companionship. Let's just say that I managed to escape an unwanted relationship with a Black sistah who was aching for fresh Black meat (I told her to move to a big city), and I avoided the mating call of one determined white butch dyke with my boxers and sports bra intact (she didn't understand Black stud culture). Whew! That was scary.
Even though I'm glad to be home, I'll miss my mom and the rest of my family. But more than anything else, I'll miss my son who's off to a college in Michigan—it was a great move for him and I'm proud of his achievements.
As for me, it's time to jump back into the fierce competition for employment and the never-ending drama that I see as life happening around me. My life begins anew.
As a special friend always says, 'Bring It!'