I’ve finally, FINALLY, started watching the HBO series True Blood! Yes, I’m two seasons late; however, as they say, “Better late than never!”
Anyway, all I can say is “WOW!” This show is right up my alley: vampires (I LOVE Vampires, particularly those of the Anne Rice variety), mystery, psychic powers, Gothic flair, hot guys, and bad ass women. However, my favorite character on the show (from what I’ve seen so far) is definitely Lafayette! I love, love, LOVE Ms. Lafayette chile! (lol)
First of all I happen to adore the African American characters on True Blood: Tara, Lafayette, and Tara’s mother (season two has that FINE Mehcad Brooks! Can’t wait to see that one). These are REAL black people (lol). Hold up, slow yo roll, don’t get it twisted, I’m not at all stating that there is a real way to be black. Quite the contrary actually (and the crux of this post). To me these characters are real because there is so much lower middle class authenticity. I KNEW people like this in my neighborhood (still do).
I’m feeling Lafayette most of all. Not only is he a wonderful OUT (No DL Chronicles over here ::Snap!::) gay black male character but Lafayette doesn’t fit any particular stereotype. Honey, Lafayette wears make up and sports timberland boots. He walks around waving a church lady fan, but also works part-time as a construction worker. Lafayette is just as in touch with his masculinity as he is his femininity.
I was held enthrall by the beauty and audaciousness of the character. Lafayette could NOT be defined. He is just Lafayette! He fits his own mold and sets his own standards.
It really got me to thinking…
Why do we allow other people to define who we are? What is so inherently difficult about writing our own definitions? Aren’t we the ones who know ourselves best? After all, we wake up in our bodies and lie down with them night after night, amen?
When I was growing up (and well into my late teens) I always tried to fit in. I believed that if I could be “just like everyone else” then I would be happy, carefree, and lead a life free of worry. However, the more I tried to be like everyone else the more they changed and the harder I had to try and emulate them. It became a most daunting task. Moreover, it brought about internal suffering. I literally began to feel like a fake person. It was because I had no concept of who I was. I was so insecure that I had to latch onto what other people thought was impressive.
Thankfully, those days are in my past. I think I had to unleash my inner Lafayette in order to get to a place of self actualization.
Lafayette appealed to me so much because, in the gay community particularly, you’ll see a lot of conformity. Even though you see all of these people talking about, “Oh I am proud to be me” and “This is who I am” those very same individuals are running with cliques that dress, act, and believe the way that they do. There is no autonomy. They are just reflections of each other. It is maddening when you think about. We, as a community, clamour for all of this acceptance and tolerance when we–in many cases–refuse to love and tolerate one another (e.g. no fats, no fems, no asians, no this, no that, and etc al.) .
The other reason I love Lafayette is because he’s simply comfortable with himself and not caught up in conforming to gender norms and stereotypes. Again, in the gay community, all of this unnecessary emphasis is placed on the illusion of hyper masculinity (which nary a gay man is) and if you don’t fit into that ideal then you may as well cease to exist.
Recently in my life I’ve learned to totally love and embrace myself just as I am. Lafayette was just one more concrete reason why it’s wonderful to just be yourself. It is empowering. It is comforting. Most important of all it is freeing. When you really think about it it’s difficult to emulate other people; however, it is simplistically simple to be yourself. You get to define yourself. You get to set your own standard. No one else (not even your mother) knows you better than you.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to be a super macho thug boi to survive in the gay world. Nor do I have to be some fashion glamour puss (although I do like to shop) with teased and highlighted hair. Moreover, I don’t have to be a married heterosexual man in order to have a joyous and fulfilling life. I have the right to just be myself and people can love it or leave it. Most of all I have the right to pursue my own happiness.
When we hold the opinions of others too close to our hearts that induces suffering. My motto is: Place all things on the universal shelf that are not that significant. If someone does not like the way you look, dress, act, believe, or etc al…Oh well? What can you do about it? Moreover, in a million years, is it really going to matter? Not really.
We each have our own unique story to scribe; therefore we should just give ourselves permission to just settle into the idea…right? Myself, I’m tired of trying to fit into everyone’s narrow definition. Look, I’m not apart of the borg. Like Deniece Williams, “I got to be FREE!” Sometimes when you allow yourself to just love your body, your mind, and soul it’s just relaxing. The great thing about knowing yourself is that if there’s something you don’t like you have the right to change it.
Anyway, thank you Lafayette! Even though you are a fictional character you’ve inspired me!