Guest contributor Christa Bell is a first-generation-off-the-plantation writer & artist from Seattle. In this post, she responds to In the Interim: Ritual Ground for a Future Black Archive.
In The Interim: Keep My Name Outcho MF’n Mouf
she/her/hers & the ancestral we/us; conceptual artist, writer & curator; African (American) Matrilineal Descendant with two Black parents; momty to a twospirit freeform starseed; sister to five living Black brothers; reparations enthusiast; past, present & futurist; womXnist; intersectional Blackass feminist; facilitator; mediator; meditator; microdoser; weed smoker; globe trotter; prototrans; Preachers Kid; backslidden Black Buddhist; devout SHEist; family of origin scapegoat on my CPTSD grind; hoodoouista & ritualist; doula to the underground ultralightbeam; Holy, Holy, Holy AF
Dap to First Nations Folk & Shoutout to the formerly enslaved New Indigenous African ancestors whose blood, breath & afterlife are held sacred by us, their children, & who are inextricably entangled with & remembered by this LAND. We feel, smell, taste, see & rememory what your blood has grown. Thank you. Asé!
The opening of this essay for Black womXn begins here: 1-833-LUV-NAPS
If you are not a Black womXn, please begin here:
For this essay, you may use it as a mandala/visual meditation tool to center yourself in this particular Interim…
In Zen Buddhism there’s a method of discipline used by master teachers where a physical slap is administered as a state changer to startle sitting meditators from one mode of consciousness into another. These days, it’s usually only administered at the request of the student, but I’ve heard stories of master teachers slapping the shit out of students whose minds belligerently refuse particular insights of the path.
As a state changer, the Zen Slap is a method that might be used to arouse someone from sleeping on the zafu, to enhance concentration or to assist with suspending the thinking, analytical “monkey mind,” a major impediment on a long road to enlightenment that requires vigilance & discipline & commitment to tame.
We’re here now, we’re clear now & we are enraged.
The Last Battle, the final chapter in the Chronicles of Narnia & one of my favorite childhood stories, is a white supremacist, shitshow prophecy for this time. In it, an elderly narcissistic ape named Shift, hoodwinked, bamboozled & led astray all the talking beasts of Narnia. This n-word had the citizens believing that a donkey named Puzzle, disguised in a lionskin, was the one, true, gloriously blonde, resurrected savior, Aslan.
The lying monkey used the power of bombastic aesthetics to persuade Narnians against their own best interests. In the end, aligned with the evil, darkskinned Calormene, Shift was able to convince the majority of Narnians that felling the talking trees (which also slaughtered the nymphs who lived within them), enslaving the talking animals & selling Narnia’s natural resources down the river to their darky enemies, was the will of their golden maned God.
The last holdouts to the monkey’s propaganda efforts were the hardworking dwarfs who had served Narnia loyally, from the underground, since the beginning of time.
They peeped game early, watching & listening to King Tyrian’s status quo opposition to the monkey’s despotism & after deciding that they couldn’t trust anyone’s claims to power, they positioned themselves firmly on their own side.
The dwarfs are for the dwarfs!, they trumpeted at The Last Battle, to the astonishment of Tyrian, the Last King of Narnia, who had hoped to rally them to his side for the doomsday fight. The dwarfs are for the dwarfs!, they shouted as swords were drawn & chaos descended & Narnia burned to the ground around them. The dwarfs are for the dwarfs! They continued to insist, despite promises by the Last King that he was on the side of the righteous & together, they could fight to the death & save the wretched day.
As a child I couldn’t understand the dwarfs “betrayal”. At the point of their rebellion, the real Aslan showed up & if they had just held out, a little while longer, they could’ve made it to the other side. They could have made it to New World Narnia--a utopia of freedom & beauty & easy living.
Baby…just keep on livin’… my granny used to tell me when my limited experience of the world prevented me from understanding things one can only come by through, well, living. I finally got grown, almost seven years ago now, in the aftermath of our own shifty ape’s electoral victory. I now understand The Dwarf Position.
The dwarfs are for the dwarfs! & in this true life horrorshow of a country, the dwarfs are on the precipice of collectively rolling our eyes & snatching our intersectional prayers back from all reprobate systems. We are healing our masochistic enmeshments with a country of sadists nurtured & fortified by curdled Karen milk. What awaits this country, in the interim, is an abyss so viscously white it’s nuclear & you are blanketed in the pale ashes of incinerated bodies & cultures & languages & histories. The holes in your pointed coverings reveal teeth instead of eyes, they weep maggots, instead of tears. Your breath, stinking of death, suffocates you in your shroud, but you only die to resurrect like zombies, night after genocidal cop night, day after Black-voter-suppression day, month after economic-terrorism month, year after institutionalized medical torture & neglect year, decade after PSYOP decade & century after century after century of human trafficking, rape, murder & propaganda to support the dehumanization of Black people. All of which are as ancient for us as the Circle. We’ve been trapped in your 360 degree coven of fiends--the sacrifices you stay burning on altars of amnesia, denial, entitlement, narcissism & strategic violence on every level of the game. White Jesus & his white mama couldn’t convince us to stay. We. Are Getting. Out. Of your Circle. Circle. Circle of pink- pussy-hatted-fibroids marching around & around & around the Supreme Court grounds, waving signs & screaming, Gilead! Gilead! Gilead!
After the last four hundred years & two elections of fangirling & wet panty throwing at a homicidal monkey who placed a literal handmaid on the highest court of the land?????
My akashic records coach will tell you I’m from the past. I’ve already lived it. I’ve already been Christa Ofbackra & I got four centuries of hands on my uterus. The cognitive dissonance between what always already happened to me and what will always eventually happen to you is exhausting. Pro Tip: Think of Black womXn as living prophecy. Whatever vile, abominable, oppressive situation the human mind can conceive of & institutionalize, it will always be imposed upon us, first. But when you thieve & gentrify everything that comes from us without resolving your deep seated hatred for us, it clouds your vision & cramps your feet. you end up on the dance floor looking like wet chickens, maniacally flapping your wings to save yourselves from an impending fried feast.
Thank Jesus’s Blackass mama that Black womXn are on the good foot now & you can’t appropriate & gentrify this boneBlack dance of righteousness from TikTok. Your last free lesson is to understand that you have have no rhythym. Stop clapping. You’re off beat. Check-in with the drummer. I’m the drummer. Follow my lead as I crump backwards across this country in high heels. Finally & unshakably commit to listening to & aligning with the fonk of a Black womXn’s heartbeat so you can feel, know & understand that