Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

“A Sword Day, A Red Day”

4 min readOct 29, 2021


“…ere, the sun rises!” Prepping for the weekend and unlearning.

I’ve seen the entire (extended) trilogy of Lord of the Rings once, and I think that is enough. In this battle scene, King Theoden encourages his army before riding face-first into battle. Nearing the end of his speech he shouts:

“Ride for ruin and the World’s Ending!
Death! Death! Death!”

I was not always a fan of fantasy. No one looked like me in those books. That, and a healthy dose of puritanical culture that demonized anything to do with magic, kept me from indulging in it.

I love this speech because it’s an acknowledgement of the inevitable. The odds are stacked against them, and they revel in the glory of a death one chooses. *spoiler alert, they win.*

This weekend will be long, but I am ready. I feel apprehensive. I don’t want to make a complete fool of myself again. That means carbs, water, and counting my drinks. I want to embrace the night, the costumes, the revelry, the dancing, but I also want to be focused on my own limits. I want to celebrate. I want to feel very in my body and admired and sensual, but I don’t want to barf. I want the high of feeling my hips reacting to the music on their own and watching the other queers dance with each other. I am excited to be around so many Black people.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be around people who look like you. That’s normal.”

My therapist was the first person who heard me talk about my shame at not having many Black friends. I thought I had purposely done it somehow. That I had some internalized anti-Blackness to solve. And reader, I did. Although my logical brain knew that anyone was capable of hurting me, it also came to the conclusion that that person had a face.

Of the people who have beat me until large lumps stood out on my forehead, choked me, bullied me, raped and molested me, all of them were Black. And I never dealt with that fact before. I was harboring negative feelings after all. I thought that I wouldn't be accepted into Black communities because I can be socially awkward or whatever excuses I made for withdrawing. I even wrote about it, and in response, other Black women shared the same sentiments. We were all reaching for each other but didn’t know-how.

“I want to be around people who get all of the unspoken things about Black femininity in a way that other races cannot fathom. Things like the inward cringe when white coworkers ask prying questions about your new sew-in, or the idea that showing up with store-bought potato salad means you probably shouldn’t show up at all.”

I am preparing for these parties by relaxing. Something I’ve think I’ve finally gotten the hang of. I sat in bed and read after work. I’ve written more, and have felt more inspired after doing so. I can be in control and also acknowledge possible outcomes as well.

There are also lots of things I cannot control. The fire pit at the coffee shop where my ex and I had our first date has been lit again for the season. I remember being not nervous exactly, but more apprehensive. I had no expectations but still had a small wall built around me. More like one of those ugly, low fence things people put on the edges of a lawn. I didn’t think I would fall for her the way I did. After that first date, I simply filed it away as a nice story. I pushed most thoughts of her to the side and simply passed the time, all the while still aware of her.

It began slowly, and then all at once. I kicked down what was left of the gross little fence and let it all in. It was not something I could have prepared for, nor could I have predicted the final outcome. There are so many things I would have done differently, but none of which would be opening up.

I didn’t know that I had such an issue with wanting to be in control of my future until I didn’t. I do want to unlearn some of that, the wall building and the cold, calculating way I’ve been approaching any new thing coming into my life. I have felt the “meanest” in my life lately by setting clear boundaries and expectations, but also the most relieved.
This is how I’m preparing.




A lesbian who writes.