An Open Letter To My Frenemy At NYU

An Open Letter To My Frenemy At NYU

You can be woke and present, yet still susceptible to hyper masculine thought processes and tendencies.


Let me start off by saying I admire you. Before meeting you I had never seen someone so dedicated to their craft, nor had I come across an aura so commanding of space in every place it entered. There are some qualities you have that I strive to achieve and access for myself, and I am more than proud of everything you continue to accomplish in your new playground.

With that being said, although I could continue to sing your praises for a little while longer, the start of a new Chicago Slam Season has drawn out some unresolved feelings from last year that I just need to get out.

You, the mighty unnamed and self proclaimed captain of our team, the peaceful storm that only tears up dance floors, stages, and protest sites, a spitting image of what it would be if struggle, art, intelligence, and activism all came together and had a part sensitive, part beastlike baby, like it is achievable by other men in this country, are full of bullshit.

Now don’t get me wrong, the fact that you're so in touch with your emotions, and all the other aspects of your spiritual self is great, but your artistry and dedication to the movements you belong to doesn’t make your perspective or “energy” any less hegemonic.

See what I didn’t know before entering your space, was the fact that my energy and mindset immediately had to become subordinate to yours in order to be accepted as quick as others. I will admit that I entered the space with my guard up, but because of my defensive, protective nature, I was able to immediately see the flaws within the foundation our new team would be built upon.

From observing the fact that everybody you had already been around in the space had already given you and accepted your place of power, or was too free-spirited to challenge you or the system itself, as well as my denial to take part in either of those things, we butt heads immediately even though we're both Pises (which I find hilarious). To be completely honest with you, I was shocked when our relationship went from non-existent to combative so quickly, I was also hurt, to say the least.

I would ask myself questions like “Am I just unlikeable?” or “Is this team just not for me?” but even among building (and ultimately breaking) my other relationships with members, coaches, and assistants on the team I realized although part of the issue was the way I approached the situation, I was not the only one to blame for constantly confrontational environment.

Throughout the entirety of last year's slam season, I came to learn that, nobody on that team was confrontational, I was. Nobody was outspoken to the point of disagreement, I was. Nobody was ready to go toe to toe with you except for me, and that was the problem in our relationship.

You had not been in a predicament where someone with a strong enough voice and energy wasn’t going to be silenced or subdued just by your command of such. The strength that I didn’t even know or noticed I had seemed to pose a threat to your hierarchy hyper-masculine way of thinking, and when you couldn’t make me yield you lashed out drastically at me, and I did the same, making the environment we were in very toxic.

Now I’m not saying if you were a woman we wouldn’t have had any issues, but I know that it's very easy for us as humans to forget about our biases and biological tendencies, as well as the benefits and privileges the world provides us based on our situation, and through every single fight and make-up we had, that issue within your person was never addressed.

I may not be a doctor, and I know our years of competing on slam together are well over, but just for you to continue rounding yourself as a person, because I know that you're all about growth, I recommend you at least look into yourself and notice your privileges. I know that since that time I’ve dug within myself and noticed mine, along with my issues, and although I don’t feel as though I have the guts or space yet to come to you and discuss these feelings directly, this right here proves my growth.

And my only question to you now is, how will you prove yours?

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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