I would come to see this behavior repeat itself time and time again by the "giants." I call them that because so often in my life I was made feel to be so small and insignificant by them. So often they came into my life without me calling for them. They would appear out of nowhere like a damn cold and leave just the same. These "giants" of theater, love, life, activism, industry, and society. Mostly men, but not devoid of women and later, gender non-binary folks, but "giants" all the same.
I remember one giant came to see me perform at a place I was performing for the love of performing. I never wanted to be a performer. I was doing it because I was poor and this was something I could do that was free and kept my mind off the things I should be focusing on like finding a job, reconnecting with my son, and breaking up with my boyfriend at the time. I attended this event every month because it was therapy and an escape. It wasn't heaven or hell, but a purgatory of sorts. The giant came up to me and said: "I came here for you." I smiled and thanked him.
I had heard of this giant from the circles I'd toured. They referred to him as a giant but again, not directly, ya know? They would say things like "..but you know, when the giant shows up and wants to read off of paper, what can you say? or "the giant will let us in for free" or "the giant can do that, he's the host/producer at the giant corporation xyz."
I had heard so much about the giant in my two years performing that I was surprised the giant had heard about me. I didn't want to be doing this; I felt like I had been called to do it. I felt that performing was something that was saving my life and in turn helping the people around me in ways I could not see. I never wrote or practiced a thing. I would show up and speak and hope that it was enough to get me through to the next performance. I did not want to be famous or known or recognized by giants. I was happy surviving and being.
The giant said some more things about how much he LOVED my performance and then sent me a friend request later that night. The giant reached out. The giant gave me advice. The giant would say that he loved my son and me. The giant called me his family. The giant became my friend, and I believed him. He would shower me with advice and preference and assure me that I never had to do anything to pay back his kindness.
I believed him.
Years later another "giant," this one brown and queer would come and find me, again, performing. By this time performing had become part of my life. However, it still wasn't part of my life in that way that I wanted it to sustain me. It was part of my life in that so many people had encouraged me to stick with it because they appreciated my voice. The theater I was in had another giant; she was also queer and, and the mentor of the other giant. They both came to find me. I did not seek them out. They had read and heard about me much like the other giants and like them saw something special in me. Giants love to tell you that you are special. Giants love to make you believe that they are not giants though. Oh, this is the trick that makes them so insidiously good at what they do because giants, by nature, are fucking scary and intimidating. So they have to paint themselves as standard, just like you. They cannot go around flaunting their privileges. That's crazy! If they did you would not be willing to give them everything they need as I so naively did. They even flaunt all of the other very standard people that they've helped to show you how much they stand to benefit you. No matter how much you tell them that this is not what you do, this is not who you are, and this is not what you want to be, they assure you that you are needed and that they will help you see that you are. Despite that feeling in my stomach that told me that something was wrong, both times I felt like these giants would never hurt me and that they needed me more than I needed them. I would be half right about this.
In both cases, these giants held me up on pedestals, and I was grateful to them for it; however, I didn't want to be up there most the time. Again, I didn't go looking for them. I didn't want to be in their theater, act in their plays, or be in their circles. THEY wanted me there for whatever reasons they wanted me there. THEY hyped up my "talent" and called me "the queen" and my dumbass believed them and began to act that way even. Look, I'm not innocent, but I know that I never asked for their praise or worked hard to get it. I was resistant and open about what I did and did not like or understand. I hated rehearsals and acting schedules; it hurt to have my parenting undermined by their years of "working with youth" as if it were the same thing. I felt uncomfortable being forced to learn about sexuality from people that refused to listen to me about mine and how it shaped and also hurt me as it hurt them. The giants in both cases started to feel like they could not control this little poor brown girl from the hood and when I began to use the voice against them, they beat me over the head with the megaphone they used to amplify that voice.
The battles against giants are very rarely fair.
Both would drag me and punch me with their statuses and intellect. The giants had so much to use against me because of course, I was nobody. I never wanted to be anybody. I wanted to perform for the people that needed me. The giants had convinced me that they needed me and that they could bring me the people that needed me. They did, and they also took them away.
In the case of the giant, my dad, who I watched give my stepsister rides to and from the school we both attended while I waited for buses in the rain, snow, and heatwaves, he was just dumb. He fell in love with a woman that told him that made him choose between her daughters or us. He chose her daughters and discarded us. He did not want to lose the life he had created with them and the only one he had since divorcing my mom. He made a pretty fucked up decision if you ask me. He was the first giant to discard me and the only one I have made amends with after he hurt me. He is the OG, the original giant. The giant of all giants that today, doesn't seem that big anymore. Probably because I have come to forgive him and realized that he was never a giant, but just someone too small to admit that he couldn't be big enough to own the truth of who he was. I have nothing but love for the giants in my life. I know that those giants are hurting and that they have built giant worlds with vast masses of people and followers and beliefs that keep their most accurate forms from being seen by the world. I used to think that I was nobody because I didn't have what these giants have. I now know that being a giant ain't all that it's cracked up to be because giants aren't real and I am.