Pieces Of Nat

Performance at UCSD for Genderqueer Cafe 09 April 29

This story is true. Some of it happened to me. Some of it happened to you.

Once upon a time there was a little boy. His name was Nat. He had very nappy hair, pretty brown eyes and silver teeth. Nat grew up being afraid. Afraid to breathe. Afraid of his mother. Afraid to upset her. She would tell Nat she loved him often. Though when she said it, she barked it (BARK) and it sounded harsh, like a threat, and he didn’t believe her. Plus she never ever gave him hugs cuddles or kisses (sad face). He didn’t feel safe. He felt all alone. He always had to be alert and adjust to her moods. Nat used to think if his mom were happy everything would be okay. So he tried to make her happy.

When he sang, she said “Oh lord, you can’t sing child”. Nat didn’t believe her for a long time. One day Nat’s mom taped him singing and played it back for him. He thought “She’s right.” In his head, Nat thought he sounded wonderful and he loved to sing and when he did, he sang with his whole heart (LA LA LA) and he felt happy. When he heard the tape, he heard a screaming, off key, kid and it didn’t sound beautiful and if this is how he really sounded, Nat’s mom was right. Nat stopped singing in front of her but he still sang to himself when he was alone. It became a secret. Something he hid. Some piece and part of him he had to hide.

The little boy named Nat loved to dance. He danced all the time. His little brother Peabrain danced with him and tried to be just like him as little brothers will do. Peabrain had nappy hair, pretty brown eyes and silver teeth too. When Nat and Peabrain danced, Nat’s mom and dad would laugh at them. (Silly Dance) Nat thought they were laughing because he was just so cute with his little dancing moves. Nat’s mom would say, “I can’t wait ’til Peabrain gets older. He can really dance. He just don’t know it ’cause he’s dancing like you.” Nat began to feel disconnected from his body. It didn’t work the way he wanted it to and he begin to leave it. Little by little. Poor little Nat. (Fake crying)

Nat wanted to be an actor. He loved performing. His mom would say, “There are niggers on every street corner who can sing, dance, and act, better than all the folks on TV”.

Nat’s mom thought Nat was really smart and should realize that that was his strength. Nat’s mom thought he should be a doctor and find the cure for cancer. Nat’s mom believed he was so smart he could do it. No problem at all. WOOT! Nat thought, “This is it. I’m smart. I’ll do well in school. Mom will love me and be happy and everything will be okay.” Nat became a walking talking head and read all the time and loved learning and talking about what he learned. Nat’s mom would say “You talk too much. You don’t even say anything. You just like the sound of your own voice. (Yap Yap Yap Blah Blah Blah). Nat stopped talking so much. He lost another piece of himself. He was disappearing. He felt invisible and sad.

Deep deep down Nat was a happy little guy who wasn’t allowed to be happy and express his Self. He thinks this is because his mom felt unloved and she was jealous of his innate joy. Nat knows JOY is his birthright and has long since forgiven his mother.

The song “On Children” by Sweet Honey In the Rock played during the performance really low.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and the daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but they are not from you and though they are with you they do not belong to you. You can give them your love but not your thoughts. They have their own thoughts. They have their own thoughts. You can house their bodies but not their souls. For their souls dwell in a place of tomorrow, which you cannot visit. Not even in your dreams. You can strive to be like them but you cannot make them just like you. Strive to be like them but you cannot make them just like you. (repeat all)

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