Crazy, Black, and Dancing

Romance Language

Technically speaking, each step we take is a fall, and I have relished falling and catching myself, just in time. And it scares me to death.
“The Art of the Fall,” December 15, 1989

The word “crazy” carries heavy baggage, but it only really means drifting outside the orbit of society’s expectations.

Being Black and crazy complicates this. They label the conditions I live with depression and anxiety; I call them by their true name: Despair. I used to refuse to admit its sources. Some, like family trauma, were obvious. Some, like the tension of carrying my Blackness in this culture, I tried not to think about. Some, like the reality of loss and change and alienation, were part of the baggage of living.

But I battled hardest against the way despair impinged on the act I love most: writing. I spun through cycles of productivity and stone cold empty…

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