The Break Up

Everyone knows that Aphrodite never cries…….

I’ve struggled with this for quite a while now.  I did all that I could to avoid this.  I spoke to everyone who has the ability to talk me down.  I chanted about it, and when I woke up this morning still feeling the same I knew I had no other option than to write.

I am breaking up with Black BEAT.

As I close the door on the other dysfunctional relationship in my life I realize that one more still remains.

A few years back I fell in love with the idea that there were others like me.  Kinky brown people who understood me.  It was deeper than just the variety of my kink and the color of our skin.  I felt at peace, I felt at home.  There was nothing like my first time at Survivor Saturday, and over the years the people that mean so much to me mostly extend from that Black BEAT family.

I’ve written over and over about belonging and how that place freed me to be the person than I am now.

There is a rebirth of sorts when I get to be with my Black BEAT family, it doesn’t just feed my kink…it feeds my soul.  The energy that comes with my family is not something that I can re-create. And I am still breaking up with Black BEAT.

As I’ve written here about the experience, I’ve toned down my disappointment.  I’ve never 100% explained how frustrating it can be to watch what you love piss on you, tell you that it is raining, and then stop complaining about the ammonia smelling clothes you are wearing.

Survivor Saturday was a last minute attempt to salvage the conference.  I wonder aloud if she – Black BEAT – should have retired then.

As the years after Survivor Saturday accumulated, I began to question what was it that I loved?  I saw so little passion and effort coming from the organizers.  I saw blatant disrespect.  I watched them allow one of the most destructive forces in our community dictate to them and embarrass them.

I watched haphazard notifications, and unprofessional behavior.  I went back to Black BEAT and found that the conference people told me used to exist was the theater of the absurd.  My appreciation of the complexity of running an event didn’t give them a pass on what I was seeing.

I saw chaos and I felt like I was being played.

I remained steadfast that the experience was worth it in public though. In private I vented to my best friends about how FUBAR the details were while lamenting that it was the only game in town so to speak to have that connection with my brown kinky family.

As long as they were the only game in town I had no other option than to suffer through substandard treatment because it was the only place that I could feel that way. Despite my proximity to the host hotel and my need to be with my adopted kink family, I never did get over how the organizers treated us.

When Black BEAT took a year off I didn’t think it was the end.  I hoped it was not.  I prayed it was not.   My hope was that the 3 women would take the year off, and come back renewed in what their vizion for the conference was a decade ago.  In the interim – Weekend Reunion happened and fucked up the curve.

When Black BEAT announced their return for 2014 I expressed my joy.  I thought that the women would learn the lessons of Weekend Reunion, and incorporate some of what they should have seen their audience enjoyed.

What’s been bugging me – what I could not put my fingers on until just now ……

So many attendees of the Black BEAT conference are like me in ways beyond being kinky and being brown.

So  many kept patronizing because it was the only way we could as a group, in that number for a decade. Our love for each other shined while our love for the Black BEAT conference itself waned. We were going through the motions of being in a loving and committed relationship even though the fire was long gone.

I stuck to my guns though.  I wanted Black BEAT to succeed and thrive once more.  I offered my time and vizion again.  Once more it was rejected.   I had hope though – beyond hope that I’d had before.  My best friend was one of the new core members of the planning committee.  Another good friend was on the planning committee also.  I knew that these two men wanted Black BEAT to succeed more than anything and I knew they were full of fresh ideas – new energy – and they were committed to the cause.

I was hopeful — I said that though already didn’t I?

It started out well.  Perhaps not, but it started out better than it was before. Then it started going sideways – then backwards.  I found myself even more distressed than before I got a taste of what could [ and possibly should ] be different.

They took a year off and came back with the same substandard product.  You can put lipstick on a sow but she’s still a pig and rolls in slop.

What made it even worse for me was watching someone who I love get drawn into this mess and understanding that they didn’t want his help, they wanted his political capital.  It’s gotten to the point that he and I can’t really talk about Black BEAT any longer because I hate how they’ve shown zero growth -zero maturity and zero give a fucks about the consumer.

They took a year off and didn’t create their new planning committee until the last possible moment.

They took a year off and told us to stay tuned for an updated website and vomited a WordPress clusterfuck my 13-year-old could have created – and faster than 3 days ago.

They took a year off and didn’t do any supporting appearances – didn’t do any fundraising – didn’t create a not for profit tax designation – and they took a year off and came back with even more disrespect towards the consumer than before.

They stole my joy – my hope – and my commitment to preserving a place for POC. Sadly they did it at a time when they were no longer the only horse with a saddle giving rides.

In the month of June, in Atlanta GA Atlanta Peachy Kink will be holding their inaugural event. They give me an option.

In 2015 Weekend Reunion returns with new themes and more chicken.  They give me an option.

In August 2014 my registration is already paid for Black BEAT, yet instead of looking forward to the event, I am instead looking forward to saying good-bye.

One of us has to let go, and since I am the only one still holding on that person is me.

I can say with certainty that I am better because you existed, but that comes with a price.

The price is that I now know what I am worth and that is more than what you have been able to offer for quite some time.

I am unwilling to keep holding on to the vizion when the path is clear that we’ve grown apart.

I want someone who respects me. Who values me.  Who understands me and who appreciates me.  You do not.

So let’s dance our last dance and wish one another well.



Aphrodite Brown

About Aphrodite Brown

Aphrodite Brown is the owner and creator of Vizionz from the Bottom. Vizionz is a life and culture blog covering all aspects of life from pop culture, to politics, to parenting, with an extra heavy dose of alternative lifestyle & sex positive living.
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