“I’m a gift and a curse to the wilderness when the leaves only turn to brown”
“So Afraid” Janelle Monae
Brave. That’s one word that describes the masterpiece that is Dirty Computer and Janelle Monae herself. I could go on about each track, how it’s obvious how much effort went into it, but that’s not the focus right now. The focus happens to be how Dirty Computer serves so many purposes. One of those purposes, for me at least, is minor healing. What I mean by “minor healing” is that it has cleared cobwebs and it’s an album to feel safe in my identity.
One could say that an album can’t possibly be there for you or provide a sense of security. That happens to be entirely untrue. This album washes over you like a humongous wave, especially if you’re a black queer person. You suddenly get invited into this vulnerable space and you can relax and feel safe for awhile. There’s this sense of vulnerability that makes you want to be vulnerable too. There’s a powerful energy which encourages a form of healing.
People see healing as linear, they see healing only happening if you do this or that. Truth is: healing almost never works that way, and usually healing and coming to full terms with your identity can take many years.
Now am I saying that an album can completely heal you, make you comfortable forever and scratch trauma away like nothing? No. I am saying that healing can come in different forms and intensity. Dirty Computer provided and still does provide me with a temporary space to exist. To patch up the small wounds I never imagined could heal. That within itself is powerful, no matter the extent in which I have healed.
Vanessa Maki is a writer (& other things), queer & full of black girl magic. She has work in various places like Entropy, Rising Phoenix Press, Sad Girl Review, Soft Cartel among others & is forthcoming in Pussy Magic Press among others. She’s founder/EIC of yell/shout/scream & rose quartz journal. She has also self published a chapbook & micro chap. Follow her twitter & visit her site.