A Day in the Life of Papi and Kamara


— Christina is my second daughter. She is “Mommy” of Kamara, my granddaughter.

— The story is framed simultaneously as “Journal entry for April 10,” and at the same time as an email to Christina.

— Yolanda is my youngest daughter and my bestest friend.

— I am Papi

— Brackets [] are me, the author, speaking, outside of an email to my daughter, to the reading public.

— “NaMa” is my X-wife (one of my bestest friends), mother of my girls. It is a contraction of Nanna and Mommy. I thought Kamara originated it, but it turns out it’s very common among a generation of our children who have been raised by their grandparents…

Hi Christina [Mommy],

[Journal entry for Saturday, April 10, 2021]

8:30a Kamara calls Papi to confirm pick up time — 10:30a

10:30 pick up and go to Dorchester for our guitar lessons with the greatest Jazz guitarist in New England — Fred Woodard.

In the 35-minute car ride we conducted a co-counseling session — between grandfather and granddaughter. Kamara [13-years-old] is extremely worldly-wise on many social issues. She was having a problem with her would-be best friend who was claiming that Kamara wants to be something like what used to be called “butch”? — I can’t remember the term she used; I think it was “stud”…. In response, Kamara texted her friend a few dictums: (1) “My style of dress is not co-equal with my identity. If I want to wear baggy clothes, this is not an identity statement. It does not mean that you can call me …(something like ‘butch’).” (2) Kamara then rattled off a definition of Pansexual for which Webster is going to have to give her a patent, and some money via Intellectual Property Law. Christina, Mommy, you must ask Kamara to show you her text. She has a definition for Pansexual which is like a brick house — it brooks no contradiction!

[I since copied her definition: “Pansexual is someone who loves indiscriminate of the sex or gender of the subject of her love, independent of the person she loves.”]

Kamara explained to her friend that “Papi and I are Queer and Pansexual…”

I do have counseling skills on these subjects, so I think l helped her.

I had a major blow-out [with my youngest daughter] Yolanda, the day before. Yolanda vowed to never talk to me again. I was terribly upset, and Kamara talked me down…. off the ledge… She has skills too.

11:15 We show up for our guitar lesson: both K and I …forgot to bring our guitars… Fortunately the Brother has guitars for us to use. We both had a great lesson.

1:30 We go to Franklin Park

1:45 Play basketball. She beat me again. This is twice in a row. I’m not that grandfather that is going to let her win. When she beats me, it’s because she played better than me. I’ll beat her next time.

2:30 On the park bench we studied three articles together.

3:15 Went bike riding. Kamara now has an excellent bike — $1,600-variety. [We bought it at Bikes-not-Bombs (Jamaica Plain) for $340. I love socialists… Their prices are much lower…] We rode the entire circumference of the park — four miles.

3:45 We thought about playing tennis, and then decided… “No.” We were worn out.

4:15 We shopped for groceries for the dishes we were going to make at my house.

4:45–6:00 Kamara made pesto pasta. It came out excellent. You should try some today? I made a pasta and burgers/hot sausages with cheese sauce — parmesan, cheddar, pepper jack and swiss — casserole.

6:00 During dinner, we joined a Zoom OA meeting. I’m well aware that while K makes fun of my 7-month pregnancy, at the same time, I know that she does not need OA. However, Christina, the meeting was ALL women, and these women were talking about body image, demands on them coming from a sick, male supremacist, hetero culture about how thin they are supposed to be, and other issues which I know Kamara has to deal with. I think she enjoyed the meeting. Besides the issues, she kept nailing the names of the group participants …before they announced them: “Heather,” “Hanna,” “Jessica,” “Trudy”…. 😊

7:30 We go to your [Mommy’s and NaMa’s] home in Brockton. I’m out of gas. K pumped it for me while I got a coffee so I won’t fall asleep on my ride back to Boston.

It was a very long day, and we were both wiped out by the end. And our manner towards each other was excellent. I had a great time. Oh, instead of showing our live faces in the Zoom OA meeting, we showed a picture of you and Kamara — one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen; it is tied for #1 for my favorite picture. The peoples got to see love between you and Kamara… 😊

Love You

Ps. Kamara successfully negotiated a reunion between Papi and Yolanda the next day. During this reunion we revisited the co-counseling session from the day before.

In response to Kamara’s dictum that “Papi and I are Queer and Pansexual,” Papi offered an edit: “I should probably be called a-sexual since I don’t have sex with anyone…😊” Yolanda countered that “Queer refers to anyone who is part of the LGBTQ community.”

Papi reminded Yolanda that in a youth organization of 3 years ago, she, her then closest friend Chinenye Igbokwe, and Papi authored a piece called “Of Love and Non-Heteros” (https://alexandersjeunity.medium.com/of-love-and-non-heteros-552254abe4d5) in which we coined the term “non-heteros,” which was something akin to the “non-white” which Whities tried to force on us back in the day. In defense of ourselves, we said, “As Womanism and Indigenism are not ideologies, we are not trying to be ‘right,’ to prescribe to anyone else the names they should give themselves. So, while we did not identify a positive affirmation, that word will come in its time. Today, we insist that we are not hetero.

That term which will “come in its day” is Pansexual.

[To further clarify, we used the term non-hetero to include all people who love without claiming heterosexuality to be the reference point for “normal.” In this phrasing, the term “non-hetero” included people who love people of the opposite sex.]

Kamara, in this regard insisted that “Queer and Pansexual mean the same thing.” Yolanda pointed out that this is not the current usage of the word Queer. To which Papi offered a viewpoint from an earlier generation of revolutionaries: In 1991 Free MY People, in an article titled “Minorities have no Dignity,” intoned: “Language is made by people, and words change their meaning as people change the world.” Papi concluded that “Kamara and I are choosing to use the word Queer to mean Pansexual…” Yolanda summed up: “Queer is the opposite of heteronormative…” [plus revolutionary politics…😊]

The bottom line: It’s OK and really fine to love people.