More than anything, we’re starved for hope right now.
After finally making my way back to my body, boldly finding power in pleasure, again I’m forced to step out of myself. I’m reminded of my blackness and the presumption of guilt and inferiority this society assigned to me. I’m reminded not to get too comfortable. Again I’m thrusted back into a state of sustained terror. I’m reminded that any day could be my last. I’m reminded that people who look like me go missing, get abused, get killed and then my expression of the rage that boils in my belly will be tone policed. I’m so tired. I want to know peace for more than mere moments. I’ve worked hard for it.
Imagine not being fully at ease in your own bed.
I have so much to say, but my creativity is invaded by intrusive thoughts of white violence. The incel I sold a car to the other day might come back and pepper me with bullets. When a bickering neighbor calls the cops on their spouse I worry that the officer might wrongly burst into my home and end me. When I walk on the street I worry that if I get hurt people might not stop to help me. When I was 12 years old living in the suburbs of Illinois, a car hit me as I rode my new bike across the street. I remember it like it was yesterday – the ache in my hip as I got up, the road rash on my palms, the shame I felt as I limped across the intersection dragging my stubborn, mangled bike. The white driver looked at me, the white cop sitting in his squad car at the Mobile gas station looked at me, all the other white drivers around looked at me. No one got out of their vehicle to check on me. No one said a word. The silence from all of them taught me everything I needed to know about being black in America.
I deserve a life less frightening
As an immigrant, I never faced overt racism in this country until that day. I didn’t have language for it, I just knew this country was not a safe place. So with the chains of my bike all twisted, I walked alone in a state of terror. I remember their eyes on me, scornful, like I deserved what I got for daring to share the same air as them. I was a child. I was innocent, but to them I was less than human. My pain was not acknowledged. My humanity… my humanity? Lately, I’ve been asking myself this question –where in the world is the safest place for a black person to exist in peace? I’m so exhausted all the time. I’m tired of worrying. I deserve more moments of peace; a life less frightening.
I want to write about sex and enjoy the sex. I want to express myself and address my personal trauma. I’m tired of being in this kind of society. What else is there? Where else is there? And why do we have to continue to be brutalized by this society to bring about change? Why are we always short changed on the change? When will enough be enough? When will I know peace? When will my humanity not be in question? My sanity is tired from being stretched in so many directions. My whole being is tired and I’m sick of being dissociated from myself. I can’t start crying because if I allow myself to feel it all, it could kill me.
Your willful ignorance will always put a target on my back
And you talk about your discomfort with conversations on race. You tell me slavery ended long ago. You tell me I’m negative or angry, my friend who I’ve known for 7 years and used to consider a rock. His reaction to George Floyd and the demands for justice there after was sickening. It made me want to throw up. Comparing his “rough times” of going through a divorce and rehabbing his credit from 450 up to 700 again. He couldn’t hear me. He doesn’t see our pain. I said to him “you’re a fragile little pussy because being rejected by one woman is nothing compared to being rejected by a society day after day after day. Our blackness does not wash off. And your willful ignorance will always put a target on my back.”