“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” It can either be a call to action or a crippling fear of hopelessness.
I woke up the other day feeling the warmth of the sun peeking through my bedroom blinds while a heavy cloud of defeat, and hopelessness sat on my shoulders. The protests, the coming together, the fighting for Black people’s human right to live without fear (although I do wonder what affects this will have on our health given we are still in a national pandemic) were on repeat deep inside of me.
As the day progressed, the news that the other Minneapolis officers were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting made way for a brief exhale from my chest. Seeing young people use their voice, lead out, stand for what’s right gave me pockets of joy. I had viewed so many wonderful beyond wonderful posts and news reports from all walks of life but I was raw. Raw, like an irritable rash in desperate need of ointment and coverings.
Only thing is, I didn’t want to cover it up. I wanted people to see my wound. Tired of putting on multiple faces, I thought about how some would rather I walk it out privately and come back once the rash heals so they can see the brighter side of me, the spiritual ‘no weapon formed against me’ side of me, the “strong black woman’ side of me, and the loving, glass-half-full, positive and uplifting side of me. All of these powers are still inside of me. But this kryptonite got me, real weak.
Meanwhile, my consciousness is having its own conversation; We’ve been here before. Will the officers be convicted? Will they give us this win only to keep killing us while sentencing them? Will we go back to normal after the protests have concluded? Will we vote? Will Black people start tearing one another down again once we no longer have a common adversary? Will we all go back into our sub-groups? What drug, what evil will be introduced to take us ten steps back again? Will things really change for my children and my children’s children? Are these white people for real? Will we get the police officers out of the schools so we can stop the school-to-prison-pipeline? How are we going to get the police to stop policing Black people and serve and protect us too? Will the systems put in place to keep us from gaining generational wealth, getting a good education, living free, be burned to the ground? How long will we have to wait? I’m not trying to doubt. I want to believe all the fighting, protesting, unified voices will not be in vain, that they will prevail. But my conscious rage knows this is the gruesome side of history forcing me to grapple with these questions.
Most of these questions can’t be answered. Only time will tell. One thing we do have control over is how we respond. How we take action. One of the ways we can affect change is by voting. Deciding which governor, mayor, attorney general, sheriff… will best serve the people, work to eliminate systemic racism and increase unity amongst all humanity.