Emotionally Weary and Psychologically Worn…
Here we are, April 2018 and I realize I don’t want to live in this world anymore.
There used to be a time when it would take months for me to feel this way, but now it’s every other day. Not because my life is terrible. I realize I’m somewhat protected at the moment. But I am one misinterpreted interaction from being hauled away from my life and either murdered or imprisoned for exposing my humanity around white people.
I’m one angry white person away from being murdered in road rage.
I’m one angry anti-Black person away from being knocked to the ground and strangled because someone said I stole something.
I’m one angry white person away from being beaten for driving my own car.
I’m one angry white person away from being shot in my yard for having my cell phone.
I’m one angry white person away from writing the wrong thing and having the powers that be shut down all my shit.
It doesn’t take much for the hammer of systemic racism to come down and fucking destroy your life. All it takes is one angry and motivated white person who is willing to do everything in their power to punish you for existing anywhere near them. For in any way outperforming them. For in any way making them aware that they actually can’t compete with you; that you are better than them at a lot of things.
One angry white person.
Like the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre. Like the 1923 Rosewood, Florida massacre. Like Emmett Till’s murder for some white woman’s lie. Like the murder of Korryn Gaines by police officers. Like the murder of Sandra Bland by police officers. Like the murder of Eric Garner by the police. Like the murders of Terence Crutcher, DeCynthia Clements, and Philandro Castile. And like the most recent murders of Markis, Jeremiah, Abigail, Devonte, Hannah, and Sierra Hart by their white adoptive parents.
And there are so many more Black people who have been murdered by white supremacy and anti-Blackness. By doctors who don’t think our pain and illnesses are real. By neighbors who assume our intent is always harm. By response units that see us as criminals. By investigative units that assumes missing Black children are runaways and refuse to look for them. I am cut again and again by a callousness and disregard of a country explains our lives, our existence away with a white supremacist rhetoric that blames us for our own ills. And the anguish I feel for the list of the named and unnamed lost to this shithole nation of lies and alibies squeezes my heart until I feel as though I am going to implode.
And every day I am expected to live my life like this shit doesn’t happen all the time. Like it’s not brewing somewhere in the background, the jack-in-the-box of my own destruction at the hands or white supremacist rage. Every day I am supposed to lie and say “not the white people I know” when the reality is that if I say what I’m really thinking aloud, the likelihood of my death becomes a larger reality. But I’m supposed to believe I’m exaggerating, right? I’m supposed to believe I’m being dramatic, right? In a country where white people advocate for the right to hit protesters with their cars, I’m the one that’s paranoid? In a country where Black victims of racist violence are charged and put on trial as though it’s their fault?
This is the logic I’m supposed to accept as truth? This is the “truth” I’m supposed to believe?
I can’t. I fucking can’t. I lack the capacity to lie to myself this much. I lack the ability to say that I live in a good country. I don’t. I live in a country that would do anything to present the image of goodness, even if it’s one huge lie after another until the sheer volume and repetition of the lies drown out everyone else. I live among monsters who play with their food, tease it, comfort it, pretend to care, and then ruthlessly slaughters it…us… for their own gain. Their sustenance is the education, tools, accomplishments, and creativity of Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and their appetite is insatiable. They rape, pillage, and murder the land itself in their greed and somehow manage to absolve themselves of all responsibility. It would be fascinating if I wasn’t riding the conveyor belt towards my own intellectual, emotional, and spiritual and consumption and destruction for the very system in which I currently survive.
At age 43, I have finally accepted that in this country, in this life, I am a resource meant to be exploited and consumed until there is nothing left of me to give, at which point I will be discarded and forgotten. And there is nothing I can do about it.
My ideas will be mined and accredited to white people. My creative efforts will be stripped of my identity and attributed to someone whose face fits the white supremacist narrative. My body and sexuality are objects for consumption by those who project their selfish desired on to me and then create environments that encourage me to fulfill them. I am not human. I am a commodity, one whose value diminishes every time I speak and the older I become. I am invisible and I am nothing because my identity is not and will never be me for those on the outside looking in.
I am not real.
I am a collection of parts waiting to be useful to some pale face.
I am a toy that monsters love to manipulate. One they twist and contort in all manner of ways and when I’m broken, they find creative ways to destroy what’s left.
I am the ant you never noticed as you went about your day. I am the ant in the anthill you seek to destroy. And no matter how long and hard I scream and yell and cry and fight, I will meet the fate of those who came before me – eaten and forgotten.
I am a nuisance. I am nothing. And I no longer want to be here.
This isn’t a suicide note. This isn’t a cry for help. This is how I feel day after day of experiencing, watching, and trying to avoid whiteness as it decimates the lives of everyone not white. As it decimates their own lives, a destruction that many white people accept because at least it means BIPOCs will suffer, too and often more than they will. I sit here, a target in America’s shooting gallery wondering when I’ll be blown to pieces and whether it’s worth fighting to survive another day.
I don’t know. I really don’t know.
What I do know is I’m going to die regardless. Death is the one guarantee of life. What I do know is that if I die now, I eliminate all possibility of finding and experiencing any joy in this life. What I do know is that I’ve been raised in the crucible of hope and possibility and that as bad as it is, it isn’t bad enough for me to quit. Not yet.
But like many others, I’m tired. And this shit never stops. It never ends. The only relief is to bury my head in the sand but that just makes me ignorant and no less of a target. This culture of fear had done its job. I’m scared to be here and I’m tired of fighting the fear. The real question is what will happen when that fear no longer exists.
I’m starting to eagerly anticipate that day.