I should be writing about this.
At least once a day, I think, “I should be writing about this.”
All of my life I’ve felt an anticipation — one so often dismissed as the mandate of youth.
I can’t help but feel like I’ve been waiting for this.
Can’t help but think a lifetime of anxiety has stopped feeling like diagnosis, and much more like preparation.
Can’t help but feel helpless.
Can’t help but feel the rage in my throat thinking of all those who will clap for my mother’s scrubs and still vote in the architects of her ruin.
Can’t help it.
So I’ve been focusing on my art. Trying to make it. Remember it. Get back to it. All the while thinking, “I should be writing about this.” I know more than most what trauma can do to the memory, and want so badly to save my loved ones from that fate. I know more than most what it feels like to look back on swaths of your memory with a black light, hoping for a speck amidst a decidedly blank canvas. I know more than most.
I fear more than most.
I feel more than most, what it means for the voice in your head to be an unreliable narrator. History is written by the victors, yes. But also those hard enough to keep going. And I want to keep going. I want more than anything to lay my life – I mean my pen – on any line for the sake of people who look like me. Hurt like me. Much easier said than done. Much easier said, with more “effective” methods at the ready – under the cover of diversion.
I’ve wanted, so long, for people to see the importance of an intentional pen, and this lockdown has done nothing but reaffirm this belief — then remind me of the arrogance inherent in any attempt to wield my own.
It is fear.
But more than fear, it is cowardice. But I don’t want to be a coward. I don’t want to shrink from the responsibility of the only skill I’ve ever been sure of. A purpose: ready-made and ever present — that I would sooner run from, than work to feel worthy of. Have you ever run from work that predicates all you could need? Have you ever decided that you didn’t deserve your destiny, because the notion that you do, was unconscionable? I’ve been making so many decisions lately:
I will order a new mask
I will not get my lashes done
I will pack for Saturday’s protest
I will not smoke through my budget
So many choices and still, I am not a fighter. I can fight. I will fight. But I am not a fighter.
I am a weak woman, with a loud voice, and none of the courage necessary to use it.
None of the rage I carry wants to fight.
It wants to kill.
It wants to destroy those who would make a martyr of me.
It wants to rant at the overuse of that term, because Black people merely living their lives could never choose to die –
for any cause.
For any structure seeing us as little more than fodder for its sustenance.
For any pigs trying to satiate their innumerate complexes.
For any ‘doctors’ determined to prove our strength.
For any peers, dipped in respectability, who would seek to protect themselves in white supremacy’s cold embrace.
We never choose this.
But we get here all the same.
Lost and confused.
Subsumed by grief.
But never surprised.
We’re never surprised.
It is fear.
But I am not a coward.
I am scared.
But I will fight.
I have no choice.
But I am still not a fighter.
I am a weak woman.
With a loud voice.
Praying for the strength to use it.