“I Hope You’re Doing Okay.”
So many white people have texted, called or messaged me. Like, a lot.
I hope after this week — and the last and the week before last — that all of what you know about me now makes sense. The joy and the laughter. The pain and the suffering. The silence and the screaming. The closeness and the distance. The appreciation for life and the suicide attempts. The masks and the realness. The accountability and lack of discipline. My rights and my wrongs.
If it doesn’t, that’s okay. I never went to you with those fluctuations and vicissitudes. I never felt comfortable to do so. I did go to Black women because they knew. They fed me and came over with groceries. They braided my hair and laughed with me. Took walks with me and sent texts. I didn’t have to say much of all and they understood. I can be honestly flawed and hopelessly futuristic. They are my only safe space to do such a thing.
Black women will always be a refuge. I’m not sure that I’m willing to find comfort inside of your versions of Hebron as of yet.
People have caught stray bullets because of my insistence to appear as if I had it all together, or thought I did. Going to work in shambles only to be taken out of my misery after my misery bled onto others. I carried a lot of shame and guilt and huff and puff trying to keep up with the idea that I was the example of what God’s grace and Her community can do. I couldn’t let you think that your hospitality and warmness were for nothing. I was worth the charity. Sometimes, as Black people, we end up as unintentional charity cases for white people to prove that they aren’t racist. Meanwhile I couldn’t give myself the attention, love and care that I needed. I didn’t find myself worthy of being saved by God.
But here I am in the midst of a moment where people care to know if I’m doing okay because Black people are dying and it finally registers with the rest of the world. Ahmaud Arbery was called a “nigger” after he was gunned down. Breonna Taylor’s mother had to learn that her daughter’s body lay dead inside of her apartment for hours. George Floyd couldn’t breathe. Oluwatoyin Salau thought the Holy Spirit would protect her. That right there gutted me and triggered a break.
The Holy Spirit protects me still despite every reason I’ve given Her to run away from me. Sometimes it feels as if She does depart from me as to not witness my self-destruction. Yet She comes back when I wake up and depart from what She and I both knew was not good for me.
What isn’t good for me is a lack of self-reflection. My pride-led desire to be “okay” has hurt people. Hurt people who dove inside of their Jesus-led hearts to help me. My suffering in silence cost me jobs, friendships. My desire to be what I believed others thought I should be caused me to run to other cities to bathe in the dirty bath waters of my demons. While I’m not responsible for the cause of that trauma, I am responsible for reflecting on when trauma was taken out on people who didn’t deserve to catch that wrath.
Wrath and rage right now is all that I carry. Perpetual wrath and rage. Rage toward the systems that never cared to protect me. Rage toward the communities that only pretended to care about the people who look like me. Rage toward the friends that finally understand. Rage toward the friends that I thought understood only to be reminded that they never had the capacity to think outside of their own worldview. Rage toward white Christendom. Rage toward white privilege (or “white blessings”). Rage toward police. Rage toward those who I thought would protect me because my Dad set a standard. Rage toward my Dad for not being here. Rage toward God for taking my Dad away from me. I am mad.
However, I am present. Fighting this moment is to be present, to walk into all spaces with full honesty and truth about how I feel. Honestly, I’m okay. Teetering toward insanity but okay. That’s been my reality. The reality that my Sisters have seen and you may never receive the privilege to witness.
Or the blessing.