This post is gonna take it down a notch (try cheering yourselves up later by looking through my archives, #sorrynotsorry).
If it’s not already obvious, I cope with life through humor. But I do have a college degree (actually a Master’s too boo boo) so once in a while I venture into serious discussions with my peers regarding politics, social justice, and just plain manners. I love sharing affirmations with others, and reminding people that life is bigger than that one time someone cut you off in traffic or even slept with your man (I still don’t understand why females fight each other rather than ganging up on the main culprit, the man– but I digress).
Lately the pressure to reaffirm and encourage my community, people of color, has felt real and overwhelming. Because just how do you keep literally an entire demographic from losing their shits after seeing countless bodies that look like theirs dropped apparently every other day?
I really lost my cool over the George Zimmerman trial – and I don’t think I ever really recovered from it. Not that I’m trying to outweigh the emotional turmoil of the Trayvon Martin family, but in all seriousness I’ve felt I’ve suffered some very mild post-traumatic stress in the form of just finding any and all reasons to laugh. To laugh so much about anything and everything so as to not have any room to feel fear, pain, or anger. Because I’m usually Dr. King, but if I let myself get any more angry at the growing numbers* of black males and females dying at the hands of police or (let’s just be honest) white people, I might go far left of Malcolm X.
Like, I thought the “riots” after the Michael Brown verdict was light. If I let myself go there I’m imagining reenacting the last couple of scenes in The Purge (if you haven’t seen the movie, beware of spoiler in link – starts at 7:03). I strongly believe that in the end that does no good, because if we have weapons, they (i.e. police, FBI, government squad) are packing even more (they’ve obviously proven this to be so). I don’t want to get into a shooting match just as much as I don’t want to get into shouting matches in the numerous conversations I’ve tried having with friends on this topic.
Sometimes carrying the burden of an upsetting truth, and hiding it, is actually a gift you give to someone else. You bear that burden, so they don’t have to, in a situation where telling them will change nothing.
― Cassandra Clare
That quote puts even more pressure on me, because on the one hand I can’t continue pulling out my hairs trying to comprehend all of this tragedy, but on the other hand I can’t post a Someecard meme mocking “The Bachelorette” without being criticized of being too frivolous (don’t you realize there are MORE important things going in the world besides reality TV??? bark my FB friends). Sometimes my best defense against stress is just not talking about it unless it’s absolutely necessary. To bury my feelings six feet under in a coffin nailed with jokes just to get by another day.
It’s interesting how badly Rachel Dolezal wanted to “enjoy” such a burden (perhaps she’s a masochist), because unfortunately I’m too tanned to pull the whole switcheroo and coast through life with beige skin. So my only remedy, only way to rectify this, is by laughter.
There of course has to be a point at which all people, regardless of what race/ethnicity/culture/hood you affiliate with, come together and take a REAL and PURPOSEFUL stand against this. We’ve fallen off the wagon since the Civil Rights Movement, and as of late it seems people are more concerned about how many snaps they get with clever ways to express outrage at police brutality (please read this linked article – gave me LIFE). We shouldn’t be in a competition to show who’s more outraged than the other, and we also shouldn’t bring each other down if and/or when we decide to just throw water balloons at each other, dig up somebody else’s nose, or any other thing just to get a rise that doesn’t make one wanna kill a man.
I’m trying to live this life God gave me to the fullest, even in the wake of (but not in spite of) Sandra Bland. Black brothers and sisters, you have permission to also do the same.
*To know just how many, read these here: