The image above is from last year at a time when racial tensions were put as a reminder on our news stations, in our feeds, it's always been there. Anybody that says it phased out is deceiving themselves, for deaths to make it to TV now, this can't be the beginning it was just too apparent to file as a report in some police station and stay hidden under lock and key. And I hope you know it is still happening, and no not all those incidents will make the news. Families will continually fight, communities will continually plea for the blood of its children to be redeemed. A year later I wanted to take you through the thoughts of this photo and my 10 word story. My #10wordstory is on Instagram, if you would like to read it. I'm trying to go through what exactly I was thinking of when writing this 10-word story and what really lies behind these 10 words besides a powerful photo.
When you're a writer it is easier to make an attempt to write some words down to ease situations, to put something visible to how you internally feel and in some instances to help you keep a balance mentally. All these images, footage, stories, officers not being given their due punishment and the constant demonizing of those killed is a lot to process. Just a while back the very district attorney that decided not to charge the policeman responsible for Mike Brown's death, was up for re-election in St. Louis. If this doesn't raise question to who exactly we give authority to and what that does when it travels heavy-footed down the system, then I'm not sure what else to say. The assumption that something must have been done to provoke a situation, rather than facing that some 'human beings' are just purely evil and haven't woken up to the current climate of unavoidable diversity. I love diversity, I love communities where everybody doesn't look the same but I love communities where everybody has something that connects them whether culturally, ethnically or on the basis of cuisine.. because who doesn't love good food.
I love diversity because it constantly reminds me that there is more to life than one form of a pretty picture. As I reflect on the pretty picture and pictures, I remember that the canvas that holds the entire human race cannot claim it is complete when we look to the erasure of some. A birth is an addition to this canvas, a new hue to awaken the life that it already there but a death, that is the sudden disappearance of a masterpiece that was in progress and never quite got finished. When our faces have not finished their purpose on that canvas, bullet wounds are what is left in its place. A piercing, gaping hole that no fabric can replace or mend.
It's bad enough facing the constant profiling, frisking, emasculation and often dehumanization that history has successfully repeated and projected on melanated people, on minorities, on the ever persistent fighters who challenge statistics, rise above and are still pushed into a box or rabbit hole of some sort.
I'm no expert, I'm no activist because boy do they suffer from all the fighting and advocating; but I believe experience and the reality of many situations qualifies me to have a voice. Asks of me to speak on what I do know so I can be educated on what I don't know, to stop shielding myself from the call to rise above all that I've been told to be and wake up to what I am purposed to be.
I can go on sharing and exploring and explaining, but let's get onto these 10 words behind the powerful picture.
1. I'd - I would, if I could..
If I could close my mouth, if I could stop voicing my concerns, if I could stop seeing these images, if I could stop experiencing these fears, if I could stop talking, if I could silence every unqualified individual who only sees a race card being played instead of seeing a real problem. If only I could, I wouldn't. I am two parts fighter, one third outnumbered.. I don't think I have any other choice, I know I don't have any other choice but to fight in love and put that love in the atmosphere while I ponder, internalize and react to this hate.
2. Ask - this denotes that permission is required first, but is it really, do I really need it before I can speak. Ask denotes that I need approval to proceed with where I am headed to next. It requires of me to sort this out by myself but is all of a sudden a helping hand when I do things against an expected plan, a plan that didn't expect me to take the decisions I have taken. Spoken words that were too strong a concoction to swallow as whole truth. It tells me to wait on permission while others assume right to exclude what I think, or how I might feel. It asks of me without expecting me to ask questions right back.
3. For - for what reason, and for what is it that I ask, for whom? For who am I supposed to keep quiet, stop feeling, stop being. I ask for whom. Whom must I surrender my struggles to.. not as a trade for peace and respect or restored worth but for more worry, fear, displaced identity and continual target. If the reason isn't for me, where me is everything that is right and needed here, then what does your input matter.
4. A - I am giving possession to something. A boy, a girl, a seat at this table.. what? I am giving possession to all the consequences that come with taking everything internalized, thought about and seen, and I am vomiting it up so it doesn't weaken me. I cut the things that drain energy, make me useless for battle to awaken the things that will provide me with help. The possession is help and I wish to share it with those who need it through listening ears, open hearts and a spirit that discerns when war is necessary and where to apply subtle moves of moving past traps set to trigger emotions.
5. Lighter - is this burden too hard for you ma'am, will anybody help you.. a supposed dent on my character. If the mud is on your face and the dirt clothing you from head to toe and I mock you, will you stop doing the things that I punish you for ? Will you stop talking, will I have succeeded in depleting your rights ? And while you're down there, take a good look at my shoes. I don't mind looking at shoes not far from a face that could be kicked in, I don't mind doing anything that continually exposes how corrupt you are as a 'cop', a 'judge' and 'anybody else'.
6. Sentence - this could be a grammatical construction, but it's served time.. a period where I am in confinement.. whether solely to rip my mind from me or hope that I won't remember how to fight after I give this time out of my life.
7. But - is this to state my pause, a hesitation, a break taken to continue
8. I'm - I am, bringing this back to me.
9. Not - no going back, did I stutter? No negotiation, the fair grounds are gone.
10. Sorry - does this call for apologies, stating that I am wrong, is this something to be sorry about. I am sitting alone at a table I can't engage with another mind so I engage mine, do you now find a problem with it ? Is it ok for me to sit alone AND be comfortable while you sit uncomfortably shifting the padding in your butt looking at the place you placed me, with the intent to tie me to misery and have me sit in it.
My caption is a reflection of what goes on when all of this is absorbed, when all of this is endured, when we have to grow generation after generation hoping that the previous generation healed so we would have a greater strength to move forward with. So, we would have greater wisdom to walk in and develop. We hope that we are not stereotypically birthed, racially graded and sectioned according to surface knowledge held of us. When I smile outside and keep it moving, I am crying, reporting you to God and praying behind closed doors. My prayers and reports may seem to amount to nothing but there is one judgement that no officer, no attorney and no judge can escape and that is the FINAL judgement given by God. My friend on instagram, wrote a poem and a prayer that expresses these thoughts exactly and beautifully, read it here.