Not Again

Not Again

Someone on a Facebook livestream kept bringing up Kenosha. He talked about how some people are empathic and need to retreat from the world. Others are always reacting deeply. And then, two days into the latest state sanctioned attempted murder, I read about what happened to Jacob Blake. I really don’t keep up with news or social media

I said, ‘not again,’ about me having to process something painful. I don’t mean, ‘ouch.’ I mean distress because I don’t know how to find my way out of it at the time. Until the one day I’m done with it or it’s done with me. Not again.

I didn’t watch the video, but the news of a black man in the process of getting into a car with his kids inside of it, to drive away because they were his kids and he knew he had a right to do that, it did knock me down, and it took me awhile to stop reeling from it. I talked to a therapist who said that my having the capacity to take something in and feel is not a bad thing. I wasn’t real sure she understood. So, I told her that I had to drink ginger tea all day for stomach pains and I couldn’t focus, then the next day I was up at 3:30 in the morning, unable to go back to sleep. And she said something like, “yeah, well, this is what we’re living through, and it’s a lot.”

Jacob Blake and his children.

The corporations, as everyone witnesses, are doing their corporate thing with their ‘caring’ poses claiming to care about my Black life mattering. Trying to look good. I wonder who they are trying to impress. Me, a black person? No. My spending power is crap. They just want to look good and perhaps even feel good…? I still don’t quite get it. Perhaps it was one company’s idea to do that and they all followed, awkward and stupid.

Some white people in this country, especially here in Berkeley, have genuine concern, much the way someone slowly wakes up from a extensive, protracted lie, and makes adjustments. Like finding out your partner has been lying to you the entire time you have known them. Their whole persona was a fabrication, a shell to make them look better than they were. Suppose they were traveling across the world being a hit man for hire, say, instead of teaching high school and you find out. You might spend a week sitting at the kitchen table over coffee with a friend, and recount all of the times they wore sunglasses on rainy days. Then the next week, you might move on to their having a college degree without knowing the correct city of their supposed Alma Mater.

I think that people who are the farthest away from the sweet wholesome goodness of American normal see the cultural lies the easiest. I look back at grade school at the white males that were encouraged along the most wholeheartedly. I think that those sweet wholesome goodness American normals would be the last to believe that someone like me, having known me as a child, is actually smart and competent because they are the least likely to drop the narrative; that they received the grades because they were good and wonderful and they will always know what to do. It is a pretty seductive narrative to feed a young mind, and I imaging the ego hardens around it such a narrative.

I, on the other hand, was scorned. Not outright, but by the attitude of white (and a few black) teachers who scorned me for reasons beyond my control. I was confronted with huge discontinuities in logic between what I was told and what I observed and knew to be true. I spent my young life connecting the dots with a nimble young mind.  I can’t see my ego (personality) completely but it’s been through a lot of painful adaptation of being torn down and rebuilt since I have become an adult.

I’m not bragging on myself. If I had the power to raise my hand and stop that painful dismantling, I’m sure I would have done that on the first round. And so I’m left thinking about things a lot. And I don’t necessarily listen very well to instruction on the way life is.  I look at things for a long, long time before I form opinions, and even when I do, I’m up for changing my mind. I sit there in the midst of painful misinterpretation, and I just watch my notions and beliefs wash away. Beliefs about who I am and what I believe, only because I was once a little black girl in Oakland having to hold so much of what most people would not want to put a child through. Feeling so much.

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