First, there was heartache, the hurt of hope deferred. Then, there was anger and fear as I watched what little naivete I had finally, truly die. Who would I be, now? I’m the ‘nice one’. I’m ‘understanding’ and ‘open-minded’. Who is this angry person? I don’t want to be her! It’s too late. I already am.
And after that, there came an all-consuming black hole of fear that dominated my entire mental landscape. But now, within me, that has all hardened into a deep resolve. My enemies want to see me fearful. They want me to huddle in corners and secret places with my fellow minorities, afraid and shivering. They want me to walk with my head low, shoulders in, murmuring whenever I speak. But I’ve never been one to give people what they want. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from surprised that we’re here. I knew this would happen (that’s for another post), but still had a wish that it could’ve gone otherwise. I didn’t walk around with my head up my ass, thinking that racism was done and gone for, that racists were all these hillbilly yokels in the South.
Yet still, I’m quite angry that we’re here.
They say that racists have been emboldened. I too have been emboldened.
Before the 9th, I was a good little token. I kept my views to myself. I didn’t speak up often, and online I just parroted whatever the current good thinker on my feed would say. Besides, many of my best friends are white. Some of my friends voted Republican. I bore my anger quietly, even as white liberals feigned confusion as to where all the racism suddenly came from, like racists are these mysterious swamp creatures that suddenly had a great spawning season. Racists are everywhere. They make my coffee. They give you directions. They sit next to me on the bus. They share your campus. They strut around, now feeling cocky as shit like a little straight boy after touching his first tit. But now, rather than drive me further into silence, these current events have driven the rage within me out into the light. There is nowhere else for it to be, for it has grown too great, too large to be contained within the remains of my empathy.
2016 has been a very rough year for me, both in my own personal life and otherwise. I used to never have nightmares. I’ve been through horrible shit, but somehow managed to go so many years able to sleep peacefully. But somewhere this year, they began. Perhaps they’ve been building over the years, the tipping point finally reached. I also live with sleep paralysis and tend to remember my dreams. Oftentimes I find myself in the middle of a dream, suddenly gripped with the need to “get out” or die, or so it feels. I’ve jumped out of bed to the amusement of my fiancee, experienced pain and more, usually in a funny fantasy setting that I can easily laugh off once it’s over.
But now, my dreams have taken a sharp turn for the worse. Instead of falling through clouds, I’m falling onto pavement. Instead of needing to press buttons to dispense ice cream in the Matrix, I need to seal the wounds of missing limbs. Instead of needing to yell for fish to sing in front of the Emperor, I have to scream pleas for my own life, which go unheard.
I can’t tell what causes these nightmares. I’ve had them after wonderful days, and after bad days. I’ve slept with medicinal aid, and without. I’ve done meditations, stress exercises and more. My mind became a minefield this year, and I can never tell where the next bomb is. All I can do is walk and hope.
I wasn’t born bold. I used to walk around scared. It’s taken years upon years to learn how to love my self, this self that the world around me deems worthy of murder. Whenever I walk with my head held high, I honor that same self by propping it up on the pedestal it damn well deserves. I’ve seen that self through misogyny, racism, homophobia, ableism and transphobia. I live without being able to list anybody in my family as “next of kin” not because I have a small family, but because my own family wants nothing to do with and wouldn’t even recognize me.
So after all I’ve been through, post-election racist white America is nothing.
And despite all of this, I now refuse to show fear. This doesn’t mean that I’m some Superwoman unable to feel fear. No. But I refuse to walk around like and treat myself as anything less than a queen. One of my friends said something recently that sticks with me now. “Don’t leave the house without your crown.”. I’ve always taken this mentality to heart a little, yet nowadays I’m putting a little extra polish on it. Despite the media telling me that we’re all gonna die, the sky’s falling, it’s the end of the world. Despite the fearmongering and shock as White people wake up to the reality I’ve lived since birth. I refuse to show fear.
Remember: We do not merely live in America. We ARE America. Us living here, right now, are America. We have a birthright to be here, a right to walk with boldness and courage, a right to exist freely. This is not ”Trump’s America” to mold as he and his gang of primitive thugs see fit, for WE aren’t anyone’s to mold or control as seen fit. The time for fearmongering has passed. The time to lift eachother up is now.