My He(ART)-Full Life

Friday, December 12, 2014

"I can't breathe"

                                 (a watercolor portrait I painted of Tim a few years ago-a birthday gift)
 In light of the recent events right here in America-the no indictment rulings in both Ferguson + Staten Island as well as the state sanctioned murder of Tamir Rice -I am writing this post. I have no platitudes to offer, no wise and poetic quote or words strung together like so many empty promises. What I have is the crystallization of fury, heartbroken cries of pain...bitterness. I have fallen into an abyss of despair. "I can't breathe."
I have struggled these past many weeks to not allow hate + blind rage to conquer pieces of my heart...and I have failed as many times. The recent string of high profile killings of African American (mostly) males (too numerous to mention) has seemed to bring out the best + worst in us. There are people who think that talking about race equals racism, there are people who think that avoiding talking about these social (in)justice issues is the best way to navigate these dangerous waters...and there are those who think that none of this has anything at all to do with race. It makes people uncomfortable...all this talking about race. And sometimes...their discomfort turns to fear + anger. There has been so much victim blaming, vitriol...and sheer hate + has left me gasping for air. "I can't breathe."
 And so now...I am trying to piece together a way forward for my family. How do I raise my daughter to be a proud American while still educating her about the reality that her life simply is not worth the same in these here United States? How do I clap + cheer and have my heart bursting with pride as Tara recites the Pledge of Allegiance...while having another part of my heart completely shatter to pieces? How do I try to encourage my husband when he talks to me about how, all his life, he's played by the rules whilst knowing...that the rules don't apply to him? How to I still my fear that, at anytime we are out in public...he may be the target of unfounded fear + hate? Sure...he's a United States Marine, an Officer at that...but also... a large Black man. I don't have the privilege + luxury of allowing complacency + silence to seduce me. Sometimes...I wish I seems so much easier. it? There are so many great books + articles written on the systemic issues of racism, on the confluence of societal and personal beliefs and biases that is deeply rooted in America, on race as social construct...on and on. But can any one of those books explain why a police officer would gun down a 12 year old child and then refuse him first aid as he lays there dying? Can any book explain what Tamir Rice must have experienced as he lay there wounded....gasping for air? Are enough of us in this society okay with this to allow it to go as usual. "I can't breathe"
My sweet friend from across the pond sent me an e-mail the other day...and her deeply profound words of wisdom and heartfelt compassion + understanding gave me so much comfort. I want to share some of her message here
"...keep lighting the candles and making the art and telling the stories and showing Tara the truth that it is hard to be a loving, giving, heartfelt soul-true person in this messed up world, but we stay true to our dreams and do what we can, and allow ourselves time out from what we cannot do, but always leave a corner for hope and the universe to be bigger than us and humanity to have more answers than we can individually find, and to honor the answers we do find... and to make community whenever and wherever we can...
including across the sea, with friends we meet on wings ;)"
Thank you sweet lady Dee, and to all the other kindnesses + community I have received these past few weeks; it has made a profound difference. xxx

No comments: