Strength

Blackness is not a thing that is easy

It builds you

Brick by brick

Bricks hurled at windows and cars and sculls and arms

The same arms that will pick up those bricks

Slather them in mortar and add them to the strength that is our being

We all wear it differently

Own it differently

This blackness

But its there

In our blood and our bones

To be black is to know a sorrow so deep it stems from a place that has no end

No true beginning

Just pulls us forward

It’s fire that burns beneath our skin

Lighting us up

Running like lava through our veins

A constant promise

An ever waiting truth

6am

It’s six o’clock and I’m tired of the way you make me feel, old and hungry and sad.  A useless combination. I cleared off my desk today.  I like to pretend that it will help me work.  If I have a space, dedicated, committed.  I like to use synonyms, back to back.  Because life is all about nuances.  Slight differences changing one thing from another.  A truck stops on the side of the street. To let pedestrians pass. It’s snowing out. They walk, arm in arm.  Linked. Should they fall, their fates are likely intertwined.  Unless they’re lucky or strong.  Folks don’t seem to be both anymore.

Righteous or Racist?

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I’ve got some things to say.  They may not be things all of ya’ll wanna hear, and some of you may come for me, but that’s alright, I’m ready for that.  There’s nothing new with that.

I don’t really know who this letter is to.  I don’t really know what it is I hope to accomplish by writing it, but I do know that it needs to be written.  Some changes need to be made.  And I’m not coming to you with all the answers, because I’ve got none of them.  I’m out here just as clueless as ya’ll.  Just as helpless as ya’ll.  Just as surrendered as ya’ll…

…and I think that’s what we need to talk about.

Surrender.  Not to the system, because fuck the system.  We need to rage against that shit.  Rage long and hard and strong.

But surrender to ourselves, to our differences.  And here, here I’m talking to my black and brown sisters and brothers.  Here I am talking about the things that keep us from coming together and being the force we are more than capable of being, and are called to be.

I’ve been in a couple tiffs with some of ya’ll.  A sister asked me about them the other night and I couldn’t tell her.  To me, they’re petty and small and don’t matter.  What matters is breaking down the barriers so that we can come together, support each other, lift one another up and drive that energy forward.

Our community is divided, anyone can see that.  A house that’s built on fractured foundation is sure to crumble and fall.  We’re out here trying to build us a new home, and this foundation is not having it.  In some places, it’s solid as a rock and beautiful and strong, but in others, there are these wide gaps, with only tiny pieces touching.  We need to fill in those gaps.  Make a solid platform to move forward. Build up.

And I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know what that looks like.  But I know it needs to happen.  So I am surrendering myself to you.  I am surrendering myself to this movement. To our lives, to our humanity.

I don’t need to tell ya’ll there was a protest friday night.  You already know, most of you were there putting your bodies and your souls on the line.  I was not.  I showed up after cruelty was already expressed, and bodies were already violated and pressed into the back of a bus and shipped to the Cumberland County Jail.

So I need to honor those fierce as fuck beings who were out there, doing this work.  I need to honor their experiences and acknowledge that I have no idea what it felt like to have my body violated in the deep and viscious ways they did. Have no idea what it felt like to have devils in suits (and you can fight me on that) malicously attempt to strip me of my dignity. I can imagine.  I can imagine the righteous rage and fury and pain and sadness and confusion and so many other feelings that may have been, and may still be swirling through their bodies, but I don’t know.

And it is infuriating to see the response of the Portland community.

Now, I’m talking to the rest of ya’ll.

It is infuriating, but not suprising.  Because this is what we’re talking about.  This is what we have been saying.  Black Lives Matter just turned four.  For four years we’ve been out here talking to you all about the state of the world we live in.  And there is this myth that it doesn’t happen here.  That Portland is safe, that the PPD is different.  Well, it’s not.  A friend said to me that night, as we were driving away from the jail, that Maine isn’t any different. Portland isn’t any different.  We’re just a smaller community. We are small and we haven’t rocked the boat.  Well, now we swinging off this shit and we’re gonna make damn sure it flips over.

Because there was a shift friday night.  And it can’t be moved back.  Won’t be moved back. We’re raising this consciousness and seeing some ugly truths in the process. Some of ya’ll mad.  Good. Stay mad.  But do me a favor, when you are, look in the mirror, study your reflection, is your rage righteous? Or is it racist?  You decide, and then keep listening, we’ll tell you whether you right, or not.

 

On Acknowledging Truth

I am not as strong as I think I am
I am not as clever as I pretend to be
I use big words and grandiose statements to hide my fear
The world terrifies me
I have gotten nowhere, fast and I am afraid I will stay here
I Fuck up chances like it’s my job
And my childhood tore me down instead of building me up
I am a shell, a fraud, a coward
I never do the things I say I will
I hide from people and the world because they hurt me and attack me and judge me
I am not who I pretend to be
I can’t fake it til I make it
I am tired.
I am not as strong as I think I am.

Adoptee

These are the things that I wanted to tap into.  But I couldn’t —wouldn’t.  I didn’t know how.  Hadn’t accepted that it was a thing which I needed to do.  I was in so much denial about myself, it is shocking to me.  My disillusion.  My blindness, apathy.  I had no concept of how much my adoption has to do with who I am.  Not simply my relationships, or feelings, but how it wove itself into how I view myself as a person, as a lover, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a woman.  I never considered. 

Truth is, I didn’t want to consider.  That was a door which I dared not open, for fear of what I might find.  So much crowded my plate already; dealing with my failure to complete school, the performance in my classes, work, relationships.  Finding a way to cope with my race, childhood sexual abuse, issues with my ‘brother’, parents, family… were already so overwhelming, I did not believe I had the strength to consider. 

If I had though, I would have seen that underneath all of these issues, at the root, the pit in the center of my universe, it was there.  Creeping along the edges of my conscious mind, swarmed the insecurities I felt surrounding the circumstances of my adoption, infecting all of these areas and magnifying them tenfold.   

It has cut me apart.  Little by little, causing me to question the validity of my ‘intrinsic’ self-worth.  Eating at how I value myself, in comparison with others.  The figures don’t look good.  I don’t look good.  And it kills me, because I know that I was given up (God, just that phrase, ‘given up’) so that I might lead a better life.  So that I might have better opportunities, a better home.  In a lot of ways I did.  In a lot of ways I am sure that the wall which holds the doors of my opportunities is indeed, vast.   

That doesn’t change the fact that it hurts. I hurt.  I am wounded.  It is a wound which was inflicted at birth and has never been properly tended.  It has festered and become a sore.  I must tend it, heal it.  Only then will I allow myself to lead the life I know I was born to live.