Ré, TeriJo, H., Meg, and anyone else who’s been in on this pin thread—
Clay Rivers

Clay Rivers , I’m not religious, but bless you for what you’re trying to do here. I do understand, and I would love to have some of your confidence right now. Many times I have had it. I can’t explain what happens inside me when I can smile at a stranger and not be invested in what happens after. I have a diagnosis of depression, and it’s worse on some days than others. Some days, the thought of getting out of bed, much less into the shower upsets me so much that just trying to explain it to folks who don’t accept that it’s a physical, brain chemistry thing, is enough to make me consider suicide to spare everyone including myself the trouble of me.

I don’t say this to elicit sympathy. Just empathy, you know understanding. I am an individual. Most days lately I need to feel that even though I’m black (and on top of that now I have this thing, this condition I don’t want to have) I could still merit being the one who’s approached. That even though I’ve lived my life knowing I had to be ‘better’, like many of our parents taught us, lest I be judged more harshly than the invisible person who can navigate the crowd without being instantly noticed as different — maybe I can listen to past therapists, too, and realize how that thinking hurts me and try to just be me.

Maybe I’m too sensitive to what my country’s been telling me this last year. Maybe I expected too much because we elected a black president twice. Maybe I paid attention to the backlash against him and us, but not nearly enough. Maybe I’m a product of the specific life I’ve lived when instead I have to be much more than that. I’d love to be more than that. I do try. In my writing, sometimes I am.

In person, I respond in kind when I’m approached (sometimes respond better) and always try not to be offensive, even if I leave the house angry. Most days, I’d just like to know I can be who I am and not have to try so hard to be some other way.

For me, it’s not about pins. It’s about looking at life. When I write about pins, I’m examining life while writing about pins.

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