fear. part one.
“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” — James Baldwin
I've found myself riddled with fear. Sometimes I wish it was the kind of fear that would force me into a corner, barricaded under a blanket fort equipped with flashlight (courtesy of my phone, it is 2015 afterall) and a book. But it’s not. It’s the kind of the fear that lives beneath the surface of your skin. It’s imprinted itself into your fingerprint. Everything you touch seems tainted. So much so, the grip on the future is bleak. I function, barely. Feeling like a shell of a human being. I pat myself on the back for merely getting through the day. As if it were an accomplishment that I have managed to not run away from my skin. That I wear this fear, the way I do my skin and oddly the way I do my pride.
I want to have a family. It has been the one consistent goal or dream I have had. I’ve wanted to be a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, a firefighter, Beyonce. You name it, part of me wanted to be it at one point in my life. But I’ve always wanted my own family. And then you grow up. You start realizing what values you would pass on to your children, how you would raise them, how they would be “different” then those screaming children on the train behaving all types of crazy. Then you start watching the news. Reading the blogs. Talking to people. Paying attention. And you feel almost terrible you could even consider bringing a child into this world. Especially a child that looks like me. Or the man I love. Brown. Black. Beautiful. And I’m frightened. Also, angry.
I’m angry at any society that makes me reconsider my dreams. I grew out of my other dreams the way we do clothing. You try them on, and they no longer fit you. I grew into aspects of my personality that lended itself towards other aspirations, away from the childish ones. I shed them, packaged them away with my other memories, knowing full well I could be anything I wanted to be. I just didn’t want to be that. But my own family? How could anything make me feel as if I don’t want that? As if the alternative would be safer? A genocide of black mothers before we could ever become them. Then the rage comes. Who is this woman that would let anyone suggest to me that black children are safer not being created? Not being raised? Not being loved? So the fear becomes this motivator. This force I have to push through. But what is on the other side? I can push through, persevere but for what? To meet the fear on the other side with a family in the arms.To create a sanctuary, a respite. Because this fear, this rage does not seem to be letting up.
But thankfully, to be black and to be conscious has also expanded my definition of love. My definiton of courage.
To be black and to be conscious is to have an overwhelming and unconditional belief in the spirit of our people. The trick is applying that unconditional belief internally.