Can you see me?
For maybe the 4th time this week, I read the comments. I never read the comments but this week I somehow decided that strangers can validate my existence. I was wrong.
Everyone knows that you should never read the comments to any post that deals with race, poverty, gender, sexuality, religion, or anything that might be marginalized if you want to remain at peace.
Today, I lost my peace.
I scrolled through the comments of a post about the infamous “Kissing Case.” 2 little black boys were brutally beaten, incarcerated in an adult jail, and had their innocence taken from them because they were accused of kissing a white girl.
As you can imagine the comments were filled with ignorant, illogical, and racist posts. Growing up black in St. Louis, I’ve been desensitized to the gross, overt racism of bigoted white folk. Today was different.
I came across a post that disturbed me on a level that I have not seen since that day when I was 12-years-old yelling “Happy New Year” to the sky, as white people in a pick-up truck drove past me calling me a “stupid nigger.”
It wasn’t so much what the post said. As I write this, I can barely discern that specific post from countless others I scrolled across this past week.
I’ve simply reached the peak of my ever-filling vessel of oppression. I couldn’t take anymore.
After reading another ignorant comment about how black people are to blame for children being beaten by cops, I lost it.
I let out a short and anguished high-pitched scream, then immediately went upstairs to take a bath. As I sat in the dark bathroom attempting to meditate and find my peace in the warm water, I began to sob uncontrollably.
I don’t cry often. I don’t like crying. But this cry, which was more of an eruption of dry heaves from some place deep in me that I haven’t visited in a while, was because I realized that I am nothing.
My pain. My suffering. My tears. None of the things that I endure as a black person ever garners empathy or compassion from people that are human like me.
Violence against my body, and many bodies that look like me, can, and always will be, justified.
The baby Tamir Rice.
As I write these names I feel pain that comes from remembering that death is permanent. I feel invisible because the permanence of death is a justified repercussion for being born black.
Why do I have to endure violence and suffer silently? Why does my pain not resonate with humans like the death of a dog. Or the caging of Orcas. Or the arresting of a celebrity.
Poisoned water in Flint is not as important as a closing of a Bread Co.
I’m tired. I’m so very tired. Today I had to feel my heartbeat to remember that I’m here. I’m still breathing. I’m still alive. Cause when you live in this space of silent suffering, it’s easy to forget that you’re someone’s person.
I need someone to see me. I need someone to look at my whole being and tell me that I exist. I’m important. I matter. I need someone to remember that all those black women, children, and men that we have lost were here at some point.
Tamir smiled and laughed on playgrounds.
Mike ate Red Hot Riplets and made jokes during lunchtime.
Sandra danced and socialized at bars.
They were here. They lived. They existed.
I’m here, for now.