there was a time when i was both sad and broken. a time when my heart hurt so much that it actually felt like it was an entity moving outside my body. there was a time in my life when each day that i woke up i literally would count the seconds it took for me to open my eyes and realize today was a new day and not just the same day that i had been living for months on end.
i was sad.
i was broken.
but see, i am also black and female. so my sad brokenness does not fit in with the narrative my world has of me. i exist in a society where black women are not permitted the chance to be sad. to be broken.
see the narrative that society holds for us is that we remain strong.
society requires us to raise buildings.
to birth babies.
to quilt blankets from hand woven fabrics.
to sow gardens.
to piece together our very existence from air thin nothingness and not break and not be sad in the midst of it all. and when we are denied our sadness…when we are denied our brokenness and we yell or shout or stomp our feet and tell you enough we are deemed monstrous and unacceptable.
our very humanity is denied us.
it has been denied us for generations and for no damn good reason. so when i was sad and broken i got up and went to work. i cooked food. i helped care for the sick. i set up demonstrations to aid in the defense of others. hell, i went on tv to represent causes others signed me up to support. i was a pillar of society because that is what society expects of me.
when i think of it now post-sad brokenness it makes me so angry. it makes me so angry that i shake and i wake up with headaches and i am trying so hard to not be another black woman ridden with high blood pressure and her nasty twin diabetes but gotdammit i am so angry.
why can’t i feel my sadness?
why can’t i be free to address my brokenness?
what the hell is wrong with me grieving?
children gunned downed in the street. mothers raped in their living rooms. grandmothers robbed at gunpoint. churches burned to the ground. aunties slaughtered at wednesday night prayer circle. sisters jailed.
these things are placed on the 5 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 7 o’clock, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock and early morning news show. and even if these things haven’t happened to you specifically. they happen. they happen everyday and we live in a society that thinks its okay. that thinks its entertainment in fact to place images of our pain across their television screens daily. and when you see us angry, sad, broken, you judge us unfit. you call us monsters. you call us unworthy.
so when we are standing in line at kroger to pay for our groceries the cashier is looking at us with the same disdain you’ve told her to have, she doesn’t know or care that we are the most educated group of individuals in this society. that on average our children are actually the most well cared for and nurtured. that our marriages do in fact last. that our homes are owned. nope, when she sees us fumbling through our wallets there is an assumption that we are struggling welfare queens…never mind the medical scrubs or designer suit. we are invisible outside the narrative that has been set up.
so when we absently swipe our discount card instead of the debit card sitting next to it, we get shit from someone who wouldn’t know us from eve. we get shit talking nonsense and we’ve had a long ass day attached onto a long ass life. so hell naw we don’t want to hear it. we don’t want to hear how you think we can’t afford a gotdamn bottle of orange juice, steak, oatmeal, or some silly little gadget our youngest requested.
and right there in that line we explode. because right there in that moment we have had it. we’ve had it with the assumption that we are the mules of this world. the idea that we are not allowed to be offended. the fact that someone who doesn’t know us from eve would deny us our personhood based on a narrative that is a generations long told lie.
why should we support a narrative about who we are that doesn’t mesh up with the woman we see when we look in the mirror? why should we continue to comply with an idea that we must work 4x’s as hard to make less than half of the money? why should we accept the idea that our children are not our own? why can’t we be homeowners and business moguls? why in the hell in 2016, in the 21st century, are there still firsts we must leap?
so i walk. i walk out my anger. i walk out my grief. i walk out my sadness. i walk out my pain.
i walk. and with each step i get closer to sanity. i get closer to me. i get further and further away from the lies that have been told and sold.
i walk and i smash the narrative of who society says i ought to be wide open.
i walk because ain’t nobody ever won a revolution standing still.