Books and Executions (Part 2)

Hey all… welcome back to my pink room!

Take a seat, get comfortable… we might be here for a little while. Well we have no time to waste so let’s jump right back into the story. If you haven’t read “Books and Executions (Part 1)“, go do that now… I don’t really want to reexplain … our time together is limited you know.

Okay. Sorry. Can we just take a moment to breathe? Like a deep breath. Whew. I needed that. The world is crazy and rage gets kind of exhausting.

Alright.. let’s get started. Yesterday we left off with a murdering numbness and a perhaps life saving gift. A gift I had since college long forgotten but found again amidst a kind of numbness I had never quite known before. The gift of course was reading. I began reading like my life depended on it… because honestly it felt like it did.

Reading became my rebellion to an ending world. I spent my 21st birthday and all my subsequent days reading. I devoured the thoughts of Toni Morrison, Martin Luther King, Ta-Nehisi Cotes, Bettina Love, Beverly Tatum, Mikki Kendall, Robin DiAngelo and so many others. In the last five months, I have read more books than I probably have in the last 3 years if I am honest.

I would spend hours mesmerized by the carefully crafted words interwoven into intricate sentence structures that held the complex thoughts of scholars across all different disciplines. And it was this constant consumption that somehow was just enough to both keep me above water and still on earth.

And so, I didn’t question it. No one questions the integrity of the lifeboat when they are drowning they just get in.

After a while though, I began to feel a strange confidence, drunk on the thoughts and dreams of the brilliance I had been consuming. I began to turn my attention outwards. To the people around me. To my brother. To the schools in my district. I began to call out with a clarity I never knew before the behavior of my district, of my community, of my friends as racist and white supremacist. But I quickly discovered another problem. One I had not anticipated.

The books gave me sight and taught me how to speak. But they did not prepare me for the grief. Every time I dared to looked up from the words of those poets and prophets at the world in front of me, my anger would rise and my heart would race. The more I read the more I understood why it had been so easy for those human beings I saw to lose both their life and humanity in minutes. I began to understand that those human beings encased in dark bodies had long lost their humanity and were only running on their imaginations by the time I studied their frames.

And so, when I looked up at those people in the Board meetings, in Parent sessions, on the internet and somewhere behind computer screens, I felt like I was watching those May executions all over again. But there was no outrage. No social media takeover. Protests. Or boycotts. There was simply silence. And sometimes even applause.

And so I figured maybe I hadn’t read enough. Maybe if I could eat bell hooks for dinner, Audre Lorde for breakfast and James Baldwin for lunch, I would understand why no one cared about the executions happening daily in my town. Maybe I would have discovered that my eyes were playing tricks on me and I could have lowered my blood pressure to a pressure actually useful for living. But the more I read, the angrier I got.

And when my blood began to cool, the grief would overtake me. Those prophets did not tell me how to live with sight. They didn’t warn me about the executions. I begged those around me, administration, teachers, staff, anyone to see them. But they were simply miles behind. And my family at home was engaged in their own work and just didn’t have time to carry my rage with them.

The only people I ended up being able to hold a conversation with were the words and thoughts tied up in my books and the voices screaming in my head. But our conversations always ended in an anger that I don’t think I can truthfully explain to you if you have never experienced it.

Seeing the world was killing me.

As I endured execution after execution, all I could do was read and hope that a murdering anger was better than a murdering numbness.

So now we reach the point at which I am actually writing this blog. So what’s the point? I need to process. I need somewhere to rant. I need a place that is not just within the walls of my mind to tell you about the black market stealing and bartering the humanity from Black bodies. I need a place to make sense of the world that I found out had been suffocating me since I was born and yet told me that was what breathing was supposed to be like.

So, I, maybe like your mom, need a place to just share with the world. And at least believe that people are listening. To know that these thoughts conjured in my head made it to the page which you are reading from now.

So yeah this is really for me. But I didn’t forget about you. There are at least a billion of readers on the globe and I may not be the best at probability but I feel like it makes the chances pretty likely that at least one of you can relate. There is something really special and almost spiritual about healing in public and in community. Of processing pain, joy, discovery and failure as a collective. And that is exactly what I hope to do with you. I hope to process alongside you, to maybe even meet someone who has seen the daily executions too.

Well we have now once again made to the end our time together. I can only hope this blog is as good as your mom’s (but I am willing to take second place). I am not quite sure what we will talk about tomorrow but join me back here in the pink room at 11 am ET to find out…

See you soon!

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