How can something which is already broken, break?
We’ve been throwing garbage on the landscape for hundreds of years. Adding COVID-19 didn’t make it less or more broken. It just highlighted the newsprint, that had been whitewashed, with blotches of ink. The scraps of paper did not hold good news. We were not a wholesome, inclusive community.
Truth be told, “shelter in place” was okay for me. It seems as though the less human contact the better. This brain of mine has less to untangle and decipher. And life becomes simple with the TV off, a cat and a dog nearby. So while I am usually alone and sometimes lonely, I often feel calm.
And then one night I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and for some odd reason turned on the television and saw a White man putting his knee on another man’s neck. Then I saw the White man pick up the man on the ground, and his head hung, just flopped down. And I knew. I knew I had just seen a White man kill a Black man. I hyperventilated.
(It had been going on for centuries and had never stopped.)
I hiccuped and sucked in air. Inhale. Exhale. Alone. I wanted to scream. I wanted to punch a wall. And then I felt it. I was not alone. The anger was terrifying to me, but I breathed it in. I was not alone anymore. Not like I was.
Mr. George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, on video. The anger was worldwide. Palpable. Protesters, people (needs to be said), risked dying by police in riot gear or later from COVID. I stayed home and watched it out my front window. I felt overwhelmed. So much anger. I could not hold it all. I stayed in. People marched, protesting down my street. My heart swelled. A white van with police in riot gear parked in front of my house, I video recorded.
Reprieve. Just taking that in.
More and more, this is a survival-of-the-fittest contest with no option to sit out and with the end being a death sentence. I am so very tired of the game.
Yet I will be. In my space. This space. I will be. I rent this space with section 8 bullshit. I will be. Now, intentionally alone. I am this way.
I am. And I will be. I take up space. It is intentional. This takes practice.
Making myself perfectly clear to community and the outsider “what-are-you-brown-person,” I got dreads this fall. I adorn myself with bird tattoos and mate pink lipstick with blue eye liner. Feels good, kinda in your face for this femme “crazy” (I own it) woman of color.
I make “outsider” art unapologetically. Here with kindred spirits we plan an art collective for persons with lived experience of mental health challenges. (What’s the PC word for mental health issues?) I’d rather just reclaim crazy. I embrace me. No apologies. Alone but not isolated. Adorned. Creating in community. And taking up space.