I went on a trip home to Oklahoma last week. I brought Jersey Mike for his first real visit to the state and his first time meeting my friends. It was fantastic and fun. I'd love to tell you all about it.
But I can't right now. I can't focus on anything right now.
Upon returning to Los Angeles, I logged onto Twitter and started seeing headlines about the Charleston shooting. I immediately turned it off. At first I felt wrong about doing it. At first I felt like I should face it head-on, get angry, put on my activist hat and get to work.
But I didn't. I couldn't do it.
I'd just gotten home from being surrounded by love. Yes, being back in Oklahoma I heard conversations filled with intolerance. I needed to point out and shut down a few comments that were insensitive and just plain rude. That's something I've gotten used to when visiting home. I'm surrounded by liberals and hippies here in Los Angeles. We are a melting pot of colors, genders, sexualities and cultures. So going back to the Bible belt always comes with the burden of prying minds open. All in all, though, love was all around me. It was warm and cozy. I wanted to prolong the feeling.
I wasn't ready to be angry. I wasn't ready to activate. I wasn't ready to get riled up all over again about the same shit that we've been fighting for since... forever. I wasn't ready to hear the alleged shooter described as a "troubled youth" instead of a murderous thug. I wasn't ready to hear the event labeled a "tragedy" instead of an outright terrorist attack. Before those headlines and labels spilled onto my feeds I KNEW they were coming. The part of my heart that still believes that will change is smaller every time. This time I heard it claim that maybe, just maybe this would be different. But barely. And it was wrong again.
I want to hide. I want to curl up and pretend we live in a fair world. I want to fight, I want to right these wrongs. I want to sleep, because I'm mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. I want to explain to those who don't understand how much this repeated beating hurts. But after prolonged pain, at some point we just go numb. I am numb. I am unable to feel. It took until last night for me to cry about the events. Because I'm just so sick and tired of it. What do tears do? What does the marching do? What does explaining do when people REFUSE to open their eyes and see?
Yesterday someone (a white male) said to me that they never remember things being this way when they were a kid, and that this is all recent development. I told him that these things have been happening, he just wasn't the recipient. He chuckled, acknowledged that he'd just never thought of it that way, but then came to his own conclusion that I was being negative.
Maybe. Maybe dealing with racism my entire life, reading books and watching films chronicling the struggle of my people over the ages, and watching my people murdered senselessly without any sign of change has made me somewhat of a negative person.
I'm just so tired.