(I so so love that gif!)
Hello everyone, that emergency hug is for any of you who need it. Things are heavy right now, even my diet feels that way (which means I feel that way). Every time I’m feeling this weight (not talking about the physical or the diet, that’s a different conversation that involves…you guessed it YOGA! LOL), something occurs that tells me to hold on and be strong.
My mother gave me this little statue some time ago. I apologize I do not have the artist’s name right now, but neither my mother nor I made it. That said I could have sworn I had her centered on that post and facing a different direction. I was in the bathroom and looked over to see her facing me right as I was feeling a little down. This stopped my thoughts. I was really sure this was not how I left her but whatever…it was perfect. This moment reminded me how I need to carry myself even amidst this struggle.
I have been learning a lot about the struggles of others as we all struggle together. It’s not that I didn’t know but I didn’t know how it feels to be so isolated and restricted. My significant other, among others, has been relaying to me that what we are all experiencing – this social distancing, being restricted from going and doing whatever we want – is what African-Americans and Native Americans, among others, have been living for a very long time. Think “whites only”.
For decades, African-Americans were not allowed to eat wherever they pleased. They couldn’t just visit the new restaurant in town because it sounded nice. A black man could not be seen with a white woman out on the town, enjoying themselves, never mind loving each other, without risking their lives. A black man could not look at a white woman without repercussions. If women were property, black women were less than that. Their work for the family and household, both their own and that of the slave master, was not respected nor noticed, never mind complemented or appreciated. Black people, families and individuals could not go about town as they pleased, smiling and waving at their neighbors – not their white neighbors – without fear or skepticism. White people forced social distancing on all the people of color. We were essentially, the virus, polluting the space we inhabited.
This discrimination has not ended. We are still witnessing the virus of hatred infect millions of people. We are still watching the virus of violence against “other” replicate again and again. Sadly, it is in some people’s DNA. Sadly, some people use their DNA to carry on the evil that is prejudice and racism. We have recently been told that the “other” communities are suffering even more from the virus as a result of decades of discrimination. Some go about like nothing bad is happening, while many suffer directly or indirectly. Sound familiar?
My parents always corrected us when we used that word: SUCKS. But I feel its crassness is necessary here because this sucks. And when I think about how this must feel for anyone or any people to have lived and live on a daily basis, their whole lives, my heart breaks. It is a shattering sensation. A feeling akin to breaking glass inside me. The pieces ricochet and as they do they cut everything around them. Inside I bleed for the inflicted pain.
But I am better for this.
I enter the room inside me and take in the wreckage. With my index finger I touch the blood on the walls. In its reflection I see not only my face as I am going through this trauma now but the faces of so many people I know not to even exist. I’m picking up the pieces of glass and they sparkle. Sparkles inspire me. They speak in a language that is light. They tell me to write. And so I do. I look ahead, searching for what has broken. What I find is that what’s broken was a barrier. On the other side of the barrier is more than me.
I welcome you to join me in this week’s flash fiction challenge. This challenge’s theme is barriers. Interpret it as you will but what you write must be 100 words, no more no less, to mark the 100th day of 2020. Here’s my piece.
more than me
I step forward. Suddenly there’s a wall. I look left, right, turn around. There was a wall here?
A whistle. I turn, there’s a man. He flickers, his brown skin deepens. His beard softens away. She smiles.
Another spark, her form shrinks. A small hand grabs mine. A jolt ruptures the shadows that blind me. We are living a shared experience.
Lightning, the form becomes three. They do not shun me. They bring me close. They sing:
Allow the song
of your soul
to rise above the pain
And bring you to your feet
For you are greater than this.