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My Experience Watching When They See Us

Revisiting the exonerated five’s stories, children of color kept in metal cages without basic needs, people of color being labeled and targeted for seeking better opportunities, black folks not being able to live their basic lives without police presence or threat of it, harassment/ abuse of LGBTQ identified folks, policing of women’s rights to take charge of their own bodies, the purposely constructed crookedness of our world, etc etc etc.

I’m terrified and I have already been terrified. Terrified to move to a rural area as a single black woman, terrified whenever my dad travels for work, terrified for young black and brown children to explore their environments doing child things, terrified to bring my own children into this world especially if they are male identified.

I contemplate this in my mind all the time and rarely express it outwardly let alone post it online; however, this headache tells me I need to express it and my voice can’t utter the words at this moment. There is some fault in my avoidance and also some sense of self preservation.

I become frustrated at how much I police myself as to not be noticed or cause too much attention to my black body. I long to be unapologetically free in my skin. The skin I love so much yet I know what labels get placed on this skin despite how my parents raised me, despite how cautious I am, despite how many degrees I have, despite how young I look. It doesn’t matter. I can only speculate as to how this impacted my ancestors whose bodies were literally in bondage and the ways their physiological, mental, and emotional trauma has been passed down to their offspring who live today in a different world with similar distaste and restrictions for our black and brown bodies.

For me in this skin, I choose not to often voice these thoughts or even stay with them for too long because of how it makes my body feel to actually feel that pain or to empathize with the pain of others. For me in this skin, if I stay there my joy is hard to access. For me in this skin, it seems like joy is a bandaid just waiting to be pulled off at another injustice or tragedy. For me in this skin, I am not afforded off hand to be carefree or to be treated similarly to someone who is not in this skin. Trauma can come in so many forms.

Don’t talk to me about lives mattering in this country until we acknowledge all the ways we contradict that for power and privilege. Acknowledge the ways fear of the “other” from so many no matter our skin continues to divide us and inform decisions to marginalize or simply act out of prejudice. I can own ways my implicit biases get in my own way and will continue to do that. My prayer is that those with socially constructed power start to do the same without defense or denial. Open your eyes and your heart then link your logic to it. Put yourself into the empathy position and not the protective position. What the heck are you protecting and in what ways does that hinder the protection of so many other people. I have to add that fear and all the other feelings don’t stop me. Love, excitement and joy do exist. Life is resistance. Faith is fuel. #terrified&disgusted

**I wrote this in June 2019 and still have not brought myself to finish the miniseries. However, hearing the most recent news of more Black bodies slain promoted me to update and actually publish this post. #irunwithmaud

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