It has been a while since I’ve been able to post here. I spent the summer revising and re-revising my memoir, and that left little time for anything else. 30,000 words later, I’m free from my first literary baby, but my new literary kiddo, the one about my military experience, has garnered interest from an agent, so I had to immediately get back to crafting. No complaints here. I am enjoying this work.
So many things I want to write about, I feel overwhelmed. I’d like to give tips on writing and the publishing process as I promised last year, but that all feels weak and pedestrian right now. The protests in Ferguson have my heart heavy, troubled, and I find it difficult to rest when I know there is turmoil occurring in the country I love so much. I’ve seen the racist comments inundating twitter, the ignorance spewing from all corners of facebook, and the news reports demonizing both, Darren Wilson and Mike Brown. All of these things have taken me back to a time I’ve often wanted to forget. What do we do with this anger, these feelings of helplessness? I have no answers.
As I gave my oldest a hug before sending him back to college, I felt that helplessness, that innate fear, I know every parent feels when they send a child out into the world, praying they come back intact. I’d imagine Brown’s mother felt that as she prepared to send her child to college and I’d imagine Darren Wilson’s parents felt that as they sent their child out into the world as an officer. There is sadness in all corners of this tragedy.
I’ve struggled this last week, trying not to let the prejudices of others create prejudices in me, but it is so difficult. Every time I see someone heralding the death of Leslie McSpadden’s child a “win,” it gets harder and harder to find that bit of me that sees the best in others. As I stated, I have no answers, but I am praying we can find our way back to a better America than we had before. If we can remember Mike Brown is someone’s child and Darren Wilson is someone’s child, then maybe we can remember both of them are human.
Mike Brown’s death triggered something in me. Knowing his blood leaked on that hard street for hours, like he was roadkill, has stayed with me. I remembered being a little girl, watching many bodies grow cold as my eyes burned in my head. At that time, I thought, “They don’t care anything about us. We don’t exist to them.” I believed this of the white cops that walked over the bodies as they searched the scene and the black shooters, who left pieces of themselves when they took the life of someone who looked, acted, and wanted to live just like they did. I spent decades undoing those beliefs of invisibility, until I saw Mike Brown, dying alone, no one caring enough to cover him with a sheet.
I am clinging to the part of me that believes there is still hope and the whole world will one day see that brown bodies matter as much as white bodies. I refuse to go back to being that little girl, more angry than afraid. I refuse to believe we can’t come out of this a better America with policy changes that protect all of our citizens. I have to believe this, or I fear I will suffocate under the anger that “unbelief” yields.