I feel like throwing up. I just finished a day of work, and get the news that a friend of mine died on Monday, and that the NYPD cop who strangled Eric Garner, a black man, to death on the streets of New York got off scot free.
What kind of a world do we live in.
Seriously, what kind of world is this?
Who lets this happen???
Every single damn day.
So times like these are incredibly overwhelming. I feel all the emotions inside of me welling up like a scream or sob is about to burst forth, but I can’t even process the feelings enough to go there. It feels like I’m vibrating with the things I am feeling. If this is coming out strangely, its because I am not so practiced at talking about my feelings, and I don’t even know if we have the words to describe the feelings of loss, sorrow, anger, hopelessness, etc. that strike me in times like these.
When the verdict came back on Darren Wilson, the cop who murdered Michael Brown, I didn’t have the energy for the emotions. I didn’t feel exactly numb, but I felt a little jaded, a bit like I expected that outcome and couldn’t see how things would change. I think I would have felt stronger if I’d been able to make any of the events in Richmond protesting the verdict. Surely the energy from the crowd would have leaked into me, inspiring me.
I kind of thought I was feeling burnt out. And maybe I am. I’ve got a lot of responsibilities on my own plate, and have been having to focus more on them than on activism than I have at different times in my life. It feels weird, and I don’t like feeling empty and jaded and out of touch.
For whatever reason, today the news of the cop who murdered Eric Garner hit me hard, and lit a fire inside of me. I’m glad to feel that feeling again, obviously sad that more fucked up shit happened to cause it, but relieved to have found my emotional response and my motivation. Somethings got to give, somethings got to give.
I feel like we are losing. We are losing good people to poverty, addiction, illness, depression and more every day. This world kills so many good and sometimes I feel like only the rotten capitalists and cops survive.
I feel like we are losing politically. There seem to be more people involved in activism and protests than there have been in a while. but we are continually bogged down in infighting and negativity. I see the same tactics, the same arguments, the same attitudes, and not much that I can mark as progress. And when movements gather steam, they so often seem to be co-opted by assimilationists or reformists.
It’s really easy to feel down these days.
The only thing I can think of to do to not feel down is to put in work every single day to take care of myself and take care of the people around me, and whenever we are in fighting shape, to take aim at the systems that oppress us.
We have to make our movements inclusive, we have to make our movements supportive. I know I personally have to balance the anger I often feel with my desire to be a positive force in the world. I think a lot of us activists are so angry and upset so often that it can be difficult to let go of those feelings when they end up hurting us and the people around us.
I’m tired of losing friends to addiction, depression, suicide etc. I’m heartbroken that this world is so terrible that some folks just can not stand it anymore, and I’m heartbroken that some folks feel like they are alone in the struggle.
If any one of you ever needs someone to talk to or a safe sober space or someone to be your nurse while you are sick or whatever, do not hesitate to hit me up. My door is always open, figuratively. Literally it is locked to keep those of you with poor judgement from stealing my shit. I will always listen to you. I will do what i can to help you. I will let you wallow and be nice to you for about a week. Then we will begin problem solving. This is an ugly and beautiful world. We all have to try harder to strike out the ugly and make this a better place.
Every time we lose someone, or lose a fight, we must rally, reflect on what has happened, give ourselves the time and space we need to heal, and plan our next move. For everyone we lose, we must fight that much harder. We carry our lost comrades in our hearts and strive to live a life they would be proud of. I think that most folks who die either by accident or suicide or murder by cop would want us enjoy the lives that we have while we fight for something better for everyone. Finding the balance between surviving trauma in our own lives, dealing with our sorrow, fighting hard against oppressive forces, and finding joy in our lives is a difficult task, but it is the task at hand. We can’t do it alone.
Rest In Power, Cayman Mooney and Eric Garner
(This has been an emotional outpouring, apologies for the rantyness)