Sitting down with my husband on the long dining room bench.
“What can I tell people? I’m a writer without any words.” Hung my head in shame, disappointed in myself. I looked up to my husband for something; an answer, a resolution. I looked into his hazel eyes with longing. Please tell me it’s going to be okay.
“Don’t tell them anything. It’s all been said anyways. We are all tired of reading the articles. We’re all tired.” Answer within answers. We are all tired. Stressed. The great big hope bubble burst, and rained down disappointment and sadness.
A hate filled cloud billowed on top of America. It seems as though no matter where you turn, a torrential thunderstorm is raining down more hate. Each day growing more violent. A person may keep asking, “Is this our new world, our new America?” I refuse to accept it. This isn’t normal.
I’d never seen the KKK besides in movies until the other day. Once, a long time ago when I was a little girl, I saw a sign for a meeting hung to a tree on the side of a backwood, old road. I remember thinking to myself “How do they still exist?” Even all those years ago, I found their organization appalling. Then I wake up one morning in November of 2016, and they are dressed in their robes, waving flags from a bridge. Like demons coming out of the night and proudly exhibiting themselves in the daylight. Never waking nightmares following us throughout the sun’s rising and setting.
I’d never seen “Whites Only” signs on anything. Because I believed we had at the very least conquered that ignorant blatant racism. I’ve seen too many “whites only” on bathrooms and water fountains over the last week. One of these signs are too many.
I’d never seen people scared while elitists and people who think they are owed privilege threaten minorities. They say that they are going to ‘send them back’ and ‘put them back on the boat.’ I can’t understand this. Because somewhere in my heritage, my ancestors arrived on a boat to America. I’m Irish, French, Welsh and German.
Let’s not forget to make the Indigenous People of America fight for the little bit of treaty land the white man granted them after taking what originally belonged to them.
I’d never seen people who wanted to take away other people’s safe places. Who spit on other people having a comfortable place to live. Who mocked another’s place in this world because they are too insensitive to be correct or they are unable to hold enough space in their hearts for everyone. Too ignorant to care, perhaps. I cannot pretend to know the hearts or inner workings of men. I will never pretend to understand this lack of acceptance or tolerance.
I do know that I didn’t have a lot of safe spaces growing up. I hid under my bed and in books. I kept quiet, and even to this day I am meek. I am reserved because I’m never quite sure if I am in a safe place. If I have found a place where a man doesn’t want to hurt me or beat me. If I can walk fast enough to reach a destination safely without being harassed or assaulted. Many women live with this fear. We’ve just accepted it as normal since our youths and this is the way that we go about walking in the world.
I’d never seen people fearful for their religious beliefs. Fearful they will become targets. Fearful they will be registered… and some of them are fearful of being registered again. They have every reason to fear. Their relatives saw what happened the last time they were forced to put numbers on their arms, to register themselves. To identify their belief. Identification and hate led people to concentration camps.
Don’t tell them anything.
I can’t. Because the minute I don’t say anything, I accept all these things as normal. I condone them in my silence. In not speaking out, I am stripping others of their safe places. The minute I don’t tell them anything, I become one of them. I can never be one of them. A large portion of these beliefs are rooted in everything I disagree with, everything my mother raised me to believe is wrong.
We are the mischievous misfits. We are the unabashed and unashamed voices. We will not stand in silence. This is not my new normal. These things of which I’ve written will never be accepted as my normal. Because it is not normal.
I wake every day to the same life I’ve been living for the past four years. The same house with the same family inhabit my day to day routine. In some respects, nothing has changed. But technology and information has shown me that everything has changed. People fly their true colors. They wave them as if they have won something.
My mama always told me, “Sometimes because you win a battle, it does not mean you’ve won the war.”
To the people who dislike everyone having a safe place, I’d like you to know:
I’ve fought many decades for my safe place. I am no stranger to fighting. I don’t get knocked down without getting back up. Today, I say something. I will keep saying SOMETHING.