I’ve been feeling so tense lately.
I thought it might have been because I haven’t been drinking as much. I worried that my body had forgotten how to calm itself down without the aid of alcohol. But I went swimming, and I had some whiskey, and I still feel as tightly wound as I did before.
So that’s not what it is.
I thought it might have been work, but work has never stressed me out to the point of tears, and I cried today. Seemingly out of the blue.
So I realized it wasn’t that either.
Then I thought it might be that I missed my family or that I was mad at my boyfriend or that I was unsatisfied in some weird way or even that I was just tired.
But it’s none of that stuff either.
It’s this madness in Ferguson. I only realized tonight that I’ve been having these incredibly intense feelings about it, and that I’d been trying to ignore them. I’ve been reading these news stories and watching the videos and looking at every goddamn picture that any news outlet or rando on Twitter or Tumblr posts so it’s all been building for over a week now.
But tonight I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.
I’m writing this while sobbing in my darkened living room at nearly 2 am because I can’t fucking sleep. I just keep thinking about Mike Brown and his family. I can’t stop imagining how terrifying it must be to be in Ferguson right now, but I also can’t stop feeling this sick ache in my gut because I can’t do anything about any of it.
I feel so helpless. I’m so upset and angry and sad and overwhelmed. It’s not just what happened to Mike Brown, but it’s all the Black lives that have been senselessly snuffed out for no goddamned reason. It’s the continued ignorance of people, some of them well meaning, who just don’t get it. It’s the realization that my dad, my brother, my nephew, my uncles, and my future children are seen as less innocent, less deserving of life than other people just because of their dark skin. It’s the knowledge that the same thing could happen to me or someone I love tomorrow. And I don’t know what to do with information like that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel or live or even think about anything else at all when I can be shot in the head for jaywalking.
I’m scared. I feel so fucking scared. Even though my life isn’t in imminent danger at the moment, shit like this has ripples. Another young black guy was shot in St. Louis by a cop today. And everyone is so angry. How long until the protesting spreads further than it already has? How many dead boys until people are fed up and the moments of silence and turn to violence? How long until craziness like tear gas and tanks and seeing machine guns on the way to work is normal? What if this is the beginning of an all out war?
To the residents of Ferguson who are putting their lives on the line, literally, to hammer home the point that Black lives matter, You are so brave. I am praying for you as I write this. I’m so sorry this happened to someone you knew and loved. I’m so sorry this is still happening at all.
I want to feel hopeful. As inspired as I am by all the images of people standing together all across the nation, of the social media posts, and unbiased news stories, I am equally disturbed and discouraged by the tear gas in the eyes of children, and the ignorant, racially insensitive or just completely clueless comments I’ve heard and read online. So my hope is fleeting. It comes and goes like my tears.
John Green made a video awhile back when that Chilean mine collapsed. In that video he says, “The world may be broken, but hope is not crazy.” So I’m trying to keep that in mind. Broken is an understatement. The world is so fucked up. But it’s not crazy to hope that things will get better. It’s not crazy to hope that this senseless death could be a wake up call. It’s not crazy to hope that some minds will change, that some people will see, that the protesting and petitions, and even me writing this post might make a difference.
Hope is not crazy.
So I’m trying to hope. But I’m still crying alone in the dark about a boy I didn’t know dying a death no one deserves.
It’s still 2 am.
And I still can’t sleep.