some words for today

originally written on my personal facebook page.

this morning i am thinking about being a woman of color. and i am thinking about the small things that happen to me on a daily basis--how my body is ignored on a daily basis and how an older white woman pushed me and my bag while i simply waited for the subway the other day and how when expressing myself i've been called irrational and how i continue to be both sexualized and desexualized and how i often have to find proof for the things i know to be true despite others just being believed, how i change my voice and mannerisms when shopping, etc.. and i am thinking of how small these things feel to normal and everyday they feel...and yet i keep thinking how these small things are signs of/grow into bigger things, and bigger beliefs, and bigger prejudices, and bigger and bigger. and i am thinking about the women of color who lost their lives this weekend--one for practicing her faith and another for calling for help--and the ones the weeks and months and years before that--for changing lanes without signaling, for being transgender, for loving who they love, etc. etc. and...

i am just thinking about it all this morning. 
and thinking
and thinking
and feeling
feeling it all
looking at my body
and feeling
and thinking
and feeling.

read and write

on my way to california last week for my granddaddy's funeral, i finished colson whitehead's the underground railroad. in the book, whitehead makes a point to depict black men and women learning to read and to write after being prevented from learning as slaves.

slaves were often prevented from learning to read and to write. depending on the situation, depending on the location, depending on the plantation, it could be a dangerous act to learn. an even more dangerous act to show that you knew how to read and write. 

i sat back on the plane. i thought of how, most days, all i am doing is reading and writing. reading and writing. reading and writing and buying books and wanting to write books and then back to reading and writing.

it doesn't seem revolutionary that i am a writer and reader. it seems like breathing to me. i can't imagine my life without my relationship to words, to paper, to bindings. 

i sat back on the plane and i thought about all of this. i thought about how i shouldn't apologize for my reading and my writing. i thought about how i should forge ahead, keep getting lost in words. i thought about how becoming a successful writer and reader could be revolutionary.

hours later, i stood in my grandparents' house. my dad waved me over to a wall of pictures. he pointed to one. "that's your great, great grandfather. he was born a slave."

and i thought it wasn't that long ago that someone like me, someone like my great great grandfather, perhaps even my great great grandfather, wasn't supposed to get lost in a book, wasn't supposed to put my/their thoughts down on paper. it wasn't that long ago that someone like me would have been putting their life at risk to write, to read, to express the way i do now freely.

and then i let the thoughts go.

until tonight.

a black man was shot by police today. i went to bed thinking about one black man who had been shot by police and then today heard of another. the police say he was armed with a gun (in an open carry state, mind you). 

an eyewitness says he was armed with a book. 

and now i am sitting here wondering if i am as free to read and write as i thought. 

i am wondering what is left to write, to read, when it has all been said before and people still won't listen. 

i am wondering what words can do to save us.