Black Kryptonite

The 20s are all about adversity. No one ever says life is easy but they also don't say how tough life really can be. Life can be so hard. The difficult and the upping of the ante on what is it stakes seems to increase exponentially. Instead of feelings and insecurities, it's your entire personhood, the fabric of your being, and most of all your soul. I never used to think of myself as one of those young people who thought of themselves to be invincible, invulnerable, and untouchable, but I guess on a certain level I do. Humanity means you're human, and inherently that means that sometimes you are brought back down to Earth. Everybody has their weakness - here's mine: black kryptonite.

In writing this blog I have always understood that it has been more for me than anyone else. It has been a place of solace and comfort. It my humble abode for free expression and to chronicle the narratives of my life. Whether other people take anything from my ramblings I may never know, but what's most impactful for me is being able to have a medium to communicate to myself, at the very least, the intricacies of my complicated human existence.

Yesterday I walking on the edge of campus on my way home from class and stopped to take a texting break. I was going about my business standing on the sidewalk when a middle-aged white man in a white truck stopped at the stop sign on the adjacent road. He honked violently at and yelled out his window to me "Pay attention NIGGER." He said it with vitriolic hate and I could hear the vile disdain in his shout. He zoomed off and I was left there in shock, in fear, in confusion. What had I done? Why had that just happened? Why me? I finished my walk home and sat on my bed trying to keep away all the terrible feelings of uselessness, worthlessness, and invalidity. I couldn't. I failed to protect myself. The black kryptonite had done it's work. It corrupted me. It demolished me. It broke me. Practically perfect, seemingly impervious, relatively put together me - shattered, destroyed, damaged. I cried, and cried, and cried. The tears just kept coming. Then the shaking and the heavy breathing - the kind that kids do to the point where you worry if they're going to vomit. Snotty grossness, salty slick blubbering, and wallowed wails of despair. Broken and sitting on the ground in my room. I didn't know why I was bawling. Was it because of the force of the word and implications for me or maybe I was disappointed in myself for being affected in the first place? I imagine it must have been some combination of the two. Why did it hurt so much? Why couldn't I just get over it, ignore it, pay it no mind? Why did every instance of me feeling unworthy, inhuman, or unlovable come up? Why was every memory of feeling ugly, stupid, or insignificant compounding to reopen old wounds that I thought I had accepted and moved on from a long time ago? Why just why?

In those following minutes so many thoughts went through my head. Most of all was who did I want to talk to. To be honest every connection I had to a white person illogically seemed to be severed. I called my sister first and then conceded and call my roommate. I called two more friends and just talked. It was so awkward, painful, and uncomfortable. I felt so foolish for not even being able to articulate my words through heavy sobs. I was so happy no one could see me because I was embarrassed for myself. My face was crusty with dried tears and snot. I had sweated all my clothes out. I was me at my absolute worst. The black kryptonite had done it's work. It had broken me.

I will not tell lies. I will not tell lies. I will not tell lies. I want so very badly to write that I am okay. I know all those who know me personally want no need me to write that I'm doing well. That is not going to happen. That is not where I am. That is my not personal truth. That is what you want to see from me for you to feel okay and return the normalcy of your understanding of me. I already said it though, I will not tell lies. I will not make up false realities to placate a necessitated culture of care. It is on you to deal with the authentic actualities of yourself and those connected to you. One of your own is processing his world, let him do so in peace.

Even in writing all that I wonder why my head first goes to other people and what they require of me. Why am I most concerned with catering to other people before taking care of myself. Why do I have to be okay for other to be okay rather than for the benefit of myself?

People keep asking me how I'm doing or how I'm feeling. Don't ask me - I don't want to talk to about it. Now I will ask myself those same questions, but I'm defining them on my own terms. I am sharing for myself and no one else. I am writing to hash out and bring to life the emotions stirring within me. I am not okay. I'm just not and that is the realest. I am wary, skeptical, and reserved today. I am apprehensive, timid, and questioning everything and everyone. I am in trying to reconcile the rational truths of how people sincerely care for me and are legitimately engaged in ensuring my well-being with the tough traumas of this harsh world in which I and we reside. Walking on campus today I cannot even feign a smile. I cannot pretend today that it's all good because it's not. I refuse to masquerade the rawness of how I feel currently. I do not have to. I will not. I deserve to be allowed the time to reflect and process in the ways that feel most comfortable to be (case in point - blogging).

Just sitting here in the library writing this I hold back tears because it comes flooding back every time I think about it. But I have hope, I still have light, and I will always have spirit. A stranger just came up to me and spoke powerful truths. Vivian, whoever you are, thank you. Your courage to be able to approach me and say such deeply moving things has overwhelmed me. People like you are what restores me, puts my pieces back into place, and amazes me. At my worst, my most afraid, and my most closed off - you opening yourself to me has saved me. You were my superhero today.

I have received messages upon message from people expressing how much I matter to them. For those I am grateful but I am struggling as of now to take them to heart. I am still emotionally distanced particularly from whiteness and all it represents. I do not see people here who look like me and in this moment that is what I require. I am in public and feel claustrophobic. I know deep down that I am safe, relatively, and most people mean me no harm but tell that to the rest of my body as I walk around stiff, clenched, and on guard now more than ever. The offers of hugs and touches - I kind of cringe at them. I don't know where I am to be receiving those. Then the people who try to assure me that I shouldn't let what happened affect me but that's so invalidating. It already has. I tried to let it roll off my should and couldn't. It stabbed me and poisoned me. I know they mean well but that's not what I need in these moments. I don't know what I need though, I think just time. I just want to sulk and to be a person. I cannot be a superhero right now. My everyday heroism of just existing as a person of a color in a world of whiteness is off duty. The tights and cape are off. I cannot be the approach black guy with the big smile who's recognizable enough to not be so scary but still distanced because essentially he doesn't look like me. I'm in my feelings and that is where I must be. I must let the black kryptonite run it's course.

What I do know is that black kryptonite cannot kill me, it cannot silence me forever, it cannot disintegrate me. I may be broken right now but I will be put back together again soon - believe that. I am a superhero. I am powerful. I matter. I exist. I am human and that means so damn much. In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight, let those who worship evil's might, beware my power this human's light.

My blog post question for the day is ... what is something that always deeply impacts you? Most definitely this is the one thing that always has an effect on me no matter how much I defend myself against it.


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