I don't know what to say. I know exactly what I want to say. I am constantly on the verge of tears. I shake uncontrollably, I panic constantly, and I am paranoid. Racial battle fatigue is the traumatic aftermath of  never-ending psychological warfare. I teeter in this obscurity of pretend bliss and mortal fear. I exist only in the marginalia. Outsider, other, thug, brotha, criminal, savage, animal, subhuman. Am I a human being? Am I here right now? God where are you? Why did you do this to me? Why am I like this? My skin, my melanin, my culture, my language, my nose, my lips, my teeth - my body, broken, battered, beaten. Here I am, do you know me? Am I one of your children? Why have you forsaken me? I lay hear at your feet, begging, pleading, praying, that you will hear my cries. My literal cries. My screams of horror. My tears of sorrow. My heart that never stops beating as if to escape from my chest, from its cage, from the compounds where they used to keep us, from captivity, from enslavement, from lynching, from segregation, from redlining, from the war on drugs people of color, from the prison industrial complex, from livestreamed execution, from posthumous crucifixion. 

Do you see me? Do you recognize me? Do you remember me? Born to you, an likened to your image, but yours is one that has been co-opted to reify those that seek my demise. Am I not of you? Do you not love? Is this a curse? The Hamitic myth. Your words used to justify our disenfranchisement, to civilize - no tame, no break, no bind us into eternal subservient solitude. The good news of freedom but not liberation for all of us. Are you not my father? Do you claim me? Do you worry for me as a father does? Do you protect me at all costs? Do you fight for me when enemies, and enemies are always around me, rise up against me? Am I truly underserving of your unconditional love or does your love have conditions - specifically ones that require me to pass an impossible brown bag test and entrap me with the one drop rule. You work in mysterious ways, everything happens for a reason, and you have a plan. Your ways remain an unsolvable enigma to me, your reasons perplex me, and your plan seems to exclude me.

I have watched myself die hundreds of times. Over and over, I see me motionless, bleeding, still. I see communities crushed, families destroyed, and lives stolen because of irrational fear run rampant, dressed up as self-defense, and married to institutions founded in prejudice, bias, and injustice. It is graphic videos, the disturbing images, and the hateful messages everywhere. I have seen myself turn my pain, my ache, my loss into sick entertainment to be disregarded as consumable garbage. I have seen myself leave court in defeat with no justice, and no peace. It is the diabolical trenches of the underworld bestowed upon us lowly mortals. But I am not a regular person. I am not the average American. I am not normal. I am a royalty. I am a king. I am the ruler of me, myself, and I. My autonomy is irrevocably my own. I am my ancestors, in the homeland, and my family both blood and chosen, near and far. I am my community, and the ones that I get to be part of by nature of affinity. I am a talent, passion, and resiliency unlike any other. I am the feelings of how it is to be a problem in a place, space, and time that was never meant for you. I am the secret that refuses to stay hidden. I am the story that chooses to write its own ending. 

Why do people hate me? Why is everyone afraid of me? Why do people want me dead? I think I am a reminder of all the gross atrocities, the heinous crimes, and those who would have the audacity to hold a country accountable for its creeds and morals. I am brash because I dare to enter spaces deemed all-inclusive but written in invisible ink with a name that is not my own. I am brazen because I do not cower in fear, or pay you the respect you think you are entitled to, nor heed all of your communications that tell me to be gone. I am bold because I not only have the audacity to demand the equality your forefathers promised you, the things you have, the privileges/lack of experiences you parlay, but that I continue to breathe, to laugh, to smile, to love, and most of all to hope. Even through all that has happened to me - the constant barrage of subtle imagery, casual espionage, and pass by poisoning - I still remain full of light, full of dreams, and full of life. I ask questions. I challenge. I feel. I am a full person and any inkling of that undeniable fact shows up in the forms of ignorance, guilt, or anger. How dare I? I dare because I can. Proudly, without shame, and unapologetically. 

I know too much. A grave mistake has been made but one that I know others like me have paid the minor fee of their lives for. I am aware of my own imprisonment. I am awake. I am woke. I have sentience. I have the one thing that can never be taken from me. I have my humanity. I know of it, and I am grounded in it. No matter what, I will always know I am human. I have won. I have cheated the ultimate death. I have toppled centuries worth of global genocide in the name of missionaries, imperialism, and colonialism. I have pulled off the greatest trick in the book. I know I am in the Matrix. This simulation, the projects you put people in to observe, and the experiments you conducted on people who look like me, are all orchestrated by you. I cannot be contained. I cannot be silenced. I cannot cease and decist. I have knowledge. I have education. I have the ability to think in the most critical of ways. And in doing that, allowing me to be literate, to be cognizant, and to be here, you have committed the greatest error this country has even known. The tools of the master cannot be used to dismantle the master's house, but knowledge of those tools, and the boldness to use them in the ways of the oppressed, the underrepresented, the marginalized, is enough to pull of a revolution. Forcing me to know your stuff and mine, for giving me this double consciousness, for conditioning me for extreme duress - you have prepared me to change your world. For that I am thankful. 

This is not an invitation for an open debate on the validity of my humanity.  I am not on trial by nature of having the gumption to exist. The verdict is in. I am, in fact but contrary to popular belief, a human being. My life is my own. Your ability  or inability to recognize that is beyond me. I do not pander to the unworthy. I do not coalesce to the weak. I do not belong to you. I am enough. I am enough. I. am. enough. And enough is enough. Your approval, your co-sign, your validation mean nothing to me. It is useless. It is moot. It is another insidious way you undermine me. It is a reminder of the power differential that you created - the one that is solely to your benefit. It is mind games, surprise attacks, and betrayal. You let me down. You do not deserve me. You are not to be trusted. You never fully see me as equal. You never open your entire self up to me. You never let go of that fear that is buried so deep in heart. I deserve better. I deserve life with no caveats, cruxes, or terms and conditions. I deserve life. Liberty, and the pursuit of whatever I damn well please that makes me happy. 

I am Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, and the countless others killed by law enforcement. Most of which don't become trending hashtags of the murdered. The trans, female-identified, and low-income folx of color treated as disposable lives at the mercy, and will of a service to protect and serve, selectively, militarized, and mobilized to disrupt communities, and fund the private prison system. Money matters but do blacklivesmatter? Only to some and not quite. I know it - do you ? X


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