i had a dream in which my dreams were coming true. i was so grateful i was crying in my sleep. i woke up to the wails of black grief. i had fallen asleep to stephen colbert, and was awakened by cbs’ 3am news. Terrence Crutcher’s loved ones wept, and I watched boxes burning on I-85. My sleeping tears of joys turned to woke tears of resignation, fear, despair.
there is a book called “white boy shuffle” in which suicide is presented as the only true freedom black folk can ever attain, and i feel that way some time.
a lot changes in 2 years: this time in 2014, i was actively working to establish Black Lives Matter: Detroit, because I felt I had no choice, because something had to be done, even if i wasn’t sure what that something was.
This time last year, I was in metro Atlanta, and I was teaching my students about Sandra Bland and Kalief Browder. I felt humbly charged and somberly grateful to be in the position to break our youth off with some truth. I loved their insight and their rage, because I believed it would channeled into something great, something liberating.
Today…I didn’t want to go to work. Because I didn’t feel like another lesson plan about Black death, black pain, black resistance (that’s tomorrow’s lesson). I didn’t feel–as I did a year ago–a burgeoning hope in our youth as those who would move us a couple steps closer to free. Instead I felt frustrated and irritated that I became a teacher, just to be in the position to be unable to teach students anything they could possibly use for their survival. I felt frustrated that, already, by the age of 15, the vast majority of inquiry, curiosity, self-esteem, and openness to learning new things has already been pummeled out of most of them, by this thing we call “education”. I felt angry that teachers and administrators seem the only ones under the illusion that we “teach” anything or perform a public good; the rest of the world knows we are some mix of babysitter and correctional officer; hiding behind percentages and letter grades, pretending that any learning occurs or that anything we do actually matters, when the truth is that up to 50% of our students can’t read, and up to 80% can’t think.
And it frustrates me SO MUCH, but i know it isn’t the kids’ fault. can’t fault their parents, the teachers, even the administration. it seems the same person responsible for the miseducation of our children is the same person who killed freddie gray: no one.
The truth is that most of our students want to learn, but by the time they get to high school, they’ve forgotten how. Maybe some have never known.
I walked into work late and irritated. Because I didn’t feel like talking about ancient Mesopotamia, even though I easily saw how I could link an analysis of the justness (or unjustness) of Hammurabi’s Code to the justness or unjustness of American laws.
But I didn’t feel like it. I had no lesson prepared and even though I occasionally “wing it” when it comes to teaching, I didn’t feel like doing so today. Because maybe I would cry–and my students don’t really know me yet, so they’d probably feel awkward and laugh, which would piss me off more. Or maybe they’d express the same outrage, despair and fear that I feel, and I’d have no soothing remedies to give them. Or maybe too many of them would see a brief lecture with no accompanying worksheet as a moment to check their phones, and my words would fall on the ears of the deaf or uninterested. Or maybe I’d be observed by an admin, and then be forced to explain why I’d gone off-script and my words didn’t match my lesson plan. Or…or…or…or…
On my drive to work, I kept thinking “I gotta find a way out of this shit”, “this shit” being teaching. On most days, I do my best to be very encouraging and respectful to my students, but I walked into the building pre-emptively irritated, because i didn’t feel like dealing with my “bad class” today, and I was irked with them for shortcomings they didn’t choose to have, they had acted horribly with the substitute and i was upset by that, and fully expected to be disappointed by the skits they were supposed to present in class today. but i did my best to fake smile and breathe through it.
and god is good.
i got a flash of insight of how i could teach them better, and was pleasantly surprised that every group put in enough effort to get a passing grade.
i put a lot of energy into what i do…whether it’s lesson plans, grading–and especially my interaction with students. and sometimes i just wonder if anyone other than me gives a fuck. i guess my outlook is somewhat dampened by the fact that i spent over 12 hours at work yesterday.
i miss a certain type of companionship, and being able to express and receive a certain type of love. especially in moments like these when it seems the world is constructed for my demise. sometimes i miss the comfort of laying my head in the lap of a lover while he plays with my hair.
but… dating. is hard for me. partially because i work so much (#team2jobs), partially because i don’t go out enough and when i do, it’s not to wherever i need to go to meet whoever i’m tryna meet. so i resort to online dating, and…*insert sideways face emoji*
i’m trying something new–waiting for someone i actually see myself building with. most dudes i talk to, quickly work their way out of that category. as someone i recently went out with stated “i don’t think i’m looking for much, but that still don’t mean it’s easy to find.”
also, it’s hard enough for me to match a person’s effort. i literally can’t do more. it’s just not in me (anymore).
was talking to a homegirl about how people feel entitled…everyone thinking the other person should “do more”. i’m not of that mind. i’m just at a point where i can only fuck with people that are excited about me. i’ve become accustomed to being celebrated, to people lighting up when i step into a space, to people being glad to see me, to people giving a fuck about how i feel & what i think. that’s all i have room for. not talking about fakeness or ass-kissing, just genuine recognition of the light i bring. if you can’t see that in me, you don’t need to see me. and if i can’t see it in you, i’m not interested.
so far, i just haven’t been able to maintain interest in anyone. and since i have been praying that my life stays free of anyone who doesn’t mean me good, i can only assume that my solitude means my prayers are being answered. so while i can’t exactly say i’m “single by choice”, i can say i’m good.