I’ve read and heard and seen a great deal of narratives about women who fall in love and don’t necessarily know themselves to be in love. I’ve never really found myself in those stories. She may be a silent, subtle, slinking thing with some women, but she awakens a roaring, boisterous fire within me.
It happens so often…
I jump, I free fall, and in a few moments, the adrenaline’s over and I’m back at the top, jumping again at the slightest of provocations.
This cycle has played out in a recurring fashion (as cycles seem to do), though not necessarily feeling mundane, for the past nineteen years and always rather quickly and with few bruises. With you, however, I sort of got stuck midair. And when I hit the bottom, a lot was black and blue, and some was broken.
But I can’t really say that I felt it. For the past few months, I’m not really sure that I’ve felt anything towards you. That hit was reality, but the aftershock is only just now wearing away at my numbness.
I find myself in prayer for you, still.
In the pages of my prayer book, you’ll find scribbles and invocations bearing your name. I pray for you, your comings and goings, your relationship and all that’s ahead of you. I’m not yet sure if this makes me insane, but I do know that it’s ironic.
But maybe it’s all a part of the healing process, as is this letter – different strokes for different folks. That was always something I admired about you, though… your faith. There was actually a lot that I admired about you, a lot that went into my perception of you.
Your humbleness always struck me as peculiar. I never understood how someone so perfect could tiptoe around his greatness. You should know you set the standard; everyone else is measured to you. You stand (figuratively, and maybe a bit literally) as a giant in my book of life. And you’ve stood with me through a lot. But you also taught me that even perfect people, and even giants, fall.
This is a letter for you, the boy who came some time after a lot of other firsts, but still managed to make it all feel brand new. The boy that made my heart skip beats and flutter more times than I can count.
This is an apology for you, the boy who I wasn’t quite done with, but wasn’t really ready for either. The boy who taught me the value of timing and that people are worth holding on to, but not to be made into homes.
This is a reminder for you, the boy who made promises he couldn’t keep, but showed me the value of the moment. The boy who touched me, kissed me, and left his fingerprint on my heart.
This is a thank you for you, the boy who never gave up on me, but still let me go. The boy who made love real. Gave me something to feel. Listened to me. Advised me. Cared for me. Loved me.
This is for you, the boy who was my friend, my confidant, my weakness, my strength, my motivator, my supporter, my pride, my joy, my hurt, my smile, my tears.
I thought I’d be a lot of things without you, but you’re showing me, instead, I can be just fine.
Black Teens working on solutions by creating an app that allows users to document their interactions with the police.
This is important, support and download aug 18th! #blackkidsareawesome
I am fearful. For the moment you are conceived, I can no longer protect you. For the moment your budding body begins to push against the confines of my belly, you are under attack. For the moment you come out kicking and screaming, drawing your first breath, you are at war. For no reason other…
I am fearful. For the moment you are conceived, I can no longer protect you. For the moment your budding body begins to push against the confines of my belly, you are under attack. For the moment you come out kicking and screaming, drawing your first breath, you are at war. For no reason other than the greatest gift I can give you: my Blackness.
Baby, the world you will fill does not want you. Though it needs your strength, your tenacity, your softness, your kindness, your voice, it does not want you. And this stirs up a tumultuous, turbulent wind within my soul. For I already dream about the warmth of your smile and the grace in your touch. For I already dream about the possibilities twinkling in your eye.
But I know they will try to strip you of your right to be. Where you push, they will push harder. Where you enter, they will promptly show you the exit. Where you speak, they will silence you. But you must push, you must enter, and you must speak. You must be.
Still, I am fearful. For there, on the concrete, lay the lifeless body of Michael Brown – slain in broad daylight under the heat of the summer sun. And baby, I am fearful. For I know the same sun will shine on you.
My heart beats heavily for his mother. I encourage her as she summons the strength she must now show in this hour of vulnerability and transforms into the beacon of light she must be in the darkness of this space. But yet, I am fearful, for I know her tears may very well become my own.
I wish I could take this moment to reminisce on a time when Black motherhood was easy, and I wish that I could find reassurance in the stories of my foremothers. But I cannot, because the overarching darkness imposed by this world threatens to take you away from me. It always has.
Black mothers have known and continue to know the weight of birthing life into these conditions. We knew it in 1662, when law dictated the very chains of our enslavement to be inheritable. We are reminded of it when our daughters and our sons are stripped down because of the midnight blacks, chocolate browns, caramels, and high yellows we have given them. And I am reminded of it, dread at knowing it when I muse about the beauty of brown masterfully coating your limbs.
Even now, I fret about how best to prepare you to cope with the weight of this world without nullifying the virtue of your station in life. For you will know community, brotherhood, and love; but forces outside of your control threaten to nullify your very existence. Your teachers will see a man in the little body you inhabit, and law enforcement will see you as a menace, a risk.
And nothing can protect you from this, not even your mommy, though I will try, as I try now to preserve my hopefulness in this continuum of hopelessness.
But still, how do I prevent the very real dangers surrounding you from crushing and overwhelming the sanctity of your childhood? I believe there is a God, and I believe in the power of his wonders, the strength in his protection. But to see your forefathers and brothers butchered, annihilated by the very forces sworn to protect them, it leaves me anxious. And I am anxious for I know myself to not be strong enough to lose you, even now.
Am I to present these perils to you up-front and repetitively? Am I to be harsh, or gentle? Am I to tell you to take the submissive, but safe route by maintaining an almost nauseating degree of respect for law enforcement? Or am I to encourage you to assert your rights firmly? Or am I to pretend, dream that you will know this world differently than I do now?
I am nineteen, and ideally, you are years away from me. I promise that I will better grasp how to tackle this dilemma by the time you arrive. But now, still, I worry; and still, I am fearful. For the joy of the bond we will share will always be overshadowed by the gnawing truth that I have birthed you into a world in which you are out of place. I yearn for you, but yet I am discouraged, intimidated.
But still, I know that I will learn how to aid you in developing into the man you desire to be, have been called to be. Even now, I know that you are being fashioned into a purpose, destined for greatness in your own right, and even now, I know that you are loved.
And still, even now, I know that I must give you a chance, even when the rest of the world will not.
Krislyn Domingue is a rising sophomore, Sociology & Anthropology and Comparative Women’s Studies double major at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys reading, writing, and sipping Chai Tea. Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @krislynsd
Read my original post on For Harriet.