The Revolutionary Act of Living
for the Indigo Children
just trying to live
in a world that has always been too much.
I have been hibernating. Incubating. Gestating. Growing a baby, and giving birth to a dissertation that feels long overdue. My silence will not protect me, but sometimes it does preserve me. I have learned not to speak until I am sure of what to say… especially when it seems that every intelligent, political thing to be said about this moment has already been said or written by my own heroes. I have learned, through the murder of my little brother, that testimony is a powerful tool. Our own story is often the only one we are truly qualified to tell, and no one can tell it better than we can.
When I first tried to write about Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, and Ezell Ford, and John Crawford, and the countless others whose murders have recently been brought to our attention, I realized that I had already written about the devaluation of Black life, and a vigilante police state that protects private property over living beings. I realized that although the players change, the story is a continuing loop, and we need new narratives. So I decided to write something from the heart instead; something that may not change a soul besides my own… something for the Indigo Children, the introverts, and the highly sensitive people for whom it is often necessary to hide, and feel, and mourn in silence before we choose to speak.
The recurring questions in my life these days are, “What is my role in the movement? When and where and how do I enter? How do I sustain my community and myself when I don’t have the wherewithal to lie down in the streets, or even leave the house?” My short answer is to write. But what about the times when I can’t breathe? When I choke on my words? When my throat chakra collapses in on itself, trapping my eloquent prose before it can escape? In those moments, when I feel so small, and so tired, and so ineffective, I write words that only I will read. I have conversations with small groups of people, trusting the exponential river-like ripple that my influence will have. I sit with my sangha and we meditate, cultivating peace first within ourselves before sending it infinitely outward, like radio waves through quartz crystal. And I give deep thanks for my loved ones at the forefront of this movement. They carry the torch for all of us who feel immobilized by grief and beat down by the world.
In a moment when my entire Facebook timeline seems to be endlessly filled with bad news, disrespect, and cultural appropriation, it brings me joy that the unveiling of my baby brings joy to those I love. It makes me so happy that my mother, who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, can be excited about her first grandchild… and that my father, who lost a son and a brother this past year, can look forward to something new in this recurring nightmare.
And of course I worry, every day, about this little Black child growing inside of me. I worry about their physical health and development, but I worry more about how the physical world will affect them once they have left the safety of my womb. I worry, just like I worry about my baby’s big, beautiful Black father when he goes out into the world. I worry because I know that it doesn’t matter if I have a boy or a girl in a world that eats its young; where a little Black girl sleeping in her bed is as vulnerable as an unarmed Black man. I know that this militarized police state will snuff out the light of a Black child as quickly as it will choke the life from a grown Black man. I realize this. And yet, I am shepherding in a new life. I am the conscious conduit for a new light. And although I have worked in my own small way to make this world better for all of our children, I know that it is not yet enough. But I also know that every single one of my heroes inherited the troubles of a world that they did not create, so I trust that this child, every child who stands on the shoulders of the ancestors, will be their own link in the chain.
I can’t breathe, and yet I must, because my breath is not just for me anymore. The little life inside of me proves that life must go on. It has to. I’m not doing anyone any favors by not living my own Black life fully. I am grateful for the chance to be a caretaker and guardian and teacher for someone other than myself… for the chance to carry, sustain, and nurture Black life, which certainly feels like a revolutionary act in these days and times.
I reclaim my health, life, and vitality in the name of the fallen ones: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, John Crawford, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Ikenna Uwakah. I bring new life into the world in honor of the lives you lost too soon.