jan 6

Sometime in the dark of early morning, I shook a fluffy blanket out and made tiny lightning. I spread my arms wide and parachuted a miniature sky of spark and star.

I forget that static electricity looks the way it looks. Most days, it’s an invisible thing, a small jaw snapping at my ankles across a carpeted ocean. But in the right light– or, without the distraction of light– it holds a whole shape, a whole universe.

I am wondering on the shape of sounds. Sounds like the ones the hammers sing as they beat against the ceiling downstairs from me. My hardwood floor shakes with and, in some places, you can see through its ribs down to the floor below.

I hope I don’t fall through, but if I do, I hope I can get back up again.

I know not everyone who reads this is from the United States, but recent events have been biting my ankles like there are tiny monsters in this ocean. Like hammers are tearing down the scaffolding, and there are holes everywhere that show us how far we still have to fall.

I hope we can get back up.

I wish I could tell you about January 6th like a scholar or journalist, but this was the work of so much history that I get tangled in the tale. It’s a story about how often we forget what things look like in the dark, and red (confederate) flags that we should have pulled out from the roots long ago. It’s a story about tiny lightning in human hands and how we like to play God. It’s about how so many of us who live here do, in fact, know the shape and sharps of noise, and how so many who live here pretend that they don’t hear anything.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest Steven’s post. I read it when I was ready. I recommend the same for you.

I’m not a journalist, though, and I was never much of a scholar. I’m a blogger, and I think back to the beginning of this year when a good friend said to me, “I always hear that blogging is out, but that’s what you do. Does it feel like its on its way out?”

That’s another story about heydays and definitions of success, but ultimately my answer is always — no. You can’t kill a platform based on the stories no news station has the time or want or energy to carry. When joyful things happen around the world, I hear about it firsthand. Sure, I see the fireworks on the news, but then I read a post about how such&such took out the special dishes, and how so&so’s mom came over with a cake and they sat close, heads pressed together, in silent joy.

So, as a blogger, who must say something because this is the place where I record what I need to say, I will say what I think I need to say so I don’t have to keep outrunning myself.

This is the part where you stop reading if you’re in a stage of healing that doesn’t need poking yet.

The terrorism of January 6th scared me to the core.

At the first headline that indicated a breach to the Capitol, I circled around my shoebox of an apartment reaching for anything that could calm the senses. I eventually tried an audio book, and sobbed so loudly through the first chapter that I surely would have ruined the book had it been in my actual hands. I called my therapist. She had already set up times for all of us — she works with those of us who have PTSD from state-based violence.

While I waited for her, I detached entirely. I took out my Oculus Quest 2, a Christmas gift that I didn’t know I would rely so heavily on, and went into a VR universe. I spent the bulk of the insurrection in virtual reality New Zealand, playing an exercise game that involves loud music and swinging your arms around to hit the appropriate markers.

And I cried through it all.

Deep rolling silent tears that choke your heart.

As it was happening, I was already afraid we would forget. (One of my least favorite symptoms of American racism is the amnesia. Ask a brown person how it was here after September 11th. Now, ask almost anyone else, including history books.) I was afraid I’d be hurt or that my loved ones would. I was unnaturally fixated on the idea of window washers and janitors and interns at the Capitol. Dark-skinned or immigrant or accented, I assume. Do security teams get them to safety, too? I hoped so, but wouldn’t have been surprised if they didn’t.

In a twist of cruel fate, my medicines were mixed up that day, too. I don’t know how much of my terror was because I didn’t have PTSD pills in my system, or even the vitamins that have been keeping me functional after last month’s surprise illness.

But I was scared.

I still am.

It’s a selfish thing to say, but as some of our congress barricaded themselves into offices and hid from armed attackers, I was choking on what I would be asked to bear. What the Black and brown folks in my life would be asked to bear.

Would they make us hear “both sides” of treason? Would I have to hear the word Patriots repeated over and over like this was a strange sci-fi movie where the department in charge of killing everyone is called the Cabinet of Rest? Would the trauma photography get shared a million times over? Would they use the noose? Would others be inspired to do the same? Would the representatives who look like us make it out alive? And if they didn’t, would everyone insist it was coincidence that they were the ones to die first?

And of course, the insidious asks. The ones that question if it’s really about race. The ones that think that reign of Trump is the beginning and end of such violences.

The ones who will act shocked, reminding me that they’ve never given credence to the voice of a marginalized person in their life.

The ones who read me here and maybe even send me holiday cards, but forget that I am what I am. Brown. Disabled. In support of true accountability from our leaders.

In the city over, a woman in a mirror rally pulled the weave off a woman passing by and declared it the first scalping of the new Civil War. The audience applauded. They kicked the cane out from under an Indian reporter. Everyone cheered. There was confetti.

And if it were me? Would some people who read me here applaud my injury? Would they dig through my history? Scrape past their own accolades of my soul and condemn it instead to make the violence make sense? Are they thinking right now that it wouldn’t be me because I wouldn’t be there? I don’t deserve racist attacks because I stay home and stay silent and could almost seem white if you just read with one eye closed?

I think yes.

And that makes me sick to my stomach.

I’m crying again while writing this. I’ve been crying since the attack, trying to chin-up, trying to rally hope.

I still feel like I’m falling, and the only thing I can think, in terror, is that I don’t think we’ve reached the bottom yet.

What if life never feels like standing up again?

Will I still find a use for all this hope I’m stockpiling?

33 thoughts on “jan 6

  1. Yes, yes you will find a use for the hope you are stockpiling. I am sure of it. I don’t live in the US, but I am brown, and I know brown people in the US, and I hear ‘both sides’, and I too am shocked, and feel so upset about your pain. But hope is the only bright light in these dark times, and it will light up the world if enough people believe in it. So hold on tight โค

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not always the best ally, but I try to be. Everything about the events of last week – and the decades of assholery leading up to them- have me agitated and enraged. I worry for you. I worry for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Iโ€™m not always the best ally, either, but the trying does count for something. Thank you for your post. I needed a clearly documented explanation of the rage because Iโ€™m still in the muddle of the fear.โค๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am crying for you, I am crying for all the marginalized. I am crying for the victims and the perpetrators who were also victimized. I am crying for all the triggers this week to those already carrying heavy loads of trauma.
    I see you. I hear you. I love you โค

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t live in the United States, but I have family there. They are brown, but lead comfortable lives. That doesn’t protect them from the self-righteous, willful, suffocating ignorance all around them. I worry a lot. But I have hope, and I can’t do much with it here, no matter how things play out over there. So, may I hand it over to you, to add to your stockpile. I am certain you will find a use for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My family is similarly stationed. Far more likely to be meeting with congress than cleaning up after congress, and yetโ€” and yet. Thank you for the extra boost of hope. โค๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so sorry for this sorry assed government and the system of oppression that has continually and purposefully held down people of color (and women and people with disabilities and people in poverty) since day one. Most of all Iโ€™m sorry for all the pain youโ€™ve endured because of it. I wish for you that your stockpile of hope can be wrapped around you like a quilt or a comfort object or a friend. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sending you love sweet Ra. I too, was in tears. I too, had to do my best to distract myself from the horror. I had trouble watching the impeachment hearings today when republican house members pleaded with us to sweep this under the rug in the name of unity. I do not wish to unify with them if they believe this behavior is in anyway acceptable. It is so difficult right now not to hold hatred in my heart for those that have brought us to this point with lies, misinformation, and rage. I will always try and protect those that are marginalized. They don’t just hate those with different color skin, they hate anyone who does not share their misguided beliefs and agendas. I’m so sorry, I know this is harder on black and brown skinned people. Even though my skin is white I am still terrified. I can’t imagine how much worse it must be for you. Know that we are on the same side, and I am here. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As I watched the attempted coup on Wednesday, I put my head in my hands and sobbed. As a teacher of U.S. History and Government for many years I am mortified by what happened, and I was and still am frightened. My next door neighbor has been posting on Facebook statements in sympathy with the insurgents. I live in a rural area in the South where “good ole boys” drive pick-up trucks covered with Trump bumper stickers and have veritable arsenals of guns in their homes. I am of mixed ancestry and although my skin is white, people around here always assume I moved here from “somewhere else” even though I grew up only 30 miles away. My ethnicity has been questioned all of my life, and different people assume different things about my ethnicity, so I realize I could be a target, too. It is a scary time. Because of Covid, I stay home and lay low anyway, but I do hope that things will get better. We must have hope. “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” (Desmond Tutu) So hang on tightly to your stockpile of hope, and I’ll try to hang onto mine, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This time of year is already traumatic for me. 4 years ago right after Christmas my parents house (my childhood home) burned down. A year after that we had to uproot our lives and move across country into my parent’s recently rebuilt house. It was only a little more than 4 months ago that we were able to get out on our own again and my brain & body decided that it would be safe to start to work through the last 4 years of trauma right around Christmas time this year… My brain & body have a horrible sense of timing.
    I stayed up until around 4am EST on January 7th because I *had to* see the electoral college vote certification finished. I was absolutely terrified that it would be violently disrupted again. I am boiling over with rage. I am enraged by personal things that happened over the last 3 years plus what has happened in the last week. I was sickened and horrified by what I saw happening at the Capitol, but I was not surprised. I am terrified about just getting through this next week to the inauguration, and I’m terrified about what might happen beyond that, and I am a relatively privileged white woman. I am so sorry for the trauma that you are going through, Ra. I’m sending you so much love. ๐Ÿ’š

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Iโ€™m sorry. Iโ€™m sorry for your pain. Iโ€™m sorry that the world seems addicted to chaos and extremism. May we all remember that weโ€™re all on the same team and that Mother Earth needs us to grow up and be kind!!
    Sending love, hugs and heart healing ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’œ

    Liked by 2 people

  10. wow.! This was so sad to read and touched me in ways unimaginable and I am a South African but I could feel and see your pain. And I could somewhat relate to this although brown people that side goes through much much worse. I truly am sorry and very sympathetic towards all African Americans. But thank you for writing this and thank you for being brave enough to share your hurt!! Really good writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It all sickens me, too, Ra. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a world where people hate you just because you have dark skin, but I CAN tell you that you’re not alone. I want all the same things you want, but I, too, have some trouble putting those thoughts into words. Moreso, I have no patience for the opposing views because the opposing view (in my mind) is simply vile. I get angry just reading or discussing the views of these so-called patriots.

    Anyhow…small rant over. I hope you’re doing well. And I’m sorry our country has done all it has done to you.

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  12. Iโ€™m terrified! But Iโ€™m also angry because our warnings were ignored. And I canโ€™t help but wonder if they were ignored because the risk was highest to already marginalized people. I feel like our โ€œalliesโ€ are standing back, curious to see how far it can go. Donโ€™t we already know??

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  13. Iโ€™m still in shock and upset and wish I had the gift of a poet to express and never wanted to be a reporter or a scholar, despite how admirable any one is who can reach up through this hellish mess and offer a morsel of clarity or wisdom. Thank you for bringing that mini lightning into this discussion. You brought me magic with your words. Iโ€™m sad, angry, confused. How is this happening? And that part about forgetting…. itโ€™s my concern, too.

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  14. Thank you for writing this, for writing how it is on a personal level, for writing something I’ll never otherwise understand at a personal level me with my white privilege and blessed life.
    I doubt I’ll cry but I suspect it will be a while before I’m over being incredulous, and angry, at what racism has wrought in your beautiful country. This entire thing, all of it, ALL of it is about white people wanting to hold on to their power.
    I know you are strong Ra, but I know you’ve had to face a lot, much more than most of your age, so cry your tears cry until you feel hollowed out and in that empty space let your bankroll of hope arise again.
    Much love
    Alison

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  15. Ra, I’m visiting from Dinah’s blog as she linked up with the Weekend Coffee Share blog link that I host. I’m sending you hope and strength. You’re welcome to join Weekend Coffee Share any week.

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  16. I know it’s not okay, and I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing this. You matter, and your words are important. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I don’t have much to offer this moment, except that I’m sending love, and I hope that you find some semblance of comfort and safety tonight. You are enough, and you deserve to feel safe.

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