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?