In times of unrest, I find it difficult to sort through my thoughts, as anyone would be I am sure. I take long drives at night and have moments of turning the volume of the music down, to collect my thoughts by pouring them out of my mouth. Do I comment on social media of people I disagree with? Is that wasting my time? Is it being proactive? Probably not. I can pick and choose my battles of who to vocally disagree with, but at the end of the day I'm still behind multiple keyboards of privilege.
I have exercise-induced asthma and I smoke cigarettes like an idiot. I spend a lot of my free time searching for coupons to afford my $300 inhaler. When those puffs are gone and I'm on self-inflicted financial strain, I have to coach myself through asthma attacks. For any of my readers who do not know what an asthma attack feels like, the best way I can describe it is to feel like 10 Donald Trumps are on top of you screaming the word "TREMENDOUS." It is not a good feeling. And it's powerful, so you do not have control.
I had an asthma attack yesterday and started crying. I had goosebumps all over from my frustration and nervousness, but please do not read those words as a cry for sympathy. I will get the fuck over my asthma attacks when I take care of my health. I was crying because I was thinking of all the times I couldn't breathe in the dead of the night and I thanked God the attack subsided. I was thinking about George Floyd and how he was gasping for air and in his last few breaths said he couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't push that force of control off of him. There was power over him. That power was aiming to paint the asphalt with his skin color. A white knee on a black neck. White on top of black. Hierarchy: white over black. It is disgustingly familiar.
This is the only real nightmare playing in my head. Everything after it has tried to climb up to the top of my brain to understand, but I cannot sort through it. What do I think of the riots? The looting? The violence? I do not know. I cannot think about it. I can only think of Mr. Floyd, and Tamir Rice, and Sandra Bland, and Trayvon Martin, and Philando Castille, and the hundreds of others who share the the same skin color and by default less freedom. I have been so angry and frustrated that I have thrown things. I have written pages of examples of the definition of insanity. Those of you condemning the violence of the riots and looting are overlooking the issue at hand: police brutality and racism woven through this country. The oppressed, the murdered, the knocked down have never done the same thing. They have marched against insanity: they have changed their ways of fighting. It has always produced the same result. Broken windows can be fixed, tear gas will continue to be mass-produced, streets will be swept up. We are a consumerist society: we will pay to clean up our messes. But until you can figure out how to bring a life back, then we can't compare the two. And you'll never figure out the latter.
Still more I think of the video. Still more I think of its broadcast doing both harm and good. Harm in that is has tightened the grip of the racists grasp of their rifles. Good in that it has eliminated denial and counterarguments, in small ways. And some of you still wait. Yes, I'm speaking to you. Some of you wait, with your pride and murky patriotism, you wait for the peaceful protesters to show up with their signs, declaring their stance, fighting for justice that I don't believe will ever come. You yell and you try to provoke them. You yell in the name of your property. Just as your ancestors did 2 centuries ago.
But it was never about you.
I like to write; point blank. This is a little piece of me that I get to share with the rest of the world, and hey, you know, maybe you'll appreciate it, maybe it'll do nothing for you. But my writing exists, and that's enough for me.
© 2019 Silvia Iorio. All rights reserved.