Audre Lorde wasn’t chosen as this week’s literary witch because of the mystical power of the universe. I chose her and pulled her out of the deck on purpose. I’ve been trying to write this blog post for days and who else could I have this week, a week of protests and demonstrations and anger and sadness because another black man has been killed needlessly by the police. George Floyd. Death by asphyxiation because the officer wouldn’t take his knee off of his throat.
When I was in my early 20s my brother-in-law offered to drive my parent’s car across the country to their cottage. I don’t remember the specifics but for some reason the car was owned by me (I bought the car from my dad for a dollar but I don’t remember why he wanted me to do this). Anyway, as my brother-in-law was driving across Saskatchewan he was pulled over by the RCMP for the crime of “driving while coloured”. He wasn’t speeding but he was a dark man driving a nice car (a 10-year old Nissan Maxima is the “nice” car in this case) and if it wasn’t for the letter I had written saying that I had given my brother-in-law the permission to drive my car across the country we don’t know what would have happened to him. Somehow I knew to worry about him enough to write that letter. Canada is not immune to racism, it’s just that ours is usually quieter. We are politely racist. All of us. Having relatives of colour does not give me a pass from this – but it has certainly made me keep my eyes open. Open to witness strangers touching my nephew’s soft afro when he was a toddler (without asking). Open to one of my nephews being accused of being a terrorist as he walks down the street.
I haven’t been posting anything on social media about the deaths or the protests because I don’t want to contribute to what I call all the “white noise” that is going on at the moment. This blog, this little spot on the internet that few people read, this is where I can post. But right now I don’t need to be another voice shouting “Look at me! I’m one of the good ones!” Am I? Probably not. I want to help but other than educating myself and my children about white privilege and white supremacy I don’t really know how. I need to come to terms with my own biases and not pass them along to my children. I think what white people need to realize is that the term white privilege isn’t a derogatory term or an insult and to not immediately get offended. It’s just a fact. My job right now, in addition to teaching my children, is to make sure they don’t immediately go to the “I hate all white people.” Or, “I hate being white!” statements (because this is what I am getting.) That doesn’t help anyone and it doesn’t move us forward. It’s okay to be happy with the skin you are in, it is okay to be white but the issue is that it should also be okay to be black. But it is being proven again and again that being black in North America is not okay. It is not equal. While I am teaching my children about equality black mothers and fathers are teaching their children how to deal with the police and try and not get shot. How is that equal?
A good quote I found on explaining to the “All Lives Matter” people why Black Lives Matter: “If you were at an event supporting people with Breast Cancer no one would run in and scream ALL CANCER MATTERS. That’s a given, it’s obvious. No one is saying it doesn’t.” (Quoted from Blessthemessy on Instagram.)
Today there was a protest in Calgary. I did not attend. I feel guilty that I did not attend but that is just not the kind of support I can give right now. My family is giving up a lot to keep me safe from Covid-19 and exposing myself (even with a mask) would have been a disservice to them. I would have had to have someone push me around in my wheelchair and I just can’t get that close to anyone right now. (Also I spent most of the day at the hospital.) It isn’t the same as the protests and riots going on in the U.S. People seem shocked by the violence but when your voice has been silenced and ignored for so long how else can you get attention? I’ve got no answers and my white tears don’t help anyone. All this talking seems like a lot of white noise.
The difference between poetry and rhetoric is being ready to kill yourself instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds and a dead child dragging his shattered black face off the edge of my sleep blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders is the only liquid for miles and my stomach churns at the imagined taste while my mouth splits into dry lips without loyalty or reason thirsting for the wetness of his blood as it sinks into the whiteness of the desert where I am lost without imagery or magic trying to make power out of hatred and destruction trying to heal my dying son with kisses only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and there are tapes to prove it. At his trial this policeman said in his own defense “I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else only the color”. And there are tapes to prove that, too.
Today that 37 year old white man with 13 years of police forcing was set free by eleven white men who said they were satisfied justice had been done and one Black Woman who said “They convinced me” meaning they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame over the hot coals of four centuries of white male approval until she let go the first real power she ever had and lined her own womb with cement to make a graveyard for our children.
I have not been able to touch the destruction within me. But unless I learn to use the difference between poetry and rhetoric my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire and one day I will take my teenaged plug and connect it to the nearest socket raping an 85 year old white woman who is somebody’s mother and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time “Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”
The sun is shining, the rest of the garden is in, I’ve been out walking with my cane but leaving it behind as I walk around the house. Spring feels like it is here to stay in Calgary and hopefully I will continue to have less pain and be able to be more active. My favourite yoga place is having a 30 Days of yoga (at home) right now and I wish so badly that I could join in. It is so weird and frustrating to not be physically active when you have labelled yourself a relatively physically active person. I mean, I was never super ripped or anything but I’ve always tried to incorporate physical activity into my day-to-day life and now I know walking around the block is a victory but my mind hasn’t made the change yet. I suspect it never will. I used to do squats while brushing my teeth and push ups every day. Not to impress anyone but because I have small bones and small muscles and not terribly strong already and felt I needed to keep active to keep what little strength I did possess.
Being able to put the garden in myself helps though. Being able to nurture my plants and move the pots around to follow the sun feels like something. It feels like a real accomplishment. And this week I was determined to learn how to use my overlocker and after a few frustrating failures I have finally got it working. Now I just need to make something. I have some old jersey I bought centuries ago (for babies) that is really quite thin (which I didn’t know when I ordered it but made me not want to use it for babies) but it would make a cute t-shirt for Oonagh who probably won’t mind a see-thru shirt. I would love to make Moira a really nice skirt but she is so cold all the time that even though the rest of us are in dresses or shorts she is still covered head to toe and wearing her fleece or a sweater daily. It’s also the age. I was pretty dedicated to wearing my brother’s clothing when I was her age and my brother and I aren’t anywhere near the same size. (Especially not then as we are almost 7 years apart).
What else have we been up to… Well, Mister & I finished our Humphrey Bogart box set although Treasure of the Sierra Madre wasn’t actually on it (in its place was a documentary about John Huston) and African Queen wasn’t even listed. We have got our hands on those movies and will probably watch them this weekend. Sabrina also isn’t in the box set but we already have a copy of it. Every afternoon the whole family has sat down to watch Digging for the Truth which is a History Channel docu-series from about 15 years ago. It leads to a lot of good family discussions.
It would have been wise to mark the half way point in the 100 Day Project with a spectacular blog post but instead I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing in the evening and forgetting to blog.
All things considered I have been feeling quite well these past few days – although I have now reached the half way point of my current chemo cycle and the nausea and heartburn are starting to creep up on me. It makes it hard to want to cook and sometimes I can’t physically keep my eyes open even though I don’t seem to ever really fall asleep but other than that things are fine.
Moira is so freaking happy playing Animal Crossing these days that I have gotten into it too and have been sitting with her in the evenings – which is when she likes to have her gaming time – and catching lots of fish and trying to make my house look nice even though it only has a few things in it. I’m definitely not that much of a minimalist in real life (much to the Mister’s dismay).
We have also gotten back into watching The Great British Sewing Bee and are now on Season 5. This has inspired me to get over my fear of my overlocker and as soon as I finish here I am going to go back to watching videos on You Tube about how to use it. (Or more specifically: how to thread it without crying much.) Don’t ask me how the sock is going because it is currently having a time out.
I can’t seem to blog more than once every two days – which on the whole is more than respectable I think. When this project is over I think I will try and keep up with it but about three times a week. I would be really happy with that.
Today I went for probably my longest walk yet. Last weekend we went to Confederation Park and the family pushed me around in my wheelchair although I did get out and walk for a bit with my cane. This is a big park near our home where I used to do daily 5km walks. I try not to think about whether I will ever get back to that level of activity. Certainly not with my back the way it is right now. But there are plans to fix some things which I will know more about later this week.
I was keeping up with the sock knitting but made it too short and then had to rip back a whole lot and now I’m not sure how to fix it. I can’t decide if I want to go and try and fix it and watch the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – which I haven’t watched in years. Or if I want to go and play Animal Crossing for a little while and worry about the sock tomorrow. If only all my dilemmas were this unimportant.
(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)
I have no nice photo to add to today’s blog post. I don’t even have a crappy photo to add to today’s blog post. But yesterday I could have taken a really great photo of a really sweet moment between my girls but I didn’t. And you know what? Not taking the photo was hard. Just being there in the moment was physically hard for me. I know that is weird. I know that is wrong. But it doesn’t make it any less true. Phone addiction is real guys! At least mine is.
The last couple days I have also been toying with deleting my Twitter account. I do enjoy some of the interactions on Twitter but for the most part it is a truly awful place with people trying to out wit one another or just on there to bully one another. Since I’m trying to set and example of good phone & social media usage for my daughters maybe I just don’t need another place on the internet to waste my time. Also Trump is truly a horrifying person so why do I need to be one more place to hear people complain about him? I don’t. I really really don’t. So even if I’m just writing into the void here for myself at least it is something.
Also I learned a really important phrase in my Latin lesson today: Ubi bibliotheca proxima est? Where is the nearest library? This will hopefully come in useful if I ever travel back in time to ancient Rome. I miss the library.