I think about June Jordan’s words too often: “And what shall we do, we who did not die?” Some of us did not die.
I reside in a liminal space of feeling deeply grateful for the ways my body has carried me through the pandemic, especially as it has been carrying me more than I realized, and a deep mourning for those who are no longer here. When I read pieces that say how amazing it is that our bodies have survived the pandemic, I freeze, I convulse, I react. Because for too many who are not here, it is not the fault of their body. Their bodies wanted them here, but they were the sacrifices of the cruelty, neglect, and racism of a presidency that many also did not survive.
I am angry. Just as much as I am continuously washed over by waves of grief, loneliness, and sadness. I sit in my room and open my youth and scream until I feel the familiar shaking of my body as my screams become tears.
I don’t know how to do this.
And instead of any eloquent answers, the only words that form are spilled out in foams of anger.
There have been so many versions of me in my 32 years of life. I should have started naming them. There was a me before the pandemic, a me during the depths of the pandemic, and this me: living in the space between death and life, fear and change.
I look around twice, three times, around corners when I go outside, because home was safety, and outside has never meant safety as a Black woman.
I go to a gathering and take an extra drink as an attempt to break the walls that so naturally rise when I leave the spaces of my house.
I make plans and one by one take each one off my calendar that begs for the stretches of empty nothingness that required no scheduled events.
I keep my camera off so that when the inevitable moments comes that I am caught in a moment of pre-pandemic ritual, that my disoriented state is not witnessed across the faces in the meeting.
I gather with my community and we talk safety and grief and funerals and death, and I recognize how much has been carried without laying any of it down. How much grief and loss and anger live both at the surface and deeply within me. I think about when this life will demand of me again.
I need to relearn so much. Namely, how to be together with those of us who remain.
But in this liminal space, a space of margins, I look to this moment to unlearn as I relearn, what it means to live a more restful, connected life.