For a Time Such as This: A Call for Dual Consciousness
Updated: Sep 7, 2020
Yesterday was Friday, August 28th.
Fridays are usually happily anticipated for being the start of the weekend, yet, Friday, August 28th, 2020 represented more complexities than simply letting go a little bit from a long work week just because you might be able to sleep in on Saturday morning.
August 28th as a specific date holds incredible weight for Black people in particular, for on this day, various transformative events occurred in our American history that served as community game changers. Some to feel triumphant about, others that inspired a sense of mourning.
On a day of the week that ordinarily could by 5p bring about feelings of ease, after watching Ava Duvernay's thought-provoking film, "August 28: A Day in the Life of a People", that further emphasized Dr. Martin Lurher King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech delivery on the Mall in Washington D.C. (1963), Barack Obama's first-time acceptance of the Democratic Party's presidential nomination (2008), the first #1 radio hit for the iconic Motown Records, ("Please Mr. Postman", 1961), and tragic moments like the devastation of Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the brutal murder of Emmit Till (1955), I was left feeling awestruck, honored, frustrated, and angry- two extreme ends of our "love" and "fear" pendulum.
Aside from watching those reenactments from history that erupted a litany of sensations in me, there were also real life ups and downs going on in the world yesterday that continued a collective spectrum of emotions for Black people, and by anyone who cares about us.
We felt proud about the thousands who congregated yesterday by car, plane, train, or on foot on the Mall in Washington D.C. for the 57th anniversary of the world first hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words about his inspiring "Dream". Dr. King's ultimate dream, his eloquent, 12 year-old granddaughter Yolanda, who channeled his spirit as she spoke so powerfully, brought that awesome moment in history full circle. At the same time, we as a community were also aching about another detail of why so many people came together: A long list of incidents with police brutality on unarmed Black men and women over the course of years, hitting a tipping point this 2020 year. So many names to mention, the surnames Floyd, Taylor, Arbery, and Blake are ones that most easily roll off the tongue due to how recent their killings were, but if given another 60 seconds to think, and the list of victims' names could span the remainder of this page. Yesterday might have, as usual, served as the day before week's ending, and it also was the last day of a standard work week where our nerves were overworked and overwhelmed from witnessing the treatment of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in his back at point-blank range by a Kenosha, WI police officer as a form of apprehending him. If anyone questioned whether or not Jacob's mistreatment was deserved, due to a growing sentiment by the dominant community because of his outstanding warrant and "long rap sheet", exactly one day later we learned that a 17 year-old male who is from the dominant community, shot three people, killing two, and afterwhich, was thanked by those same Kenosha police and allowed to leave the scene while carrying a semi-automatic rifle. There are those who are fighting to prove that not only did Jacob Blake have a knife in his car, but also one in his hand, in addition to "resisting arrest" as further justification for his treatment. These same people raised over 100k on behalf of the teenage double-murderer. There is an infinite split screen of the police infractions with black and white people and stark differences for how each is handled. For our Black community, we have grown tired and many of us weary, but seeing the people come together on this particular August 28th gave "TGIF" new meaning. A sobering attempt to let out a bit of the chest full of oxygen that we'd been holding in all week. Hearing encouraging words of the mothers and fathers and families of those slain human beings helped us exhale some. We bore witness while holding hands and holding loved ones whom we trusted to occupy our pandemic quarantined spaces.
I watched and read commentary about these events while sipping on a glass of rosé, something I had not done in a couple of weeks because my days have gone on longer as of late, and by the time I can relax, it is always a better choice to not risk anymore awake time and permit myself to go to bed. On this day when my day miraculously ended at a decent hour, I sat there with the wind blowing smoothly, yet strong enough for me to feel it, and the sun was still shining. These natural elements gave way for my muscles to calm and for my face to allow a smile to form.
I thought, "Why don't I share something good to infuse my own personal contribution of hope?"
I'd been working on a website with a talented two-woman team during the summer. They had completed the project weeks prior, and had done such a wonderful job, but with all that had been going on in the world that needed all of us to direct a different sort of focus, I could not find an appropriate window or justify why I should try to attract people's attention my way. It was hard enough posting about my 15th wedding anniversary on the 27th, and after battling myself about why would I only repost my husband's memory anniversary post from years before, I had to convince myself to share my own actual words about our special day. I took out the time to write something meaningful, and I shared it. Good. Still, this self-celebratory post was understandable, because I had been seeing a number of Anniversary posts that I had been saluting over the course of weeks, and so my choice to talk about my own would not be considered extraordinary. But a website announcement at a time like this??? My inner voice spoke: "For times such as these, we need as much joy to balance out any level of sadness". I chose to share, and I am glad that I did. Writing and posting filled me back up, and the responses and views on my site yesterday alone let me know that I was able to penetrate others in a positive way.
All of the varying energies of this particular Friday, the Friday of the Monumental August 28th, made me realize even more how at a time such as this, learning to understand how to, as they say, "take the good with the bad" is more important now than ever. We need to know how to fill ourselves up again with joy after bouts of sorrow. For Black people in particular, we have to call upon those resilient spirits who were stuffed and laid in rows like sardines in the bowels of slave ships in order to find themselves alive once the boats reached these American shores- though they would not be prepared for the drudgery of lives they would have to live going forward. We will never feel what our ancestors endured to get us all here to this present day, but we ask for a smidgen of their level of endurance to get us by in this new form of oppression. To get us all to mentally and emotionally get through another day.
Just like the highs and lows in the historical vignettes of Ava's film, a time such as this requires us to collectively be able to find a reason to rejoice in times of trouble, and keep our feet firmly planted on the ground in times of triumph. A dual consciousness, a healthy balance could be beneficial for all of us.
So I eagerly shared my website, also thinking of all that could come from me as a creative in due time. When I pressed send on the post, hope was on my mind and heart.
There was a calm in my home for the remainder of the evening. I cleaned my kitchen, all who were awake just moments before were now enjoying slumber. I climbed in bed semi-exhausted for all that I had taken in that day, at the same time being happy that I had released some good energy out into the world through social media before the day was done. What my husband told me as I was sitting up to read a thing or two until the words on the page put me to sleep nearly took my breath away...
Chadwick Boseman had died from colon cancer.
I did not read from my chosen book that night, rather I ended up reading blogs and other offerings about Chadwick from all who knew him and could muster words to share with the public. Then I lay awake in bed for more time than I had wanted to. I tossed and turned, perhaps from the rosé I drank, but certainly because I was not at peace from hearing the tragic news. At about 5am I awoke this morning with this "aha" moment: I might not have been at the time, but Chadwick Boseman, for sure WAS at peace. Here is a man who completed a number of films while fighting his health battle, including becoming the most iconic superhero symbol, a mirroring image of strength for all Black children and for many who are not. His inner strength and intuition lead him to serve as a beacon of positivity for children who were suffering from the same illness he was dealing with, though he never let on to anyone that he had any deficit at all. He had come to terms with the cards he had been dealt, and made it his business to perform masterfully on both human and artistry levels until he gave his last, until his overall Job was done. I believe that the only people who can weather a storm that incredible, yet still stand on two legs and empathetically serve others in such ways are those who have true inner peace. Chadwick Boseman, though weighted by the bigness of cancer allowed us to be filled up by the ultimate and mighty goodness that was all of him. He had no conflicts in doing this. Only clarity.
I thank God that Chadwick, who was a living angel, was surrendered by God from any pain so that he could evolve into the spiritual angel we will all be able to call by name.
Researching Chadwick Boseman years ago I learned that he and I share the same birthday. I only know of a couple of publicly recognized people who do, and luckily they happen to be people for whom I have great respect. If I could adopt any lessons from my fellow Sagittarius and younger birthday "twin", it would be to grow the muscles in me that can endure whatever imbalance that is going on around me, and at the same time train my inner muscles to be confident, courageous, and focused enough to exhale with light. Be light. And no matter what, don't back down. Someone just might need it.
Compassion. Peace. Healing. Love.
For You and All of Us,