Being a professional compartmentalizer I’ve often been able to take things that are difficult or “I don’t have the bandwidth to handle at the time” and file it away in order for me to get on with my day to day existence. This has been my coping and defense mechanism for as long as I can remember. It was one of the reasons why my mother picked me to be her medical power of attorney when she was diagnosed with cancer. She knew that no matter how I was feeling I would be able to push it aside to do what was needed.
I pride myself on that ability and use it quite often. My most recent filings have been my emotions surrounding the consistent trails of death for black men and women at the hands of dehumanizing police officers. The lack of humanity against black people has incensed me since I was born because being black in america is a crime in and of itself. Yet I would have to put it aside to deal with the non black people who only saw me if I made them feel comfortable with my presence.
I’ve had to shrink myself more times than I care to remember in my life because I couldn’t come across as too aggressive, or the angry black woman, or my presence was too commanding for the room. I had to belittle myself into not being myself just to make sure that I had a paycheck or was accepted. It was ok I told myself, I’ll deal with this later and moved on.
The moving on part was easy when I didn’t have to deal with confronting the truths of what I always wanted. The idea to create my own business so that I could have control over my own vocational worth. The idea that I would no longer have to make myself smaller to make others comfortable with my existence, no matter the consequence. The idea that I could walk away from anything that did not serve my highest good. The idea that I could stand up for the voiceless and the defenseless because that’s what they deserved. The idea that I would no longer silence my voice in order to further the complacency of those that choose to remain willfully ignorant, The idea that I deserve to exist in a world because I exist in the world. All of the things that filed away to get to at a later point when it was easier and more convenient.
Well the convenience is no longer there. My file cabinets are full and I can no longer stuff anything away because I won’t deal with it later. I have to deal with it now. I have to deal with the fact that I am marginalized in the society that I live in. I have to deal with the fact that I’ve allowed the systemic institution of racism to quiet my voice and ignore my pain. I have to deal with the fact that I or anyone that I am close to can become the next hashtag. I have to deal with the fact that I have chosen to live my life quietly rather than boldly and loud.
So now I bust open the cabinets, throw up those files and let all of me live out loud and in color. I let the cabinets that held my hopes, dreams, gains and losses lay bare as I embrace all that is me and make absolutely no apologies for it. The life that I live was created to take things head on and in its proper perspective.
Now do I still have some cabinets left, YES, but those are only for emergencies and I will deal with them properly.