My Soul Is Tired & Got To Move: The Lust & Effect of Trauma Porn

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Let me make this clear for the people in the front to the back.

Trauma is not entertainment. I know in the age of NCIS, Law & Order:  SUV and the ID Channel, I know it’s profitable and people thirst for it. However, real trauma, for real survivors, is not entertainment.

Let me make this point abundantly clear also. The death of black people, or people of color is entertainment to a certain sect of the population whom cannot wait to ‘Make America Great Again.’. To these people, America being great means it is predominately white–again. The only reason why this happened in the past is because native peoples/people of color were massacred or starved and pushed out and off lands that were originally theirs. But I digress.

One of the missing elements of activism often is self-care and the reclaiming of psychic space. Too often our timelines are filled with images of men, women turned into martyred hashtags at the hands of law enforcement. With the nuanced crime-fighting ability only Batman had, cell phone cameras record questionable and murderous behavior of law enforcement from their encounters with police. It is now common practice to do as Colbert instructed:

                                         Assume the position! Head down, iPhone out!

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But I wonder about the toll this takes on people of color.

I wonder about the toll this is taking on black people. I, for one, sometimes feel a degree of responsibility when these videos come through  my feed. I feel that I have to share it, I have to retweet it, I have to comment on it–I feel that the ancestors weren’t able to relay the messages, or voice their pain, so I must do so…but at what cost?

The pain of black people is often amusement to people that hate black people. Remember this.

However, I am tired of seeing men that look like my husband and father constantly being slain. I am tired of the hashtags. I am tired, and the burden of that exhaustion manifests as depression. It makes me not want to get out of bed in the morning. It makes me make sure my husband makes it to work intact, with his phone and wasn’t accosted by the police.  It makes me tired.

The trauma porn, the drive to share death and maiming of people of color,  makes me tired.

What I try and remember, since being passionate about social justice as far back as middle school are these three things:

 

I am only one person. I can only do so much in a day, and if I can do no more, if the day has gotten so rough, so emotionally taxing, it does not make me a bad black woman to rest.

 

I am not the work, the work is not me. In the midst of activism, in the midst of the fight, I still have to find joy. I still must find ways to define myself aside from grief, trauma, and organizing. I still must find a way to laugh, to rest, and see where the light is–and stay there. I define myself outside of activism, trauma and pain.

 

I am entitled to peace of mind and heart. In carrying the gift of words and charisma, I don’t have to retweet every video in my feed. I don’t have to respond to every troll. I don’t have to run to the defense of everyone at the same time. I am entitled to rest. I am a person, a woman and am entitled to the respect of emotional stability.

I remind myself I am not fighting by myself.

 

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The world can be an evil, dirty and tiring place to inhabit. It can be grueling, daunting and rife with pain. It is only cleaned up one mess at a time. It is only cleaned up by accountability and confrontation. Right now, that focus is on justice and equality for people whom are black—those same people this nation forgets are human and entitled to life liberty and [all] pursuits of happiness. The cameras are necessary! The protests are necessary! The unease this evidence causes to those in power is necessary! The point of trauma is to alert something is wrong so it can be rectified–not to co-exist with any healthy situation!

 

What I have learned, what I continue to learn is when to stop. When to listen to my body and inner being when it is disquieted. I have learned to turn off the news. I have learned to get off social media. I have learned to value my life and those around me–meaning I can’t be a mama to everyone and not to my own whom need more than the world ever will.

I have learned what it, perhaps, took generations of women in my blood to do. I have learned to stop. I have learned to leave what is hurting, so I can heal up to keep going.

Even the strongest warriors must rest. The work will always be there. But in order for you to be okay, you have to realize what it taking it.

 

Rest. Recoup. Resist.

 

 

 

[Image from Google]

 

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