What I Am Made Of, What I Will Withstand

When you’re a 33 year old, Black masculine of center lesbian, you don’t get to be afraid.

I’ve been relegated to secretly digesting stories of the brutalization of my sisters and brothers while huddled over the phone at my desk, feigning a smile every time someone passes by, afraid that any of my co-workers will see. Afraid that any of my co-workers will question my strength. In the sleepless nights, as I hear about Black folks that have been victimized, between traumas I realize that I don’t have any more strength left to talk about it. I can’t explain how I feel – I’m simply trying to survive. I find my heart racing as I scroll through my Facebook feed wondering what I can do to prevent myself from facing the same fate.

The gut-wrenching truth is, I can’t.

When you’re a 33 year old, Black masculine of center lesbian who has short hair and who feels most comfortable in a button down and pants, there isn’t any training on how to react when someone misgenders you daily or when the women in the restroom jeer into the mirror when they look at you. When the biker gang sporting confederate flags drives by and stares disgusted by your presence. In these moments,  you are all alone.

A younger version of myself often wondered about the characteristics that defined what little girls are made of, but recently, since moving to the South, I realize that the more thoughtful statement lies not in what we’re made of, but what we’re built to withstand.

My heart is racing at the thought, will I be the next?

I’m feeling heartbroken that I was not able to attend the Black Lives Matter gathering in Cleveland, Ohio, but part of me is also numb from the images of attack that I see against our people. Would I even be able to contribute anything?

I’m trying to remind myself that I’m not alone. Because, I am not alone. We are not alone.

#ifidieinpolicecustody I will hold the spirit of those battling with me and on behalf of me in our struggle to survive.

Bio: Michelle Wright is a community activist for Black lives, a trainer and a recent transplant to the south.

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