This week I find myself smack in the middle of some real life altering changes; things that are beyond my control. Suffice it to say, this writing course was right on time!
Day 2 of Free Enterprise — Tuesday 12 July 2016 — Alexis had me and the other participants thinking and writing about concealed weapons. She encouraged us to do an honest reflection of our lives, and consider, “where are the concealed weapons in my/our lives?”
The first thing I thought of were everyday things; inanimate objects. The first three that came to mind are: tactical flashlight, water bottle, my cane; all things I own. Too often I find myself in situations that are out of my control. For me, safety is relative. Safety means not experiencing violence in any of its forms, and not being under the threat of violence in any of its forms. History tells me that I’ve been in these situations where I have no control; if I’m being honest with myself, then I’ll say there’s a good damn chance it will happen again. Knowing that, I spend a lot of time thinking about items I can on my person that could potentially be used as a weapon because I don’t carry objects that are outright designated as weapons.
Here’s a list of items I do carry; my concealed weapons. Turns out, anything can be weaponized. Even us.
- TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT: it was a gift from a WM ex, who I was dating at the time. He thought it would “help keep me safe.” Turns out what truly helped was me exiting that relationship.
- WATER BOTTLE: I ride public transportation, and because of this, am always up in the mix with an array of people. When I think of needed to defend myself from someone(s), I consider the damage that even a partially full water bottle can do if struck out strategically.
- MY CANE: walking with cane has its advantages. For one, it helps stabilize me; I’m so wobbly. Fro two, it’s a great weapon! I have no problem demanding* and taking up space for myself in public. More than one person has had an ankle cracked by me and my cane. And if you’re sitting there wondering why I do this…well, lemme tell you: in part, it’s because I realized that I’m not a non-violent person. If it helps you build empathy, then here’s this fact, too: I could, literally, fall to the ground if/when some fool of a human, even accidentally(!), swipes my cane away from my usual gait. Also, fuck ’em. Here’s to disabled Black femmes taking up all the space! Here’s to us!
This concealed weapons writing prompt also brought me to the realization that I am not a non-violent person. Some years ago I definitely thought I was, but I’ve come to understand that there are times when violence is warranted. Kwame Ture (FKA Stokely Carmichael) said, “Non-violence is only effective when your oppressor has a conscious.”
Existing under the current climate of the u.s. has shown us that people are quite capable of committing some of the most heinous violent acts against other people. Living among this truth — knowing that I am, along with many of you, a target of the violence — I know that there are issues that we cannot solve by sitting around a table and discussing over tea. As such, we’re finding ourselves in a time where we must consider other creative solutions. I choose to remain open to a multitude of solutions to our issues, and am willing to recognize that violence will be a part of it.
And I imagine that some folks reading this may still be thinking about how violence is never the answer, or whatever. And to you I say, you cannot expect us to endure all this violence that’s put upon us and respond in kind. Fuck that turn the other cheek nonsense.
*Note: if I’m being completely honest with myself, I do struggle with this occasionally, but I’m working on it. Reminding myself that I am just as deserving of space in this world as the rest of y’all!