I am not a political activist - and this post will probably come across as an act of political activism.
I am an educator and a licensed psychotherapist. I am an author and I host two podcasts, but yet I recede from political conversations because of my own internalized fear and ignominy. I struggle with the "imposter syndrome" many of us are accustomed to.
There are times when I track down that I can no longer sit quietly with my thoughts; or be satisfied with my rants to my partner, therapist, or friends. There are times when I must speak. This is one of those times.
I identify as an African American, gay male from the Deep South and I was raised to keep my mouth shut. I learned by scrutinizing that being black meant I was inferior than; being gay meant I was condemned to hell; and being poor meant I would never excel. These are lasting impressions, even if they have all been proven wrong.
But, I retaliated against the internal voice that urges me not to speak - the frightened internal child fearful of being punished. But I need to speak about the injustices in the world I see. I fight back against the fear because there are those who have found my voice to be one of solace and strength, and I owe it to myself and those who can't speak, to at least try. To try my best at articulating what shatters my heart; what frightens me; and what infuriates me to the depths of my soul.
I'll start with the death of Charleena Lyles in Seattle, WA, my current home. Truth is I don't watch the news or follow many news outlets on social media; the influx of negativity sears my brain, and dampens my mood. I learned of Charleena’s death via Facebook. I was in shock. I asked myself, "Is this in Seattle? It can't be." Was I now living in crazy town? I gathered more information. I became irate and consequently sad, with each piece of information. I couldn't understand why the police would shoot anyone, let alone a woman, even if she had a knife, which may not even be true.
How is it that the police do not know how to deescalate a situation like this? I am a mental health provider and having my roots in agency work, we are taught, at the very least, basic de-escalation skills - wouldn't the police be taught even more? And then I thought of her babies. I thought of the three who witnessed her death and the one she was pregnant with when she died. The police killed a mother and her child. How would these children ever convalesce from this tragedy? They won't, at least not fully. They will hold a piece of that day and the moments after till the day they die - it's the nature of trauma.
I. Am. Disgusted. I. Am. Angry. This is an injustice. This is one of many. There are so many I can't keep track.
I told a room full of people today, I feel like I am being retraumatized every time an injustice occurs. A black mother dies and I think of all the beautiful black mothers I know, including mine, some with mental illness, and I fear for their lives.
I hear Bill Cosby, an admitted sexual predator, gets a mistrial and I recall my own sexual assaults as a teenager and as an adult. I feel sad and become disconnected.
I remember sitting in the police station in October 2017, when I finally came forward and revealed the name of my abuser, after 18 years of therapy and five years of 12 step recovery, only to hear that in the state of Georgia the age of consent is 16 and I was 16 when he groomed me and molested me, so no crime committed and even if I had been 15, the statute of limitations would have long expired. So hearing Bill getting to go free, until the retrial, makes me sick to my stomach. He told the truth about his sick, sadistic treatment of women and a jury couldn't agree to convict him. What the actual fuck?
I think our justice system is royally fucked up and needs to be completely overhauled. No way should a man be allowed to sexually molest a 16 yr old and get away with it, nor should a man be able to drug and rape women and walk free. It's disgusting. And police are exonerated, majority of the time, when they gun down unarmed black men and women. This is all so unreal. But there is more.
And to top it off, it took the mainstream media weeks to talk about the gay men being held in concentration camps in Chechnya, and now the conversation has died down.
What, you didn't know? I recently told some colleagues about it and they had no clue. I'm not surprised, if you don't.
The men are still being held against their wills and are reportedly being tortured and killed. What else needs to happen? As a gay man, this fucking scares me. Just because it's not happening in America right now, doesn't mean that it can't.
I don't know if I ever feel safe anymore.
I live in a racist, homophobic, right-winged, capitalist society where anyone can take my rights, violate them and me, and walk away with no regrets.
As a gay, black man in America, I am tired of the injustices; the pain so many of us suffers. But the truth is this, tomorrow I have to get up and go to my private practice and help people heal from all the things I have mentioned, and I have to do so, because someone has to, and my healing has been happening for a lot longer, so I am able, it's just that the pain resurfaces every so often, and then I have to ramp up my own internal work.
I have to show up and do my part to help my client so they know someone cares even when it seems like the world doesn't.
I will keep fighting for those without a voice, and while I am, my voice will become stronger. So maybe I am a political activist?!
Thank you for listening.
This entire website is about me. I think you know just about everything you could ever possibly want to know. If not, here goes: