Updated: an hour ago
FROM THE VAULTS (2017) - TRIGGER WARNING - Stories of trauma and a video with traumatizing images and lyrics
I'm tired of excuses and delusions. On all sides. I've lost tolerance for and interest in drawing you away from the masks you wear and the lies you tell to keep them affixed. I've lost the willingness to await your breakthrough. I don't want to argue with you about what works. You want it? Take it. Not interested? Leave. No hard feelings.
I was patient once and I met you where you were. We bantered and high-fived, I'd show videos and play music and we would hang out in a room full of hope and light. I know because I brought it with me every morning and filled the room with it. I dropped good mornings, one for every man who entered, attached to his name so he knew that he was important. The board clearly articulated the day's trajectory in various colors of Dry Erase Marker.
I was inspiring once and I poured it out for you - my inspiration, hope and love. I believed that a precious "you" was in there, behind all of the theatrics and I would wait for him to emerge. He did, time and time again. Many times I'd never see him again after he graduated. A job well done. Sometimes I would see him again. Repeatedly. Looking severely older each time and my heart would break. Just a little. I'd protect you from my disappointment by welcoming you back. I'd show videos and play music and we would hang out in a room touched by hope and light.
I'd get guest speakers and I'd proudly bring others to see where I worked. I wore a cloak of light and hope. I'd hold circle in the evening and walk away full of your desire to change and your willingness to be vulnerable. I'd bring tissue so that you could talk, in a safe place, about being molested, or talk about being illiterate. I'd hold the space and I'd pray with you before we parted. We'd connect through closed fists because I may not hold your hand. Security risk. I may not touch you or treat you like a hurting human. Security risk.
But I did. Touch you and treat you as a hurting human. I believe in the healing power of love.
I watched your face today as you morphed among so many I've seen before, like the CGI that transposes face over face over face in a rapid succession of different races, ages and genders. I heard that old tired story and watched the faces blur into generic familiarity.
I cannot see your face anymore. Or yours. I hear a hum of melancholy or entitled blame. The mountain of whys and how comes. I know so much is true about trauma and racism and poverty. I know that I may never know if I met you at a coffee shop that you've spent years in places like this. You speak well and you are funny and kind. And you steal cars. You hit your wife again, but just when you are drinking. You might walk into my house one day to steal from me and if you are frightened by me or someone else who investigates a noise, all the better. Your cortisone levels drop and your dopamine surge will rise. You may reach in your waistband and end me, because you like the thrill of not knowing - whether you will get away with it. And lives are lost and you complain of beans for dinner.
Everything is because of someone else. Everything is the fault of authority whether it's parents, the police or the president. You just keep getting the shaft. Sitting in class, you turn in no homework yet beg for a progress report without realizing that I will report your lack of progress to a judge who will make you pay for not doing what you need to do in school. This doesn't occur to you because you show up and interrupt, but you're here and isn't that enough? No, it is not enough. Effort is required. Vulnerability and effort and willingness to grow.
I was patient once, full of light and hope and ideas.
I'm deeply tired instead. Everybody's annoyed and annoying and understaffed and entitled and nobody wants to do the work to change. Folks want change for a dollar they aren't willing to spend.
This place has changed me. And isn't that what it does? Isn't that exactly the problem? I can't see you anymore. Most often you are only as a bystander, a profiled individual in an unjust system, arguing that your way of life is all you have.
Ancestors of mine did this to ancestors of yours.
Everyone is hurting. I have to bow out because my exhaustion is morphing into anger and futility that you do not deserve.
I love you.
And lives are lost.
Both Sides of the Gun DEE - 1 (Teacher and Christian Rapper)