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  • Nicole (Johnson) Williams

11. Simply Can't Find the Words...

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

2020 - A Black Family in America

We are not a threat

What do you say when the world is on fire? As a mother? As a lover? As an artist? As a Black woman born in America? What words exist to comb through the gamut of thoughts/feelings in these frighteningly undetermined times...

What do you say on social media that hasn't already been said. I scroll through my timeline usually early in the morning or late at night (when I typically have the most free time). I read what my friends, family, and colleagues write about how the world is impacting their lives. Most of which resonates deep with me. I admire them for their grace and eloquence. I simply can't find the words...

Sometimes I feel afraid. Like, deep down to my bones afraid. But fear won't save us, so I won't rest there.

What do I say as the mother of two beautiful Black children? When I open my mouth, I want to sob. An uncontrontrolable, snotty, sweaty, ugly, deep, agonizing sob. A Margaret Garner kind of sob. The type of sob that paralyzes all other thoughts with notes of sorrow, fear, and exhaustion. I simply can't find the words...

Sometimes I feel tired. Like, down to my bones tired. Fatigued, I'd say, and rightfully so. But tired won't save us, so I won't rest there.

And what do I say to the Father of my children? How do I protect him? How do I support him? The thought that, by being born a Black man in America, he fits the description of whatever crime deserves execution tonight (according to the Boys in Blue); do I brace myself for the worst every time he steps out the door? A little sigh of relief every time he returns home to us, safe and sound. Safe. Sound (synonymous: Undamaged; Uninjured; Unimpaired; Substantial; Strong; Sturdy; Durable; Stable; Intact; WHOLE.) To know that there is no guarantee, I simply can't find the words...

Sometimes I feel lost. Lost enough to sit down, make camp, and see if it'll pass. But lost won't save us, so I won't rest there.

In an artists' household, how does one feel secure in a time like this? As artists who rely on the experience and intimacy of studio work and stage performance as opposed to the showmanship associated with online platforms, how do you get back to "home base"? How do you find work? How do you pay your bills? What will theatre style performance look like on the other side of Corona? Is our "freedom" slowly being slid out from beneath us as we continue to rely on government aid to provide for ourselves and our families? If so, how do we prepare? What do we do? How do we fight? So many questions; I simply can't find the words...

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Breaking the surface only to be taken back down by the current time and time again. But overwhelmed won't save us, so I won't rest there.

Female. Woman. Sistah. Mama. Mother... Earth. GOD.

I take all of this in. The lockdown, the brutality, the violence, the lies, the dependance, the uncertainty, the frustration. I do the best I can with the gifts I've been given. I count my blessings. Living as a citizen in a country I've never been an equal part of... I simply can't find the words... Knowing that all the sacrifice and education that promised a "safer" and "more fair" life for the Black man or woman in America was all a farce - as we continue to live in poverty, as second class citizens, and in jeopardy of death by police at any given moment; I simply can't find the words...

The passion, history, pain, beauty, possibility, sobriety, and urgency. I sit still for a moment and take it all in. I rest in it. I absorb it. Let it speak to me. I sit still and let it all run through me like water. I ground myself. I open my eyes. Then I move.

I pray for peace, guidance, and wisdom as we navigate what is certain to echo across the nation until the end of time.

Sometimes I simply can't find the words... There are times where we all feel afraid, exhausted, lost, and overwhelmed. In those times, rest if you will, but don't you quit! I'm praying for you! Don't give up and DO NOT be paralyzed by fear.

In the end, I believe the fear of what COULD happen is nowhere as strong as what I manifest for this life. So I choose to live it. Embrace it. Listen for God, and GO.

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