but we don’t see her enough.
to know she’s not stronger than steel
that super-human shit is made for TV
but made for real life
but we don’t hear ourselves enough.
screams are muted by stereotypes and assumptions
that swallow and misunderstand our words
when they are not softly-spoken
making us feel foreign
in our own damn land
we belong here
because we belong everywhere
but we are not present enough.
forced, always, to think ahead
and defend ourselves
to think back
and protect ourselves
at the hands of people we love
sometimes at our own hands
because being black when the world sees you as all wrong
is like a degenerative disease
with an expensive ass cure
our sadness is not a pathology
we are not pathological
please pay attention to our/my/their pain
please let me/us/them know they matter
I never thought I would live to be the age that I am. It wasn’t just sadness and lack that convinced me, it was the utter disregard for who I was in the world. I never thought that anyone would give a damn that I was gone or miss me. I imagined relief at the news. I imagined indifference. Finally, that little black girl is not taking up any more space in the world.
Suicide happens because death feels preferable to living. It doesn’t mean I’m crazy, it means I’m human, it means that I hurt, it means that I matter. Blackgirls need reassurance, love, affirmation, understanding, quiet, noise, Jesus, Allah, themselves, to be, our mamas, our sister-girls, lovers, time, enough money to get by, for our biologicals to bother, to be chosen, to be recognized, to be celebrated, to be held up on a pedestal barefoot and proud, to be told relentlessly and unapologetically that we are beautiful, to be listened to, to be heard, a space to fall apart, a space to be put back together again, help, justice, truth, to know they matter.
When you see a blackgirl, smile. She is a gift to the world.
When you hear a blackgirl speak, listen. She is a gift to the world.
When you are in the presence of a blackgirl, look. She is a gift to the world.
Blackgirls matter. Those of us who breathe and those of us no longer breathing.
In Loving Memory of Karyn Washington, and other blackgirls we have lost. Please use the comments section to call the names of other blackgirls we have lost too soon.