not everything needs a story it’s possible to want justice without being seen as angry and you’re damned right I’m angry when our justice is perverted time and again, and again you fixate on the anger spinning a yarn about the irrational response of us ungrateful thugs
the ones you want to linger beneath the soles of your feet will be the very ones who you’ll beg to add more days onto your life. and when the Maker calls your number, I will play bailiff, executing all plans for your demise. and the difference between you and I will be that I had nothing to do with it.
make your presence known in other ways. show this world that there is so much more to living than constantly trying to flaunt your privileges in my face OR belittling me every chance you get. “when they go low, we go high,” and it must feel like shit watching angels scale the skies while you reach into your pockets for God-status and pull up lint instead
not everything needs a label it’s possible to seek solitude without being tagged as arrogant I look inward for serenity I demand airspace to be me authentically free from the box you cram to shove me in I guess I’m arrogant enough to exist in stout defiance of your weights and measures
not everything needs approval it’s possible to just want to breathe without society constricting airflow or to share life, laughter with a lover without enraging a stranger lording bizarre, anachronistic, dogmatic views I wish to seek the warmth of the sun free from fear of fatalistic reprisal because I fit some unsavory description or I love in a way that you don’t
and, I’ve watched you, watching me– you want me to be this robotic thing intent on following your lead: no disputes, no disagreements, and no opinion of my own, and losing the biggest part of me is not something I am willing to do. this frustrates you . . . it digs into places of your soul that you aren’t willing to share and I have fun witnessing your strength dwindle to mere nothingness since it feeds off hate. ***
This is a collaboration with my homie and long-time collaborator, Barry. Please, visit his blog and enjoy his genius mind.
I did not budge. I was not going to call the cops because I have a fear of them now that cannot be described. I do not feel protected. I do not feel served. I would rather not have my mom and best friend collect my body from a holding cell at my local precinct because my conscience would not shut up.
But I listened . . .
I was having a relaxing bath, soaking my aching leg, while reading and it happened . . . A door slammed. Her trembling voice followed. His shortly after. It shook me awake from my jump into another world and I instantly knew what this was — an argument. My walls shook from the second slam of a door.
The bathroom walls are paper-thin. I silently prayed, “Lord, whatever is about to happen, please don’t let it be something that will make me call the cops.” My new neighbors found themselves in a twisted situation and this place is not kind to those disturbing the peace, but while things played out, it sounded as though they may have needed this to happen.
That may be an ass-backward statement, but what I mean by this is perhaps this thing could be the defining factor of their relationship — of if there will be a relationship after tonight. A woman’s voice when rattled can break you. If you have any peace in your spirit, you will feel every word falling from her lips.
“IF YOU WANT TO BE WITH ME, THEN SHOW ME!”
She was cry-shouting at him and she said this over and over again and I felt my heartbeat quicken and my hands began to shake. I had not been around a couple arguing in years and this stirred up a fear in me that I forgot existed. I wanted to cry, I felt like I was about to cry, but his voice powered through . . .
“I MOVED HERE FOR YOU!”
She did not back down. She yelled her testimony to him. She made her reasons known and the back and forth of it came right back to her original statement, “If you want to be with me, then show me!” He said something that made me cringe — that made me want to jump out of the tub, throw on some clothes, grab my steel bat, and call my cousins to let them know what was up, but I remembered who I am. It still did not stop me from tearing me apart when he said, “I AM A GROWN MOTHERFUCKIN’ MAN. I DON’T HAVE TO SHOW YOU SHIT.”
There was quiet. It became too quiet. The kind of quiet that shows itself right before the main event and I thought, “I have to make sure he does not hit her, that she does not attack him.” I had to wait it out. I know what a blow to the head sounds like by a closed fist. Or, how a back cracks when it’s slammed against a wall. I grew up in a home where violence was the frontrunner for many years until it was not. I had to be sure they did not physically hurt one another. But verbally . . .
The damage had been done.
It passed, like a storm . . . Like a kidney stone punching through one’s bowels shoving its way into the light. A mellow tune played, what sounded like another door gently closing introduced itself, and the night began to feel safe again.
I wonder if she will gather her things, relocate to wherever she ran away from, or if she will stay loyal — glued to his side. I wonder if he will step it up. If he will try harder, if he even needs to. I wonder if they know just how thin the bathroom walls are and how afraid I had gotten hoping and praying that I did not have to call the cops.
There will be that awkward meeting when we pass each other in the morning. That brief, knowing smile or head nod. No one will mention a thing and we will go on like it never happened. But I will look at her and I will know that her heart is breaking.
Author’s Note: Sometimes, it doesn’t even take words for someone to know how you truly feel about them. It may be the way they look at you, the way they interact with you, or the way they’ve cut you down before you can even have a chance to rise above any occasion. Some people like to measure you without knowing you and that’s a hurt that has no name.
Sara is an incredible young one and has been along this ride in A Cornered Gurlsince I made the announcement to open it up to all Writers on Medium this past January. She is also a Young Mind of Medium and she and I have collaborated over the last three years on three projects and with each piece, I learn a bit more from her. To answer July’s challenge, Sara shared a letter she wrote for her boss who would be leaving her place of work to experience new endeavors. He was her inspiration.
In Goodbye (Well, Technically), Sara shows exactly why it is important to let those who inspire us know it. She shares her heart and she does it without being overly emotional. She is incredibly sound in her work and this is an indicator of that. And here, we have it–the reason for her feature:
Goodbye (Well, Technically) Young Minds of Medium Inspiration Call
The greatest boss I will ever know has left. Here’s to you, boss.
Hey (well, now former) Boss,
I didn’t say much when you dropped the bomb that you were leaving, but I know that what I’m thinking and writing deserves some sunlight.
When you said you didn’t want to put our jobs in jeopardy I understood how much of a role model you’ve been to me. I may not understand the entirety of the drama you were involved in, but I have an understanding of the sacrifices you made for your family and us. I have always trusted that you would make the right decisions for yourself, and that trust hasn’t faltered.
Since you’re no longer a constant factor at work, there are some secrets and “thank you’s” I would love to disclose. For starters, during my interview, I faked all of it. I had tried to look up some potential interview questions that would have done better elsewhere, but I magically came up with answers, like in an SAT-pick-the-best-option kind of way, and prayed that they were the ones you were hoping for. I was super lucky and started working the next week.
Hilariously enough, I never thought I would end up in childcare; I used to think that I would never want to work with kids. The only reason I applied to work here was because I didn’t want to work in a bank, which was what my mom had suggested since she made the same move as a young adult. Now that I want to stay for as long as possible, I realize how wrong I was about kids. So as my first “thank you”, thank you for giving me a chance. I definitely don’t think I made the strongest first impression, but you were still willing to take me in, and now I realize I’m better at talking to kids more than adults.
I haven’t turned into my mom in a lot of ways, but when it comes to working through conflicts I have only seen my mom yell so I came into this job with the same tactic. However, I’ve always known that I don’t want to be that way. After seeing you work your magic, your modeling has meant everything to me, and I continually impress myself with how much I’ve improved at talking. Thank you for pulling me out of that rut and for showing me what communication should look like.
Of course, my next “thank you” goes to last year, and I know you know what I’m talking about. I don’t think I ever thanked you properly for helping me keep my head above water, and that was wrong of me. I admit that at some point I contemplated quitting because dealing with the stress was like trying to contain a tsunami in a container, and the uncertainty of how long it would last was an overwhelming thought. It was a test of our emotional resilience and we both came out on top. Thank you for believing me even when I didn’t believe myself. Thank you for being there, for listening, and thank you for staying. I had a small idea of what you were dealing with on your end, and I’m sorry you had to deal with it, too. But seriously, thank you . . . Just thank you.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had and heard a lot of thoughts on everything that has happened and despite it all, I am positive that you will find something else in which to excel. There is a legacy you’ve stamped on this place and none of us want to erase it. It will be impossible not to compare the new director to you; the new guy has impossible shoes to fill. Thank you for working with us, for sticking it out as long as you did. For you, we will remain resilient.
Finally, there’s something else you’ve said that I have remembered: if you could sleep at night, then you knew you made the right decision. I’ve decided if you can sleep at night, then so can I.
Thank you for always reminding us that we’re the ones with the ball in our court, I wish you the best of luck in everything!