I’ve been in Sarasota, Florida for about a month now. I came down here to write. I came down here to re-focus. I normally do not go places like Florida because I hear crazy racist shit happens here. Before I decided to drive 12 hours alone to get here I thought about Sandra Bland.
When I was planning my trip to Florida I was working on a play in New Jersey. During one of my morning meditation sessions something became clear to me. This is my country and I have every right to travel to every state and to be safe and protected. Plus there is an amazing meditation center here in Sarasota and I have a dear friend who I’ve reconnected with and they are in Sarasota so, I decided to just woman up and do it.
Yes, anything can can happen in this life yet I don’t have to keep myself small in order to be safe. My meditation practice has helped me to be more mindful and self-aware. I’m also paying attention to the environment I’m in, listening to my instincts and taking social cues in order to protect myself.
This morning, after my yoga practice at the beach I drove over to my favorite place to write on Siesta Key The Local Bean.
Pedestrians have the right of way so I was stopped at a cross walk allowing pedestrians to cross. After the pedestrians crossed, I realized that I needed to turn, I made a left turn, my turn signal was on, I looked before crossing.
Then some white guy on a motorcycle without a helmet screams and starts ranting at me about turning from the middle lane.
He sounded crazy. People looked at him as if he’s crazy then look at me. I take three deep breaths, as I make the turn into the parking lot and continue to breathe. I say nothing.
He moves on the street is quiet.
My instinct? My instinct was to yell back..”Who the fuck do you think you are? Don’t yell at me you fucking redneck mother fucker!” And I said it in my mind. I cussed that man out in my mind from here to next week. Yet I did not say a word or make a single reaction to him.
As a dark-skinned black woman on my own, I’ve noticed, every once in a while, random white people like to try to provoke me. I’ve noticed the power in my ability to walk away.
There is no need to have a “sassy comeback” or put them “in their place”. There is a distinct power to saying nothing…it says everything.
Traveling alone, I’m mindful. Traveling alone, I’m kind. I smile and say hello. I protect myself with love.
I do feel the anger that I have to protect myself as a woman as a black person. As “spiritual” people say oh there are no labels…that’s in your mind…bullshit. There are labels even though I do not perscribe to them and know that we all are one…the reality of the world is that there are labels.
So when I have these thoughts of anger that I’m not acting on… I have to put them out of my body somehow. Recently I’ve let it out in my writing. In the past I’ve danced it out. Here at the ocean, I let some of it out by going underwater and screaming it out and letting the mermaids and the orisha Yemeya take it for me.
My friends there is not just a single way of living in a racist society. I’ve shared just a few tools from my tool kit that I have filled with tools to be a happy black woman in a rough ass world.
If you are a black woman and have a useful tool to heal and deal the impact of living in this racist society…please share in the comments section below.
My freedom lives in my ability to control my mind and my reaction to madness. That my friends is authentic power.