As a woman there are those days in my cycle just a few days before menstruation where I’m just flat out of it. And this morning was one of those days. My 5am Morning Ritual alarm went off and I was going nowhere. Just nowhere. Even at 7am I still didn’t want to rise but I did. And I was annoyed at the white guy sitting next to me in the outside seat of a two-seater. I was annoyed even as I listened to music and played Color switch. A couple of times I just turned and burned a hole in the side of his face because he was moving around so damn much because apparently he needed his seat and a part of mine as well.
When I switched trains I pushed through a bunch of people, you know the ones who insist on crowding at the door when there’s a fucking sprawling emptiness in the center of the car? I said excuse me the whole time. I even said excuse, me can I get to the center of the car just so they would know why they were being shoved aside. And it took all my energy to recompose myself and not feel bad for doing that.
And then when I got to work, my supervisor tries me by asking a gentleman who I was in deep conversation with if we could do anything to help him! As if he was not employed (he is one of the primary mail carriers in the building,) as if he was a threat. And as if she had not seen me talking and laughing with him tens of times before at the reception desk over the last year!
That made me angry. But quickly and with a smile on my face I said to her “Oh we’re just talking.” And then turning to her with a smile ” What do you want?” She told me what she needed. I complied and went back to talking with my friend.
It takes so much for me to bury my reactions to what I know to be the the treatment of Black men as threats even in situations where they are submissive, kind, polite, compliant and well mannered. I see it happen all the time and it fucks with me. It gives me flashes of what slavery and post slavery must of been like and I experience pangs of post traumatic slavery syndrome that I really don’t want any part of but which I know I can no longer distance myself from. And my buffer is non-existent. I hate that I have to protect a Black mans right to be having a conversation with me. I hate that I have to pretend to be okay working with people who feel like their good intentions are enough to excuse the same morally ambiguous behavior that they themselves complain about. I know I cannot resolve this through anger. I know my emotions are running high because my cycle is generating those hormones that make me extra sensitive. So I take a moment to feel my feelings and then try to do something that makes me smile.
I will not be getting up late tomorrow though, I can tell you that much.