The Weight of Waiting.

I’ve had writer’s block before, this isn’t it. What do I say to not rehash & trigger the moms that know? What do I say to the moms that genuinely don’t know without them feeling the problem is too large to tackle?

I thought, do I wait? Is this adding to the weight? The weight of knowing the skin that we are in is a death sentence. Death inevitable yes, yet often ours is accompanied by cruelty.

Can this even be happening right now? Amid COVID ’19 quarantining, food shortages, homeschooling, summer camp prepping, we continue to see lynchings as if we are in 1940’s Georgia. But wait, haven’t we always had this weight? As the world collectively mourned 9/11, we were still in mourning for Amadou Diallo.

It is all over social media and the news. Quick, take away the girls’ devices. Now what’s next? The curiosity of children always finds it’s way to discovery. I remember reading everything I could get my hands on. That was, until the day, I grabbed a JET magazine and found the Emmett Till article. Although the murder took place in 1955 the realization that a death like that could still occur was not lost on me. That realization was reenforced with the beating of Rodney King in 1991. The swollen faces so unrecognizable to their former selves yet so similar to each other and the collective weight, the weight of being Black. 

Wait, don’t break down in front of the girls. Swallow the desire to beg Corey to stay home because you want him to be safe.

I need to know what’s going on but I can’t watch it. I can’t hear another man saying “I CAN’T BREATHE.”. The cops with their hands in their pockets while they waited, waited for him to die. It is said that George Floyd cried out for his mother who had transitioned years before. Many believe that cry awakened the Ancestral Mothers.

The people have taken to the streets. WE CAN’T WAIT! What exactly should we be waiting for, an election? An election as if we elected to be black? Are we waiting for others to watch someone leave their physical form at the hands or should I say the knees of another man to finally feel the weight? No, not the weight of our oppression but what about the weight of their guilt?

I find the fires comforting. An outward illustration of the inward pain. Fire purifies and what remains is refined. Could we start over? Do we even want to?

A dear friend’s daughter started walking. She is growing in leaps and bounds but I wish she would wait. What is she walking into? 

I daydream of segregation. Not out of hatred but out of exhaustion. Just to be able to move freely without purses being clinched and cops being called. Daydreaming helps relieve the weight.

Ella wants to protest. Her words too heavy. Were our nightly whispers while watching citizen journalism too loud? Did the buzz of comparing the search for true unbiased journalism to publications of the past like “Negro World” sting her too?

Ava is ready to fight. Fight for freedom. Freedom? In 2020 at 16yrs old while living in the self-proclaimed “Land of the Free”. I can’t let her go. She tries another angle. “Mom, when can I take my driver’s exam?”. “Wait.” I tell her, “Just wait.” I blame COVID because I can’t tell her that the death of Sandra Bland still haunts me. Sandra’s lifeless mugshot and the dialogue between her and the officers. Ava would ask those same questions. I now hate myself for telling her to always ask questions. “If you don’t understand something, why wait?” “Make sure to ask in real-time and take notes, copious notes.”

An important application came in the mail the other day. An application that could change the course of our lives. Something we’ve waited for, but I can’t fill it out. The plain manilla envelope is so heavy. I check the stamps..really I would’ve thought it needed more for that weight.

Summer is coming, we’ve started a garden. It brings me closer to my father, who I miss beyond measure. He would somehow walk us through this. Sadly, he had a lifetime of George Floyd like losses. 

My father loved to garden. Growing up in the projects of The Bronx he could never imagine having one.”You eat what you grow”. I miss Ava in the garden picking tomatoes off the vine and eating them like the fruits they are. Maybe bringing about life will ease the weight of death?

I see Gigi Floyd’s face when I close my eyes just as I did Sybrina Fulton, Erica Gardner, and Mamie Till before. Watching something die inside of the living…that weight. 

I can hear well-wishers say it now “Just wait, with time, the pain will hurt a little less. Just wait, in time things will be better.”

I’ve had writer’s block before this isn’t it.

24 thoughts on “The Weight of Waiting.”

  1. Nicole you’ve painted such a vivid picture in your writing. You are so talented. It really touched me how a baby beginning to walk sparked your concern for her future. Such a valid point of what type of world she is walking into. I can’t wait for you to share your voice with the entire world. I BELIEVE YOU ARE A GREAT VOICE OF OUR TIME. Mark my words😘😘😘✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿

  2. “We are only given a certain amount of time to do what we were sent here to do. You don’t have to be around a long tim to share the wisdom of a lifetime. You just have to use your time wisely, efficiently. There is no time to waste.”

    -Mamie Till-Mobley

    1. Thank you so much for reading. It’s absolutely a weight we fee in my home. I wanted anyone who’s feeling this to know they are not alone.

  3. Dominique Mohansingh

    This piece brought me to tears. It expressed so many emotions that I have not been able to find the words for. So many thoughts I have on a daily basis.. thoughts I know my mom has. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable with us.. and for being a voice for so many who also may not be able to find the words to describe how we are all feeling right now. Love you!

    1. Thank you for reading. I wrote this because we often carry this collective word & give each other the head nod. It’s time for us to speak, heal & act. Love you this life & beyond.

  4. This is so deep and powerful! Such an accurate description of a black mother’s thoughts right now. I hate having the conversations that we have been having lately but they have to be had for proper preparation of our children when they leave our doors and go into the “land of the free”. It hurts having to explain it doesn’t apply to them and giving them the reason “why” which isn’t a valid reason AT ALL. Thank you for this!

    1. Thank you so much for reading. As mothers we have to be here for each other. We must find a way to make it so we are the last generation of mothers to carry this weight.

    1. Thank you for reading. I was choking on the words & almost drowning in thought so I knew I had to put them down. We are in this together 💕 Thank you for sharing.

  5. Jennifer Roman

    Powerful words during a powerful time in history. Keep the message flowing! This is what we need!

  6. Wow!!!!!! This was real, raw and authentic. The way you told this story… it was as if I was watching a movie. So descriptive to where I can Envision every moment you mentioned and seen it play out. Could be the fact that you are family and I know You but it was too real. A testament to your writing skills… and honestly a block you should have never encountered! Powerful and moving and most importantly NEEDED!!!! .😘❤️

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