I’ve been on edge lately. Getting older is an awesome process because on one hand — you understand how lucky you are to keep welcoming the years as they come and go.
But, there’s the other stuff that isn’t so great.
I won’t bore you with my roster of gripes — but I will admit that the last couple of months have tested my ability to end the day with a smile.
My relationship ended after it was clear that we both didn’t see a future together. I love him still — but I love me more.
I’ve been navigating the job market with guarded fervor as every turn is paved with promise until the light dims to nothingness.
The racial palaver that never went away and has instead resurfaced like a sphinx dipped in blue — is giving me a lot of grief.
Especially as we recognize the one year anniversary of Sandra Bland.
She was found dead in her cell and all I can think of is that — if I had been in her situation — I would be dead too.
When people say I look way younger than my age — I respond with gratitude and a smile. I’m not aiming to trap my youth because those days are gone.
I respect the ritual of enjoying the different stages of life — even if things aren’t aligned accordingly.
What I can’t tolerate is the way the world works.
Everywhere. People are proving the theory that we honestly don’t give a shit about each other.
We wear it like a badge of honor. There’s no need to hide your bigotry or lack of compassion because it’s so much cooler to be publicly disgusting towards your fellow humans.
So, in this age of racial assault — I am forced to join my fellow people of color in the artful quest of functioning under consistent duress.
I have my good days and bad.
One of those days saw me flailing like a middle-aged woman on the verge of collapse.
It happened while returning underwear at Ross — The Department Store. I grabbed a handful for my emergency stash — but when I got home — I noticed that there was a snafu.
I headed back the next day. I needed them to remove the security device.
I imagined it would be a quick transaction. They were clearly negligent — but hey, mistakes happen.
I ended up selecting a better option and I walked with brisk confidence to the checkout area — ready to make the exchange and bounce.
It turned out to be a trap.
The sales rep returned my smile but examined my receipt a little too closely for my liking. It was as if I had presented her with a foreign document to transcribe.
After she was done scaling the evidence — she walked over to her supervisor for clarification.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
I was tossed into the crossfire of ridiculous proportions as I tried to make sense of the fact that I was being berated for asking to switch an item that was missing a tag — for another pair that was devoid of the attachment it didn’t need in the first place.
I was already pissed off that my receipt underwent such serious vetting — but to be told that removing the tags automatically vetoed the right to bring back my purchase — that I can’t utilize anyway — because it’s being held captive by a security clamp — was like a slap across the face.
I lost my bearings.
These hectic days aren’t ideal for impromptu confrontations. I was forced to cut my hair off because my hairstylist lied to me and I was feeling self-conscious. Not to mention my emotional console that was on sheer overload.
They were calling me out for removing the tags of an item that cost $6.99!
I let out a rebel yell for justice.
As I spoke my mind and introduced them to the basics of customer service — I was fully aware of the people around me.
I was talking to the employees but looking at everyone else as if they were certified witnesses.
Peep this shit!
These women are telling me that because I took the tags off of this pair of underwear — exchanging them for something else is a courtesy that extends past the norm.
Even though they fucked up by bypassing the device that prevented me from wearing what I bought.
The louder I got — the more infuriated I was with how my voice vibrated within the space I was holding hostage.
It was an out of body experience.
I was livid on behalf of the ones who spoke their minds and lost their lives in the process.
My elevated stance eventually forced a truce and the audience watched me get what I wanted and walk out victorious.
I didn’t feel like a winner.
I was embarrassed and sore from all the drama. I was the lead in a performance that I never wanted to star in.
Much like Sandra Bland. She was forcibly cast in the role of a lifetime. And in the end — she dies.
I’m a sensitive Black woman with a short Afro and a disposition that can apparently be easily rattled by unexpected bullshit.
I freaked out. It freaked me out. I’m American. I’m human.