Friday, June 15, 2012
We joked about being married, but not legally, so no one would give me shit about being with her in the emergency room. When the white man called Doctor reached toward her chest without her consent and told her to take her pants off while pulling the curtain around the bed and shielding her body from my gaze and my protection and my witness and my allyship, I was enraged. And when the beautiful, sweet-smelling nurse named Voronica told us she and the rest of the team were strike nurses brought in from Atlanta, I was conflicted. And when the police officer we insisted on calling "Mark," drove us to the fire station to pick up the brand new bike with the now-broken brakes, I couldn't believe how hard the seats were in the back of that police car and how unscared I was being trapped back there with the doors with no handles and how safe I felt with Mark and how unbelievable it is that I've never been arrested. I couldn't believe those hard plastic seats. So incredibly cruel. Their only imaginable purpose is to harm.
I don't know what to do with the things in the world that I can only imagine are intended to harm.
A most-likely broken tailbone. Coccyx. She kept saying that word, entertaining the doctor and nurses and police officers and EMTs (Why are the EMTs and paramedics always so much nicer than the cops? And why are cops of color always so much nicer than the white cops? Don't answer. These are rhetorical questions.) with her knowledge of anatomy and medical industrial complex processes that she pretended was absorbed through television but that I know was absorbed through a lifetime of reading, learning, thirsting, hungering for knowledge. Coccyx.
My friend is a wee bit broken. I wanted them all to have some more space for her breaking open. They ask the rote questions, they handle the bodies like meat. I understand. They handle bodies all day and all night. It would be so painful to handle them as though they were humans. They would have to feel things. (I don't know how people just casually feel things all the time.) I understand better the role of the nurse who has no room for your jokes, the doctor who reaches under your shirt without asking. Some significant and holy part must be deadened to handle the volume of trauma and sorrow and pain that their bodies are expected to handle. I think.
I think? I think some significant and holy parts of me have been deadened. I am revisiting the supposed necessity of that. Even if a system says, Deaden yourself this way to exist within me. I have no choice, often, about what systems I am participating in. But I can choose to be alive and whole and free within them. Even if they tell me not to be. Maybe that's how systemic change happens and maybe it is not. Maybe that's how individual change happens and maybe it is not. I don't know. All I know is that it is change, and I've started, and I can't stop now.
I am undeadening.