It is 7 am and I am sitting pool side in Miami with a hot cup of American coffee. My kids have narrowly escaped storm Stella’s proposed 18″, with mostly an icing hitting the city. Yesterday, they remained cartoon drunk, and today, they return to school. That is New York.
I’ve been away from my computer for a week, and I am currently writing this from one I borrowed from the hotel’s front desk. My purple journal with the coffee stains and lipstick smudges, has been glued to my side the past week. What I thought would give way to new ideas, kept churning over the same sentiment; The Personal Is Political. I want to hold it near, not type it out on these pages. I want to respect the request that some of you anonymously made; refrain from discussing politics.
I’ve marinated on this, I’ve been leaning on the ear of my husband, who knows me in and out. He knows my heart and what keeps me up at night. He knows the weight of responsibility I carry to the majority of you that may also be affected by the new regime. And if by some strange chance he doesn’t fully understand, I do…
I know the many of you who I’ve had had the opportunity to meet on the street, confiding in me your truth and the parallels of our lives. I know the young girls, who often let me know how reading this space has given them a different sense of hope, and how they are looking forward to pushing boundaries and just doing whatever makes them happy. I know the young lady who cried and hugged me, and left me completely awe-struck and loved in the middle of The Met’s Egyptian Hall . Not because I make family-life look awesome, or I dress weird or even cool, but because these words and essays, and heart-felt truths that I share, are more real for many of you than I ever imagined. I know me, and I know them, and that outweighs any fears I have about discussing politics in this space.
Once, when all of this was happening, someone posted that social media isn’t the space for political discussions, under the basis that nothing is changed that way, and real face -to-face conversations, serve people better. While I agree that we must continue face-to-face conversations, I disagree, that you must dismiss the the social ones. As the days have moved into weeks. Weeks, into months, I wholeheartedly believe these are the kinds of excuses people of influence tell themselves so that they remain out of the conversation. I get it. By refusing to discuss, it doesn’t risk our jobs, and our followers who may be bigoted, racist, xenophobic, you name it, remain comfortable in our presence. It keeps all of these groups satisfied. So in-turn, it keeps our wallets satisfied as well. If I’m going to get paid to discuss products, and depend on you to help provide our very comfortable lives, it is also my belief that I must speak to all parts of you. The difficult and the easy. The lifestyle and the political. It is easy to stay on the public eye of comfort, rather than that of solidarity and discourse. Dangerous even.
With a held breath and a slight prayer, I read Grace Bonney’s interview with Illustrated Impact, and was completely relieved and inspired to read her raw and honest words about the many mistakes women bloggers (specifically, white women) make when they do not address the world in which they work. It gave me the nudge I needed as a women of color, to be honest about my personal beliefs about those sorts of beliefs.
My personal fears lie not in the business of making others feel too comfortable, but in being boxed in as another “black girl” yelling about injustice. Inadvertently, costing me jobs, and as a result, costing my family their own well-being. But on the grandest scale, I look back at the many movements that took place before me, the ones where black people often gave up their comfort, their wages, and their safety to fight for justice, and I find an easy ground for reasoning. So as I release the block of comfort holding me back from discussing politics in this space, I ask that you also get uncomfortable. Read the words of others, open your minds and hearts, join a local action group, get involved in politics. The personal is political.