That morning I woke up in bed with my lover. Or, rather, my ex-lover, since we broke up last night.
It was several months ago that somehow passed like days that we first kissed, and I was barefoot and we were lying in the middle of the trail in a patch of poison oak that drove me crazy for weeks after but never hurt the way I hurt when I told him it was over. He met someone else and I could see right away he wasn’t there anymore, even when he was right there.
Everything can change in just a few months. I’m like a whole new person. My hair is purple now. I ride a skateboard. A couple preteen boys on BART walk past me and nod at me. They say “cool board, bro”, which immediately makes me feel like the coolest person on the train, and probably healed some emotional trauma I never knew I hadn’t dealt with from middle school.
My hips are purple too, from the bruises I got on the half pipe at the skate park, which is especially good at giving bruises because its made of cement. We were at that skatepark the first night he went home with his new lover.
Everything can change in just a few months, but some things don’t change. I wake up to news, again. Another black man has been shot by police. Alton Sterling. I wake up to news, again. Another black man has been shot by police. The day Philando Castile was shot I sat at my desk all day and couldn’t work. I just kept staring out the window, not crying, wondering why I couldn’t cry.
I watched the video of him bleeding out in his girlfriend’s lap in front of her four year old kid and I didn’t cry. I looked at the list of names, 244 people murdered by police since our first kiss on May Day, and I didn’t cry. Last week I watched Nazis stab 7 people on the steps of the state capital and I didn’t cry then either.
That night I caught a ride out to the highway and found thousands of my comrades blocking the freeway. I walked past the shattered doors of the OPD station, covered in red paint. I walked past the paint reading “fuck the pigs” and “ACAB”. I walked up the on-ramp smiling, to see thousands of people, joyous and fragile, grieving and celebrating.
The police lights kept getting closer but we stood our ground, our hands clasped together, and I felt strong and I felt joy and I felt.
And then I could cry.
I stopped writing this blog months ago. Its hard to write because its hard, sometimes, to feel and to just be with myself. But sometimes when I write its because I have to. Because there are too many feelings and because without writing them I can’t feel them. And the last time I wrote it was about Luis Gongora. Or maybe it was about Jessica Wilson. Or Mario Woods. Or Demouria Hogg. Or Eric Garner. Because every god damn time this happens I’m reminded that nothing has changed for black people in Ferguson or in New York or in Cleveland or in Oakland who are still being shot at and locked up and surveilled and evicted all the damn time.
And so all the change that I go through – the new haircuts, the new lovers, the new heartbreaks, the new jobs, the new bands – writing about any of it feels hollow because the things that NEED to change aren’t changing. Because we have been marching and rioting and going to city council meetings and writing letters and still there has been NO MEANINGFUL CHANGE since Michael Brown was executed. And how could anything else matter?
I tighten the straps on my elbow pads and push off towards the half pipe.