Today? I’ve Got Nothin’

Back in the day, before everything was terrible, I wrote about politics. Often. If the 2008 iteration of The Skinny Black Girl still existed, you’d see my gushing Millennial love letters to Barack Obama and the world he wanted to build. He caught me at just the right time. Twenty-five. The granddaughter of a Selma, Alabama native who moved to Cleveland in the 1940s for a better life. A recent graduate of one of the oldest HBCUs in the nation, raised on A Different World and The Fresh Prince,[1] with a full-throated belief in Black Excellence. I’d seen Roots. Watched hours of PBS’s Eyes on the Prize in freshman lit class (taught by a real life Freedom Rider). Sat stunned and wrecked in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina as the U.S. government abandoned people who looked like me.

But on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, I thought America was done breaking my heart.

I didn’t understand history yet. Trained by good old American “the good guys win in the end” mythology and MLK’s “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” (a fucking bar, Dr. King), I thought progress was destiny. Neat and linear. That humanity learned from its mistakes and didn’t move backward.

I won’t berate myself (or anyone) for hoping and believing back then. As cynical as I am, I still think the world changes when hope meets effective strategy. I will say I never imagined I’d wake up fourteen years later to the news of the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade.

I knew in 2018, when I called my gynecologist for a consultation two days after Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court. I felt a deep sense of relief on the operating table as I went under for my voluntary salpingectomy. I had the final say. No one would force me to carry and birth a child I did not want. I was safe.

Today, millions of women are not.

I don’t talk about politics anymore. I am no one of note. You do not need my “take” on what went wrong or who’s to blame because — quite frankly — the empire is crumbling.[2] Shouting as debris rains from the sky is a waste of time.

I don’t have a neat, American ending for you. No “here’s what we do next” or urgent calls for action. I am thankful for the hopers, believers, and change agents of the world, but am not one of them. If you’re a doer and not a “shake bloody fists at the sky-er” you’ll figure out how to be of service. By the end of the week, I’ll probably be ready to do the same.

Today? I’ve got nothing.


[1] We don’t mention that other 90s black TV show here. And yes, He Who Shall Not be Named produced A Different World but this is less an act of morality and more seeing him creeps me the fuck out.

[2] Pluto returns. Wild shit.

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