I think about dying every day. It’s not the type of thing I talk about—not that I like talking about myself all that much, anyway. But it’s not the type of thing that there are words for. Even if I did have the words, there aren’t ears to listen. And even if there are ears to hear, it’s not something people would understand.
I don’t want to stay alive, but I know I have to. I have to live because it is the only way I have to “protest” the injustices against people of color. I have to live because this world will not get better, and I cannot leave my black siblings surrounded by hate on all sides. I have to live because my queer black family needs know that they are not alone. I have to live for all those invisible identities that are no less real for society’s refusal or inability to see. I have to live because they will be killed. I have to live because they may kill themselves.
Can you imagine the pressure?
I don’t have hope. Not anymore. Not in this life. All my hope lies beyond the grave, and that is why I chose the skull. I choose it as my end goal, my reward. Death will be a grace, a sweet relief; it will be rest at last. And whatever they make of me, whatever dishonor or erasure that will be mine to keep, I will be safely away. Will I be asleep? I don’t know. There’s a little poem I like to say to myself.
and when I die
death and I
It’s my reminder that as much as I want to die, the best way to do it is by living well. Living a full life. Earning my rest. I will never stop fighting until death comes for me. And even then, I’m not entirely sure if I will go willingly. I don’t need to live, but other people need me to. If the world is getting worse, and if I can offer hope by living a little longer, then I will do so.
My very existence is a middle finger to norms, standards, stereotypes, labels, and categories. I am nameless. I am inconsistency. I am ambiguity. I am clarity and confusion. I am comfort and cancer. I am question, I am answer, I am dissonant resolution. I am already dead, and now I live as a restless spirit, puppeteering this broken body in a dance on Death’s grave.