As we grieve Tyre Nichols, we’re reminded that anti-Blackness was never intended for us to feel safe. This grief can be overwhelming, and a common response is dissociating from our bodies or hyper-policing how we allow ourselves to show up.
This is a historical pattern.
When discussing enslavement, we might ask, “Why didn’t all enslaved Africans run away?” It’s likely many wanted to but didn’t because they witnessed the cruelty done to other runaways upon recapture, ranging from public torture and humiliation to death.
To cope psychologically, enslaved Africans likely dissociated their minds from their bodies, or worked hard to be seen as “good.”
Which parts of their spirits did they kill just to survive?
Generations later, we’re faced with similar coping mechanisms as we witness ongoing killings of community members by police.
But there’s one coping mechanism we must hold on to. The same one we can use to honor Tyre.
“Free” is how we should live. We can’t control police’s corruption, but we can choose to not police ourselves and live as unapologetically, deliciously free as possible. What does freedom feel like for you?
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