I spent several hours last week going through the Fluid Pudding 2001-2008 archives and cutting and pasting entries into one big 650 page document. In other words, I’ve written a book. Like many books, it’s not very interesting. It’s entirely too heavy on the I Hate How I Look and entirely too light on the What Can I Do to Help You.
I’ve read more than 100 news stories and blog entries and tweets about last week’s attack on the members of the Emmanual AME Church in Charleston, and I feel sick. I’ve heard the victims’ family members offering forgiveness to the monster who killed their loved ones, and the funny thing that’s actually not so funny at all? I would not be able to forgive. I wouldn’t. I can sit here on my big blue corduroy couch and twist my WWJD bracelet around (I don’t really have a WWJD bracelet, but I DO have one of these, which is certainly close) and tell myself that I’m doing my best, but: No. I can’t forgive a killer and I can’t forgive my own silence. (What would Jesus do? I bet he wouldn’t make a fruit fly trap with vinegar and a mason jar. I bet he wouldn’t color his hair out of a box labeled Natural Black Natural. I bet he wouldn’t treat himself to an iced caramel macchiato. These are the things I’ve done in the past week. Business as usual for a middle-class white lady with edgy peaches, stubborn greys, and a lingering headache.)
Sadly, I’m like a child when it comes to sorting out my thoughts. I can see my big picture want list, but I can’t articulate my strategies on mountain climbing. (If you’ve been coming to this website for very long, you know that I’m speaking the truth.) I often have to look toward my heroes for help and guidance, and for the past several years, two of those heroes have been Kelly and Karen.
Kelly wrote Let’s Get To The Work of Anti Racism.
Karen wrote Say Something.
Please read these two articles and then read them again and then love thy neighbor. Radically. Actively. Even that neighbor down the street who you’re not so sure about. Feed them. Literally and figuratively. Express your fears and then ask if anyone needs help. And then help. And then twist your own bracelet and then do it all again. And again. Until it becomes your life. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Never be afraid to ask for help.
I hate feeling that things aren’t getting better. I hate it on a small scale, like when I have fruit flies hovering around my peaches. I hate it on a medium scale, like when I’m struggling to find freelance work. Most of all, I hate it on a hugely vital scale, like when I see people being treated inhumanely and killed for no reason other than the way they look. The color of their skin. And because I’ve walked only in my own shoes (clichés are rattlesnakes, yet I dance with them), even saying something like “I hate feeling that things aren’t getting better” feels so wide-eyed and unconscious.