Hey. Wake up.
Wake up! We were not born blind.
We were not born…what?
We were born with eyes that see through the backs of our heads, eyes that swivel round in our skulls and look past the curvature of time. But somewhere along the way They gave us frosted glasses that turned everything hazy.
Who are They?
I don’t know. The Man, or Society, or the gremlins in our heads. It doesn’t matter who They are.
Listen. Our souls know what we used to see. Our souls know in that funny way that souls do, that prickle on the back of the neck way, that nagging pull in the belly way. Our souls know the world is bigger than They tell us.
Yes? Say it.
And yet we feel as though the walls are closing in. When we see one of our own do well we’re filled with fierce pride followed by a pang of sadness because now that she’s done it, we can’t.
We wish we didn’t feel that way. We wish we didn’t think, “There’s already one of us doing that. Better try something else.” We wish we didn’t bend and twist and try to find new spaces because all the other ones are taken. We wish we didn’t think there was only room for one barrier-breaker.
Yes? Say it.
And yet stories are infinite. If every soul that had ever lived had told a thousand tales, there would still be room for more. We know this. We know it in our blood. We know there can never be too many.
But our minds see closing doors and barred windows because, despite #BlackGirlMagic, in the cramped quarters of the real world Black Girl can only do so much. “We like you, but we’ve filled our diversity quota. Maybe next time. Keep trying.”
Keep trying? No, thank you. You had your chance to dance with us and now we’re moving on.
We don’t want to feel small anymore. We don’t want to drink the potion. We want to remember that opportunity is just a word.
Yes. Yes. Walls are imaginary. We don’t need anyone to give us a chance, a leg up, a stamp of approval. We can make our own opportunities. We can be our own champions. Magicians don’t ask for permission to shine. Whoever They are, we can dance dizzy circles around Them on Their best days. Why do we cower and grovel as if we haven’t learned how to wield our gifts?
Ah, how we wish we could be that fearless! That certain. We wish we didn’t let those frosted lenses trip us up. We wish we didn’t lose the knowledge of our self-worth somewhere between leaving the desk and reaching the door.
We ARE fearless. We are certain.
We are blind…
Yes. But here’s the thing about glasses: we can take them off. Wake up! We were not born blind.