To exhale is an amazing feeling. An intense need to release is human. Our bodies want to feel real. The painful trauma of watching George Floyd’s need for breath haunts me. It took the breathe out of me. Thinking of “I. Can’t. Breathe.”
Being me, a black female of Haitian descent, there are times where I must remind myself to breathe. Though I could tell you the scientific and anatomical methods we breathe, I’m not. The emotional toll of injustice in the country is hard to live through especially when it is your own. Every day feels like a new tragedy, another brother or sister murdered in cold blood and there is no justice for them nor their family. It’s like you almost have to talk yourself out of getting justice because the system tends to diminish our struggle. You can’t breathe in the systems and institutions that make it difficult to breathe.
It makes me numb and hurts to my core. I think of all the people I love who are black. I have a black brother and a black father. It is hard to see them walk out the door. You pray they make it home safely and when they come home, I exhale.
Today, I was shaking when I came home and saw the television on the Derek Chauvin Trial. My body felt a whiplash of anxiety. Nothing can prepare you for a verdict. No matter how many times I tried to calm down, my heart and soul was scared. Chest hurt, pit in my stomach. It’s the stuff that makes you still and unable to function.
But Justice came in that moment. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty. Justice came for the Floyd family.
Then I exhaled.
It’s a weird feeling. You are relieved for justice, sad George is not alive, frustrated at the timeline for justice, unsure if there will be more change, anxious at the sentencing stage, worried if this is the last time justice will be served, empowered that real change is coming, and EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN!
But I will exhale today for George cause he could not. While I am here, I will breathe another breath.
Inhale and Exhale.