When I feel overwhelmed I change my body.
I tattoo, I pierce, I dye or cut my hair. Sometimes I starve myself or hurt myself. In positive or negative ways, I change my body.
When I am overwhelmed, I feel as if my body isn’t my own. I feel as if I am performing, as if I cannot take a single iota of power from a larger system around me.
Today I want to take my body back from someone who claimed it as an excuse for murder.
“You rape our women. You’re taking over our country.”
That’s what he said before he killed them. Stephanie said that we, our bodies, are not yours. My body has never been anyone’s but my own, much less someone who will now become a figure for the medical and political institutions to talk about the ways they want to limit my freedom. Yes, you know where the conversation will go. He was mentally ill.
I’m sorry, but he doesn’t speak for my body and he doesn’t speak for my brain. My mental illness is not one of racism, and mental illness is not a catch all for murderers.
The media does not get to claim my mind for this racist system, just as this terrorist does not get to claim my body as his excuse.
I want to take my body back today. I want to shave my hair or emblazon my skin with a giant NO or punch holes in every place that the patriarchy says belong to white men.
There are no failsafes for marking myself out as ‘not yours.’ All I can do is say no. My body has not been harmed by the existence of blackness. My body is not in danger due to blackness. My mind is not the site of murderous racism because I have a diagnosis. That is something else entirely and I refuse to allow myself to be associated with it.