I remember my life in America.
I remember the looks I would get. You don't belong here.
I remember walking to my friends house in Darien Connecticut and being repeatedly pulled over by the police and being repeatedly asked where I was going and who I worked for.
I remember food shopping when a woman cut in line. I remember my mother pointing it out and the woman responding, “Niggers think they own this place”. I remember wondering what the word Nigger meant but being too afraid to ask.
I remember being encouraged by my hippy English teacher to enter into a Shakespeare recitation contest. I remember preparing and pouring my heart into it. I remember an elderly woman with a sweet smile and silver hair coming up to me at the end and congratulating me on my bravery. I remember her looking me dead in my eyes, hands on both of my shoulders and telling me to go home and tell all of my friends about what I had done. She had assumed I was from the Ghetto. I was raised in private schools in Marin County California and Fairfield County Connecticut. I remember wishing she had just told me I had done a good job and left it at that.
I remember telling everyone my father was dead because I was too embarrassed to be just another Black kid who's father wasn't in her life.
I remember falling in love and being told that it was not suitable for me to be anything other than her son's friend. I then remember her smiling and offering me cookies.
I remember my mother telling me that I would have to work twice as hard as all the others. I remember her saying that while I will always be seen, I will never be recognized or rewarded. I remember her being right on far too many occasions.
I remember the surgeries, the pain, the seizures.
I remember giving up on it all.
I remember my mother by my side.
I cant do this.
Yes You Can.
I remember leaving this earth. It was not like they said. There was no light. It was calm and dark and I could hear the surgeons speaking
I cant stop the bleeding.
I cant control the pressure.
I remember thinking
Yes You Can.
And when I came back, I remember my mother words
You did it. I knew could.
I remember loosing all hope in America. I remember not caring anymore. I remember giving up, never to return home again.
Then I heard the words again...
Yes We Can.
And I heard the song and the speech and for a split second I stood in my stance, with my hands on my hips and head held high...
Because for the 1st time EVER IN MY LIFE...
I was proud to be American. I was proud of my country. I was moved. I was fundamentally part of something that I was so far from. Part of a country I have always felt separated from.
I can put aside everything for a real movement. Those shivers that run up and down my spine are not those of fear. They are those of excitement.
There has been a vast aura of inspiration rotating recently.
People are fighting the odds.
The power to inspire.
Can you feel it?
*Originally posted February 10th, 2008 by Bunkamadison