It’s been almost two weeks since my experience of calling 911 for help and receiving humiliation instead. Most of my questions are still unanswered and probably always will be, but I’ve decided that that’s ok. Spring is here. Heaven’s life-giving water has been falling abundantly. I want to enjoy the summer. I want to be happy. I’ve decided not to let them get me down. I’m officially moving on.
In my last novel, there was a scene in which a much older and stronger boy humiliated a young girl on the playground and made her french kiss the ground. That scene was particularly difficult to write because I took it directly from my own history. I was in the fourth grade. I don’t know how old my tormentors were, but they were much older than I. I had no power and I was too smart to resist. So I kissed the ground. I licked the sand. I ate the dirt. And when they were looking the other way, I took advantage of the opportunity and ran like hell. They might have thought they won, but they didn’t. I slept as well that night as I’ve ever slept. I had already learned that bullies can take a lot from you, but one thing they can never take is your dignity. When you know that, and when they know you know it, you’ve already won.
I was unarmed and unresistant on the sixth of April. I had no power. Those cuffs were unyielding. I was still too smart to resist, so I just stood there and ate the dirt, if you’ll allow me the metaphor. But they didn’t win. They didn’t want to think of me as human, but I’m still human. And I give away my dignity to no one, it doesn’t matter how big their guns are.
I know that it was the Border Patrol who stood there in silence, hiding behind their big scary guns. I know it was Bob Everson of the Harvey City Police who put his cuffs on me and stood by while I asked for help. I’ll probably never know more and I’m pretty sure the ironically named American Justice System has no answers. But that’s ok. I’m alive, I’m human, and summer is coming. The only way I can win is by holding my head up high and being happy. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Because the lesson I learned that day is the same lesson I’ve been learning all my life. There will always be bullies in the world. There will always be injustice. But every time I’ve ever seen that unfortunate reality, I’ve also seen something else: there’s way more good in humanity than there is bad. For every sad, insecure bully hiding behind a big gun, there are a thousand brave, kind souls who just do what they have to do day after day, who aren’t trying to flash a badge or make a scene so people will cower and lick their boots. Those are my people. You are my people. And you know what? We’re still winning.
And we’ll always be winning. Yes, you can make me eat dirt in the playground. You can make me stand shivering in my driveway in handcuffs. But I’m still a human. And as a human, I have dignity. That’s something no one can take from me and I’ll never give up. So in the end, no matter what happens, I always win.
Peace out, my people, and thanks so much for all you do even when you don’t realize it.