“I am writing this because I want to remember this moment.
I want to remember this disappointment.
I want to remember the pleading eyes and those that stared with utter disgust and judgment.
I want to remember the laughter of the children in the backseat as they watched their mother violate me, belittle me, and write my life a whole new bullshit storyline.
I want to remember the hot rush that came over my body that whispered to me to beat this bitch’s ass.
I want to remember the day I realized Arizona will most likely never be home.”
– Excerpt from journal.
Friends that have shopped with me know that I will always find my way to Target. Those who watch my antics on social media know Target is my go-to shopping venue. Target is where I wander to spark creativity and joy. Target, and all of its crimsonness, is my happy place. Or was my happy place, because shortly after relocating my life to Arizona, I was accused of stealing my own car in a Target parking lot.
Yes. Read it again.
I went into Target, realized I forgot my phone, went back to my car to retrieve it and as I was opening my door, a white arm went over my shoulder and closed it. Before I could fully turn around, I was being questioned about what I was doing opening a car door that didn’t belong to me.
“I saw you drive in here in a completely different car. This is not your car. I’m calling the cops.”
I didn’t respond right away. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what the hell was happening. You see, in the northeast, the racism is most definitely there, but it isn’t this blatant. It’s passive-aggressive remarks and a whole lot of ignorant microaggressions. It doesn’t come with this type of audacity and boldness. It’s not this flagrant. This was entirely new for me.
“If this is your car, you should be able to tell me your license plate number. What is it?” She stood behind my car ready to test me on my license plate number. I looked at her like she was crazy. She was crazy.
“If I have the keys, how could this not be my car? My phone is in the cup holder in a rose gold case, look.”
“I already saw you peer into the car, nice try, what is your license plate number?”
“It’s a new car, I bought it on Monday. I do not know the temporary number. What’s your license plate number?”
People started to gather around our, now, shouting match, most of them rallying for me with a few others commenting for her to call the police. The more I pushed back, the more flustered she got. The more I tried to reason with her, the angrier I became with her and then eventually myself. I’ve worked incredibly hard, through years of therapy, to master not explaining myself to those who do not matter, and within a matter of minutes, this white woman had helped me revert back to a woman I thought I had abandoned many moons ago.
And that’s when I lost it.
“You know what?” I said after moments of silence, “Call the motherfucking police. Call them so they can arrest your ass for harassment. Call the police. Call them now.”
Her anger turned into panic and just like clockwork, the white woman tears formed. From 10 years in corporate America, I know what those tears mean. I know what they’re intended for. They appear when it’s time to play victim. They appear when they’ve realized they were not able to break you.
“You see a black woman, in an NYU hoodie, driving a car nicer than your own in Tucson, a city where black people are scarce. So, with your high and mighty racism and audacity, you sought to tear her down. It won’t work here, and now I’m going to beat your ass in front of kids.”
She frantically searched the crowd for sympathy as I took my umbrella out of my car as my weapon of choice. At that point, I understood the overwhelming rage people feel when they resort to putting their hands on people, but thankfully it didn’t get that far. After her many sobs and her victim speeches, she realized no one was coming to her defense. She dropped her vendetta, got into her janky vehicle, and sped off.
I journaled furiously that evening and many evenings after. Not just because this situation was beyond outrageous and a bitch needed to unload the trauma, but because I wanted to remember this anger. I needed to remember this anger. I wasn’t prepared for this kind of anger; the type of anger that stores itself throughout your body and lodges itself within the crevices of your thoughts and deep in-between your joints. You’re reminded of this type of anger each and every time you catch the stares. It gets worse every time you experience a wrongful act committed against you because of your skin. And it’s easily sparked when you see others have to experience the same thing.
I needed to remember this anger, so when I’m faced with it again, I am also reminded of my strength and the sheer fact that everything about me is rooted in resilience. This wouldn’t be the last time this would happen, but it would be for damn sure the last time I was unprepared for it.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone full-blown Yettember on you guys, but 2020 is calling for it. I started Yettember, originally “Yetti celebration month,” back in 2010. And that’s exactly what it was, a celebration of me all month long, doing the most. But this year, after sunsetting my shenanigans back in 2018, I’m bringing it back for a celebration of black women.
This is something I’ve wanted to do for years but didn’t know the best way to. I 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 don’t know the best way how but celebrating black women, our struggles, our successes, our realities, and our stories? That’s all my spirit wants to do for my birthday.
This year, I will continue the tradition of the #9daysuncensored posts. For 9 days leading up to my birthday, I will write (uncensored) about life, love, and all the other things I’ve been told not to share.
I’m also introducing a post series, “For Black Girls Who” where I’ve invited my friends to share letters to themselves and other black women about our daily struggles.
There will be giveaways galore every Friday featuring fellow black women-owned businesses that I am obsessed with and know you will be too!
And of course, there will be the launch of the “black girl affirmed” affirmation deck, written and created by a black woman, for black women.
I’m so excited to be doing this. I want to do this month justice because the world has repeatedly shown us that it doesn’t give a fuck about us. But let this celebration put that shit to bed, because around these parts, we matter. We’ve always fucking mattered.