Antonio Cayonne | Actor

The line separating these things isn’t a hard one

Antonio CayonneComment

I don’t have tears anymore. That’s a terrible feeling.
I want to feel. I want to, but feelings are happening too often and too abruptly.
And I can only feel so much pain, so much hurt, before I have to put it somewhere.  

Because I can’t wear it. I can’t breathe it. I can’t eat it. I can’t choose to believe it.
And yet I don’t have a box big enough to pack it away. I don’t have space to cram it into that isn’t occupied by some other injustice. So my body is going into a self-preservation where I don’t react. And I don’t receive. And I slowly hide so that I’m barely recognized as me.

Because I’m in danger.
And I see it for the first time. It’s taken a long time. But I see it.
You see there are levels of this danger, and I’m lucky to not really fully deeply have to understand the deepest depth.

The deepest depth is death.

There was another one today. I watched it. Almost in real time.

I watched a man die.
A man that could have been someone I know.
But I still haven’t allowed that it could have been me. That can’t happen to me.
Me, I get followed around stores.
Me, I get refused by taxis.
Me, I get called names and inserted into jokes.
But I don’t get killed. Yet.
Until I do.  

The line separating these things isn’t a hard one.

But I don’t know that yet.
I won’t know until I do.
When I do. Because it no longer feels like If.

‘If’ is reserved for wishes, and dreams, and hopes, and one days, and might bes, and oh gees, and Rudyard Kipling poems where we celebrate a not so far off future.

‘When’ is the reality I’m starting to see. And it’s the reason I have no more tears.

I’m in danger.
Even if they don’t get me that way, they’ll get me. They already got me.
I have to fight to be who I am. I have to join the fight to be allowed to be who I am.
I have to speak up if I want to retain the least amount of space I’m given to be allowed to show up within. Because IF I don’t, I’m in danger of becoming what they decide. I lose my choice. I lose my place. I lose my face. My race. My lineage. My ancestry.
I lose the story of where we came from, where I came from, who I am, what we’re like, what type of humans we are and have been, what we’ve seen, what has shaped us, and what shape we chose to take on. I lose the hope of what we could be. 
I lose the ability to control my own narrative.

But I’m also in danger if I speak.
I’m in danger of being too - ....
Too angry, too loud, too this, too that.
I’m in danger of being Just Another, Just Like Them, Just...
Inconvenient.
I’m in danger of being stripped
of the benefit of the doubt; of the thought that I might be more than misplaced aggression; 
of the fact that I may know more than you’ve decided I do.
I’m in danger of being reduced, silenced, and erased.
Is that what it means to be damned if you do
and damned if you don’t?

Because I don’t anymore.
I don’t cry. Not anymore.
I don’t. I don’t feel surprised anymore.
I don’t. I don’t point to facts anymore.
I don’t. I don’t believe this is a conversation.
I don’t. I hope you don’t either.

Yet I do still try. I do make corrections, and hope to be heard.
I do. I do consume every piece of this puzzle that I can, to speak with inclusion.
I do. I do try to see more sides than just one, so I can take you into account.
I do. Because I know you’re in this too.
But not quite the same way. 

See,
I spend a lot of my time
afraid.

For my today. For my tomorrow. For my children.
For my soul. For the story of what we are.
What we all are.
I worry. Because I’m in danger.

 I worry.

And I wonder if you do too.
And If you don’t, then I hope you cry for us both.
Because it means you can.
It means you’re safe.
It means someone saved you a seat and you made it out.

If you save me a seat,
I’ll try not to make you wait.