I spoke to a friend today after a long time. You don’t realize how much it matters until you do realize. How much courage and peace it gives you to keep moving on with hard choices and difficult times. Do it. Even if they don’t ask you to, they need you to, they want you to.
I have been looking to make sense of recent events. I have been struggling with so many questions these days; most of you who know me know this. Those of you who don’t know me know that there has been a series of events that have shaken me over the years. Not much shakes my belief in who I am. I don’t take too much serious about life. I believe in what is right in front of me. Anything I cant feel, smell or taste doesn’t matter much, in my opinion. If you are not here, you are not one of mine, and you are not necessary.
I have never connected with people on the outside of who I think are my inner circle. Especially not with those I see on screens. I enjoy them, that’s the purpose. I’m all in, in the moment, and then I’m back in the real world because we don’t have the luxury to linger. We have real shit to deal with, and that looks nothing like the movies.
Some would say that that’s not an accurate statement in my case, but I would argue that Marvel is an absolute real universe that exists, and you cant change my mind about it. You wanna try? I Can Do This All Day.
To my original point, being the realist that I am, when I heard of Chadwick Boseman’s passing, it shattered me beyond my own belief. You would think that this was as a mere Marvel Comics “fan” who is raising two boys to be the same. Well, one is kind of a deviant and prefers DC, but not all our kids can be perfect like us, am I right?
Every time I speak of him I surprise everyone because no one understands why I have such a strong connection with this person that no longer lives among us and never did live amongst me and mine. I couldn’t understand it either. It makes no sense. But it hurts. It hurts to the point that I try to avoid social media and other places where I might find his face. It’s too painful to look at; that’s a strange reaction from someone who has buried a son and a nephew. Actually I should just say two sons and countless other loved ones whose faces are etched in the depths of my heart from where there is no escape for them or me. Nevertheless it’s this stranger’s face that tugs at my heart, it’s not just one thing about him though, it’s his life, his words, his story.
I don’t mourn strangers in this way. I understand death comes to us all. Every living thing has to leave this world. His death has made no difference in my life, just as his life made no difference in mine. These are not cruel words; this is how I have always viewed those who are not a part of my life in an immediate way. I have faced enough to know that grieving the dead should be exclusively for the ones who lose the person; it’s not our business to cry for those we didn’t know. Strange logic, for sure. How else would you know its mine.
His story. That’s where it is. I saw somewhere that one of his colleagues in a beautiful tribute to him wrote in his remembrance, “So it seems that it was life that gave up on Chadwick long before Chadwick gave up on life.” There, right there. That’s it. My life is nothing like his. But I live with something invisible similar to him. I have to think about how to navigate my everyday all the while wanting and needing to make my mark in the world.
People wonder why he didn’t tell anyone about his cancer. I wondered too, but then I think the answer is quiet obvious; his work would be tainted. He would become the guy who achieved so much “even though” he was sick. That minimizes you in so many ways. It shouldn’t, but it does. Its hard enough being colored in this world, adding any other personal attributes that the world considers negative is likely not a wise decision. I wouldn’t know enough about that struggle of course, but I did survive high-school and college years with a chronic illness and chronic pain without telling anyone outside of family and few close friends because I was a brown girl in the United States, and I didn’t need anymore eyes on me. So I get it on some level, I showed up when I shouldn’t have. I lied and said I have a family emergency when I should have just said I’m not feeling well.
Boseman’s silence about what he went through makes people like me think how challenging it must have been for him. How was he not tired and exhausted every second of every day. If I have any hope of getting out of bed in the morning I need to be on all kinds of meds. These medicines however necessary are not a good look on a person; the swelling, the tiredness, the hair-loss, nausea, headache, I could go on.
Today my right hand refused to cooperate (RA is fun that way) so Im mostly typing with my left hand. The left elbow is starting to act up. Now I have a pillow under my elbow and I am still typing with one hand. You see, the danger in telling you all this is you have the choice to either believe me or not. Now I feel exposed. Life is giving up on me and I am not ready to give up on it yet. That’s where it hurts. That’s where his story matters to people like me. Some woman sitting in a completely different part of the world trying to type remembering that this guy fought a losing battle with so much heart and dignity, and won it, while She is failing at typing.
All I have ever wanted to do was write. When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis I was told that it will affect the wrists and fingers the most. Then years later my sciatica became a huge problem and now I cant sit for more than 30 minutes at a time.
30 years later I am still writing. I gave up so much in the process of learning how to be a person who has to live with these illnesses, the one thing I will not give up on is ME.
Basemen was my age, 43 years old. I found that out the day I found out that he had died. Like I said I don’t really keep track of people I don’t know personally. Also, age makes no difference other than the fact that I too will keep trying, be invisible until I die at some random age while everyone else is oblivious to the pain I am going through.
He wasn’t invisible. He was seen. He was heard. Maybe that’s why the heartache is so great. We would want him to know that we had his back. Maybe he didn’t tell people because he didn’t trust them or maybe because he knew he could handle whatever he was up against.
That clicking of the keyboard or that work that he put in, which is way greater than anything I’m doing or will ever do. I am in no way comparing my pain to his. I’m saying what he did comes easy to others (the results aren’t half as brilliant). People like us have to work much harder. Then to be judged by the same standards and sometimes even ridiculed for not being good enough is a painful process. If only those people could see how much effort it takes to literally just position ourselves on the desk to get our day started. The fear in letting them in is that your work is reduced to “even though” or its “good enough” for your kind, the sick and the weak.
I think the message would not have been as impactful for those of us who are in these kinds of predicaments had we known, we wouldn’t know that there is glory in this too. There is pride, love and self worth all the way to the end. Whenever death comes for me that’s the kind I want.
I bet the kind of pain that he endured in return for this triumph must have been brutal. Every-time I try to move and feel the crackle in my bones I think about how he hid his “crackles”from the world, I feel some kind of way I cant really put a name on; I feel like that pain can never be repaid. I feel like that’s a burden our society is going to have to live with. We don’t let our sick feel alive. We kill them before they are ready to die.
For the likes of me he is one of the rare who took the myth of “look at me I’m sick and I’m still standing” with him to the grave. He proved that there is another way. You don’t have to be reduced to how you feel or what illness has befallen your body.
This is my connection to him. My connection to him is of gratitude, its of someone who has gained courage to be a complete person outside of my circumstances. My connection to him is of someone whose footstep I’d like to follow. Someone who showed strength and grace just because that’s who they are, not ‘because of’ or ‘in-spite’ of something.
I don’t know how much of this matters but I had to write it down. It was weighing on my heart. This issue of whether we should make people listen and take note of how we live or just ignore the rest and be with our selves doing our best, has been a prevalent one with people with chronic illness and chronic pain. I have been trying to balance both point views.
Suddenly I am seeing things from a whole new direction. I don’t know what that changes. It does make me appreciate a lot more about my own life and the people around me. It makes me appreciate the fact that I am still sitting at this computer and typing.
So to that courageous and humble soul I say: thanks man, may your soul find peace and love. May you keep connecting the heavens and the earth to help people to be seen. Ameen
#RIP #restinpower #connectingtheheavens #myconnection #theworldisasmallplace #chadwick #chadwickboseman #marvel #blackpanthar #wakandaforever #ripking #wegotyourback #chadwickbosemanforever #neverforget