Before I even start this piece, I first and foremost want to dedicate this post to George Floyd who was tragically murdered by police on 25th May 2020.
Listen to this weeks podcast here
Love Laid Bare stands with everyone in our global fight against racism and the unnecessary deaths of Black men & women at the hands of the police.
Let me be honest.
The first day or so when the name ‘George Floyd’ began circulating alongside the notion that this was another police brutality case, I switched off. I didn’t read the tweets and I swiftly scrolled past any media that I saw. I purposefully do not watch TV, so there was no chance of being caught off guard by the news reports. I created a subliminal wall around me because I was already emotionally dealing with some old issues that had come up recently. I am studying towards becoming a psychotherapist and we had had covered discrimination and stereotyping as part of an exercise.
We had to discuss (in small groups) incidents where we felt we had been discriminated against, and I found myself breaking down in front of two of my peers who happened to be white. This made me feel immensely uncomfortable because I had always managed to maintain my emotions in front of my Black & Asian girlfriends, but crumbled in front of my white peers? Odd!
Whilst not to go off topic, being discriminated against in such a covert way played havoc with my professional career and I never returned to the industry. But that story is for another day, I just want to illustrate to you where I was emotionally at that time. My heart just couldn’t take another hit now that pandoras box had been blown open and I felt quite fragile.
I opted not to put out an episode last week because this fake wall was being slowly chipped away and it was getting to the point where I could no longer scroll through my feed without seeing the officers knee on Georges neck. I knew I needed a little time out, because I knew what was to come.
The invisible weight
For me personally, every time another case of blatant police brutality floods the media around the world, I carry a mixture of anxiety in my stomach, tears that sit behind the eyes ready to burst at any moment and a mental load on my brain that is physically draining.
Emotions sit high in my throat and attack me in waves. I then ask myself, ‘Why can’t I just suppress this? Why must I let this affect me?’.
But I know the answer to my question, and it is simply because I AM TIRED. Sometimes being Black is exhausting. The code-switching, the softening of your tone, always trying to remain pleasant looking (not angry or vex) and all of these other subconscious behaviours you don’t realise you’ve had to adapt to just to get by.
I knew that there was no way I could not cover police brutality on Love Laid Bare and if I am going to be honest with you all, I’ve pretty much avoided discussing outright racism because of the scars I have still not healed myself. The irony is that I ask you guys every week to face your trauma’s, but here I am consistently avoiding some of my own.
This week I am joined by my cousin Martin Kelly who is based in Canada. Martins father (my great uncle) Trevor Kelly, was heinously murdered by police back in 1993 and Martin himself has been no stranger to the harsh treatment of police himself. Following his fathers death, Martin lost contact with the family for decades and only managed to be reacquainted in 2017. Whilst we have been Instagram and Facebook friends, we had never actually spoken prior to this recording.
I’d like to thank Martin for being as raw and as honest as he has been about his feelings, and how the murder of his own father affected him growing up. This is not an easy conversation to have and especially not in front of a global audience.
I would also like to dedicate this episode to my great uncle Trevor who never got the chance to see son grow up or to even see his granddaughter be born.
Collectively, we must see this as a fight for humanity. We cannot continue to watch our fathers, brothers, sons, sisters, daughters and friends die because of no other reason than because we are black.
Please administer all the self care that you need during this time. Please visit our resources page for support services
I love you!