I know I've been quiet for a while. I came back from the 4th of July holiday with pictures and happy memories with my family, and I was fully prepared to write all about my trip to Savannah when I got home from work (that post is coming, I promise).
When I sat down at my computer on Tuesday night and checked Twitter, I saw two things: #AltonSterling and #BlackLivesMatter. My heart dropped as I scrolled through rapidly emerging tweets until I found the video, which I won't show here out of respect. The sounds of the shots echoed in my mind all night, and naturally I didn't get much sleep. "Tomorrow," I thought. "I'll give myself some time, focus on work, and then come home and blog."
Almost 24 hours later I was uploading my photos when the same thing happened again, this time with a new name: #PhilandoCastile. I saw the Facebook live stream and prayed that he would live, the young girl's encouraging words echoing in my ears, until the news broke that he did not survive. I closed my laptop.
Getting to sleep in on Thursday morning was a blessing, but the day was no less difficult. As I mourned with fellow students, staff, and community members over the lives lost in Dhaka just days before, my head and chest felt...tight. I was breathing and fighting the tears, but I couldn't get enough air. I was numb to just about everything despite my to-do list. After a long day at work I came home and as I told my mom about my day, Fox news caught the image of police officers on the ground. All of us, including everyone on the news, were stunned. The weekend couldn't come soon enough.
As I drove home from work, into the weekend and away from a protest that I was too exhausted to go to, I made a promise to myself. I would spend the entire weekend detoxing my body, mind, and spirit. I wouldn't worry about being productive; instead, I would do whatever it took to get back to myself.
The physical part was easy; one long walk with my mom in nature, a cup of Jamaican dieter's tea, and several glasses of detox water made me feel better than ever. I exfoliated, I moisturized, and I deep cleaned with bentonite clay. My plan to block social media for the weekend didn't exactly plan out, but it wasn't all bad. I got to see Serena achieve a major milestone in her career and plan dream trips with some of my closest friends. I read books I've been excited to start for days, and books that I probably hadn't cracked open since the 7th grade.
Nails done, hair done, and after several belly laughs, I feel ready to get back to normal...except, things didn't just stop after those two men were killed. Their families are still figuring out how to pick up the pieces while they fight for justice to be served. Thousands of people expressed their outrage at the system that has robbed so many lives, and as a result hundreds have been wrongfully imprisoned.
Still, there have been some bright sides. I have seen the beauty of community at work, as hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure that Alton Sterling's children will get to go to college. I have watched as thousands of people put their differences aside to unite behind a cause and truly stand for liberty and justice for all. And even now, more work is being done to create positive change.
Even with all of the terrible events that have occurred this month, I am hoping (and praying) that it gets better from here and that we are getting closer to real freedom.