Upon viewing 12 Years a Slave I am reminded of my years of concerted avoidance and disassociation. I have been afraid to look truth in the eyes. I’ve been choosing side-glances of reality. I’ve needed a break; a privilege afforded me. It seems that despite my efforts I can not close one eye and keep the other open and continue to claim that the journey of liberation is before me.
Who is truly free?
I remember the shock when I read Charles Bukowski’s claim that we are all prostitutes, we all sell ourselves, we all have a price.
How have I sold myself?
How have I accepted that my life is a commodity to be bargained on the open market?
Where did I learn that in order to have worth I had to be given attention to validate my existence?
I can see the eyes of the women I have worked with who survived the horrors of wars in Chad, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Sudan. Women and children whose bodies were used as the first weapons of war.
Who is free when bodies are commodities?
There is a choice that can be made. To take a class-stride. To decide that it is no longer profitable to MY SOUL to “act as if” living a life based on fulfillment of my desires is acceptable. I too have sold my life to the marketing tales of happiness. I have had my libido manipulated and my brain ripped apart by the profiteering taffy-puller. I believed if I was sexy enough, smart enough, cunning enough then I could gain status, I could be the victor of the war over my mind and body.
Revolution for Human Will
We call it Human Trafficking now. There are so many phrases passing under the pens of accords and diplomatic patty-cake hand-shakes. Those who seek to stand for the rights of those whose voices are chained behind hidden doors of servitude…How have we had to anesthetize ourselves by using these terms and phrases to simply live day to day with the horrific knowledge of what is happening to human beings in the world today, yesterday, throughout history? So that we can live?
What of the people who exist day to day with a soul-level desperation for freedom?
What of them?
While we’re worried about what other people think of us? Cursing the traffic and timetables. Angry that life is not tailored to our happiness. Where is the line of reasonability anymore? How do we define acceptable privilege when there is such discrepancy?
It sickens me to be writing this. I know I am safe whilst there are others who are cowering in the darkness of depravity, living under the rule of slathering maws of sickness made manifest in the lives of moral ineptitude. You.are.not.alone.
They may never see this, but they are not alone. We live on. Those who know what it is like to run and hide in closets and under beds to avoid the fist, the touch, the peering hunger. We heal, we become stronger…WE LIVE ON.
We who have been overlooked.
We live on
I will not live my life segregated by circumstance. If we do not brave the divide and call out our own privilege and suffering where it lives, then how can we “om” for dignity and unity? It does not feel peaceful to me to isolate in a world of meditation and positive energy manifestation when there are those who run from burning villages, swiping hungry machetes, pumping thrusts of strangers’ pelvises.
Are you sick of it?
Tell me how you accept circumstances for others that would be absolutely untenable for yourself. Because it’s not my business? Right? I think that’s how it works. If I ignore it and focus as intently as possible on my own bullshit, then the injustice will transform and be changed by SOMEONE ELSE.
I’m not waiting for someone else to change the world so that I can feel more at ease. Do you have water? Running, potable water? Are you reading this on a computer? Do you have electricity? I have so much more….so.much.more. than my sisters and brothers who do not.
I can not tell you that it is not my hands who have held the whip. I will not claim that I have not murdered millions of people with my greed. I will not tell you that I am innocent of the atrocities of genocide perpetrated by others. I have to take responsibility for the actions of others, if they refuse to take responsibility themselves.
I am culpable for the suffering that continues on this planet. I am responsible for negating the existence of so many people. I take on every time I looked down instead of into your eyes because I was ashamed of what had been done to you in the name of greed and privilege.
I admit that I have been the walking dead, wanting to blot out my own existence, my own story. I have been complicit in my own negation. I have taken privilege to new heights. I have compared my abuse to yours. I have compared the oppression of my people to yours. I have built a fortress of exclusion around me so that no one could ever reach my heart.
I stand before you. Here. I. Am.
This is it. I am here. This person at the ready. Not to fight you. To Know You. To hear your story, bear witness to your knowledge of your situation. The more we come to link together the easier it is to hear those still quiet voices: the ones locked behind doors; the ones sold into slavery by debt bondage; the screaming voices inside of you scratching to be heard.
I hear you.
I am not afraid of you.
Your sickness does not intimidate me. I know you. My eyes are open. If you want to walk forward. If you want to know that you are not alone in your struggle to be.
You are not alone.
It is in our isolation that we create the breeding ground for atrocities to be made manifest.
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