Celebration, Colonialism, Slavery: Introduction – Part 1 of 5

Capturing and Enslaving

Inscribed in this black, African embodiment is the story of pain – permanent, born of loss.

When, what, how, why, who is the pain?

Today I invite you to accompany me in speaking my pain.

Do I speak this pain to heal? No! I do not need to heal. For hidden in every desire to heal is value judgment. But why do I not speak of a redemptive healing?

I exude pain, I utter pain, but, I do not judge pain.

This pain is not ugly, painful or harsh. Neither is it beautiful, pleasurable or kind. As the truly wise do not judge life or death, the truly enlightened do not judge pain. My pain is. It is me.

Like other material elements in the universe, which can be converted but never annihilated, pain also does not disappear.

The earth was the original witness of the pain of which I speak. And on the earth, it has remained until now, like the open and porous wound on another, it simply is.

Shameful, present, but unaccounted for.

My pain remains open because my loss died without healing. This pain inscribed in my body remains in the soil that originally witnessed it.  As the earth originally relied on my body to give life to this pain, I again use my body to the speak pain. In reverse I exude pain on behalf of the soil – the pain that flowed into my soil.

I speak pain! On behalf of my earth, I express pain returned to me from the soil of an earth that originally witnessed it. What I had was loss; I had nothing. Ah…! I lost! I will always be my pain and loss. I lost a lot. I carry the pain of a loss that died without healing.

I lost the receptacles, vessels and conduits of the continuation and nodes of my ancestry. Each loss was a ripping of myself that left not a neat hole, but a grotesque jagged scar that forever bleeds. My loss was the violent damming of a river. The interruption of a flow. Time had brought with it a violent truncation of the river of the life force of my universe.

What do you do with the rupture of a violently dammed river that interrupts the logic and flow of a universal process? I was left with gaps and question marks in my family tree. Gaps of possibilities that would never be attained, dreams that would never be fulfilled.

The cries of captivity faded, not into nothingness but into a loss borne first by my body, then by the soil. Within this traumatic existence, I lost my naïve believe of a limit to the amount of pain that my body, mind, the soil and even the universe could hold.

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