A Mental Health Moment After the Trial

I am a person who typically rises by 5 a.m., sometimes four. I have a blog, a job, a household to maintain and I am constantly on a mission to get things done.

Last Sunday however, after the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case I found myself unable to rise until 2 p.m.

The alternating emotions of shock, anger, fear, and deep soul-numbing sadness which kept me bedridden seems to have taken residence in my mind overriding other thoughts. I cry constantly now but somehow I am surprised by the tears as they come out of nowhere and at the most inopportune moments.

Since the verdict my television has been on from early morning until very late at night in search of answers. I channel surf between the 24 hour news stations listening to the commentators opining on the details of case law, DNA, Rachel Jeantel's testimony, and jury selection, many of them it seems also trying to make sense out of how things went so wrong (or so right depending on your perspective).

I have had ongoing conversations about the trial with my mother but my father is still unable to discuss it. They are both 70-something years old and have lived through much racial turbulence. My father started the first Black Student Union at a high school for gifted students in the sixties so he has always been an activist. But he is much older now and has gone inward to heal from yet another devastation to our Black community.

My heart aches for him as I imagine the unspeakable fear he is feeling that something similar will happen to his grandson and granddaughter.

When he was a boy, his father for whom he was named and for whom his grandson is named, had to flee St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife and young sons to avoid being lynched for his outspoken views on human rights. This was 90 years ago. This is my legacy.

I have heard many people say that a conversation must be had on race relations in this country. But this is not necessarily the time to begin that conversation. It's good to rally and march; coming together for a common cause can be mentally and emotionally healing. But right now, I do not want to be approached by anyone who does not look like me to discuss the verdict.
I am still grieving for Trayvon, his family and mine. Allow me a week at least, most jobs will give you that much. Give me time to pull it together. Then we can talk.