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That Damn Table

#ChooseJOY

That Damn Table

Iyalua Pope

Photo by Solange's A Seat At the Table Interactive Booklet

Photo by Solange's A Seat At the Table Interactive Booklet

My table sits alone in a black vortex, suspended on a weak axis between my land of origin and the existence of that damn table. And through that axis transcends the radio message that tells me that if I want to be successful in life that I've got to go up there and get a seat at that damn table.

All around me, I see people. They look just like me. They, too are suspended in this black vortex with me. Clearly we have a connection. It looks as though this connection has been severed and we have to hold our places ever so meticulously so that that damn table doesn't crumble to ruins. And I watch these people hopelessly climb up to knock on this door which they think is called opportunity to wait for 'Them' to deliberate.. and qualify- using 'Their' standards- my people to see how close they want them to 'Their' table.

Provided by GIPHY

Provided by GIPHY

When they climb, my people don't even realize all of the things they give up to get there. Or that these things fall below them in shallow pools, which those who securely have a seat at the table swoop in like scavengers to steal the carcass of. The carcasses of their joy, their pride, their security, et cetera. They feed their egos at the expense of my people starving their intellect and your self-worth. So essentially, asking for 'Their' acceptance is like the blind leading the blind because even after 'They've' built this empire, 'They' still cannot seem to accept themselves. But my people are just trying to reach this proverbial table to find happiness in their piece of the pie. How ironic. 

My people struggle to arduously balance the delicate position of the axis upon which they sit and upward mobility. And so I'm expected, in the same manner, to somehow maneuver myself, my seat and my own table up there.. and pray that I don't suffer a concussion from head-butting a glass ceiling or two, or twelve or twenty-four. To me, the journey seems to be more than what it's worth, being as though the costs outweigh the benefits because even though I may do all of that work, climbing to a get a spot as close as possible, I'll never be wanted or invited to have a seat at that damn table. 

Photo by Solange's A Seat At the Table Interactive Booklet

Photo by Solange's A Seat At the Table Interactive Booklet

Why leave my comfort to struggle in efforts to be treated like a stepchild at a table that has never had a place set for me or any of my people?  I can just connect my table with yours, friend at another table,  and we can be so happy in our blackness that we attract other tables to connect. And our magnetic force is so powerful that we disrupt the stability of that damn house of cards-- I mean, that damn table. We can fortify our own table with our own sense of pride and dignity so much so that it will reveal the truth of the matter that has been so poorly disguised all along. But this can only happen if we know why there is a necessity for our tables to connect.

Once we know, we will no longer be fooled by the illusions of terror 'They've' etched in our minds long ago. We have to go beyond those smoking mirrors 'They've' hidden all the history of us before slavery behind. I mean, honestly, while 'They' were 'inventing' democracy in Greece and stabbing each other in the back in Rome, what did you think your people were doing, friend? Sitting, watching and waiting for them to press play so our ancestors could assume their position and 'play their part' in the construction of that damn table? NO. Reach back really, really far and learn your history. Unadulterated. You'll thank me later. 

Provided by GIPHY

Provided by GIPHY

We have to understand how we got here so we can understand why we need to repatriate from the egotistical paradigm we operate in. (Yes, it's patriarchal, too. That's another story for another day.) How these illnesses of the mind aren't even ours to begin with. How they superimposed their mental sicknesses on us by virtue of imperialism and greed. And every time we show them that, they go: "told you [insert one of 'Their' names], they're savages."

So, friend at another table, If you have any doubts at all about your place in this crooked world or if you even belong here in the first place, understand this one truth. At the core of it all, it's not really the gold, the rubber, oil or diamonds that 'They're' after. It's our mojo. Our black mojo. That essence that even so far apart, so far damaged and traumatized, we still have the ability to radiate. And please, friend, for the love of whatever God you praise, DO NOT hate your radiance. Because at that point, they win. And you have no right to be angry when they counterfeit your radiance for a profit. It is yours and it has not abandoned you after all of these years because the truth is the light and the light is you, baby. Love it from the follicles of your 4C curls to the blood that flows through your veins to your toes that wiggle when you laugh to keep from crying.

My friend at another table, I'm not trying to convince you that you are wrong for wanting what you may want. I just want you to understand that that damn table is not your only choice. You can make your own with what you have and not have to sacrifice your mental well-being, your dignity or your values or your love for what makes you, you.  And my, will you see how the damn tables will turn.. 

Provided by GIPHY

Provided by GIPHY