Stay Woke

It was so weird. I had no idea I was even sleep and all of a sudden I was rudely brought to rise from the strong heaving of my chest and the pain in my temple. The aching was sharp, hard, and abrupt. I had been in the throws of a nightmare. Where are the Geto Boys when you need them?

I will describe it as accurately possible without having a master hypnotist around.

I was walking around at the park with my brother when I saw some of the women I had been bidding with for the past ten and a half months. I almost didn’t recognize them because Neka had on make-up and Summers-Grace had on skin-tight pants. (She was always talking about what she gone do to some man somewhere so I guess that’s why she was there). I don’t remember who all I saw, but there were at least eight of them. I said, “Dang, all of y’all got out at the same time?” They responded with terms I had become familiar with in camp. We laughed and chopped it up for a little bit. I got comfortable.
Right then my ankle monitor began vibrating non-stop. I immediately took off running looking for the nearest phone so that I could call and report to the halfway house. I needed to reassure them that I was not trying to be deviant in any way. Before I could find a phone, a Black man came out of nowhere. He was driving a golf cart. “Ms. Shivers, get in and go with me.” I walked so slowly towards him it was like I was trying to obey him and run for my freedom at the same time. “Where are we going? I was just trying to call you.” He ignored my question and called some White man on his walkie talkie. “I got her. Where do you want me to take her?” The voice responded, “Bring her in.”
Starts hyperventilating… “No, you don’t have to take me. I was just going home. I won’t come back out.” The pangs in my chest got worse. Tears flooded my face. He did not even look at me. He just faced forward. “I have no choice,” he said. Me: “Where are y’all taking me?” “I don’t know. You’re just gonna be doing the tour.” He meant I would not have an official designation. For the next seven months I would be going from camp to camp not knowing where I would be, or how long I would be there.

Oh my God, I cannot do this. I barely did the last bid. I had to plead louder because he could not possibly be picking up what I was putting down. “I can’t do it. I can’t go back.” I fell to my knees when I saw the White man. “I can’t. Just give me one more chance. I won’t come back outside. Please. Please.”
And just like that I was back at home in my bed, face buried in my tear-soaked pillow. Head pounding like there were worries trying to escape from right behind my eyes. Chest feeling like it was recovering from an anime intense blow. I was still trying to catch my breath.
I sat up trying to get my bearings. It was midnight so I chose not to call anyone. Anyway, I don’t know that I would have made sense. I did send a couple of texts, though. One to remind myself to journal about this dream. My friend was always busy so I knew she would not respond, but would honor my spirit by keeping the text in case I needed it again. The second one to the night owl who was usually good for saying something that distracts me from my current situation.

I still stayed up though. For the past month I have been staying up until I see the sun rise just so I would not have time to dream. I sleep in the daytime. I fell for all of that “get some rest” nonsense this week. I had not graduated from college, but now I had graduated from conscious to subconscious panic attacks. The School of Hard Knocks made sure I got that degree. I should have just stayed up.

Recovery came in the form of Andrea, one of my daughters, coming in from work. “Andrea, will you bring me some Advil?” My salvation, they will relieve the pain, but I’m still staying up.
Picks up phone, starts “I’m Home” playlist because somewhere between Sinead Harnett and H.E.R. I will find my way back. “Cause I feel so comfortable with you,” H.E.R. “Taste of your lips is still fresh,” Sinead.

Now a song is coming from inside of me. Well, more like melodic words that remind me who I am.
“Silent nights
In silent fights
Single woman
Single Mom
Dodging one more
Single bomb.
It’s cool.
The fire makes my skin glow.
The ashes make my hair grow.
That boom sounded
Kinda ill though.
Small things
To a giant.
Somebody hand me my crown.”

Author: Claudia L. Shivers

I am a Mom. A grandmother. An entrepreneur. A Social Justice Advocate. A Community Leader. A Social Capital Builder. A Truth Teller.

2 thoughts on “Stay Woke”

  1. I felt this. I felt it a few times! I can’t believe I didn’t know this “You” existed! There’s an author on this thread. I met her a few posts ago. She’s dope, you should meet her!

    Liked by 1 person

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