I Wonder if Nineteen is Too Young To Be Bitter

October 19, 2021 ·
4 min read ·

I wonder if nineteen is too young to be bitter,
Because with every Karen video on Twitter,
With every ignorant comment justified by “Scripture”,
With every chant of ‘All Lives Matter,’
My heart grows a little harder.
My skin struggles to grow thicker,
But my temper has no trouble growing quicker.

I wanted to scream that first week,
To make those who were silent feel my pain,
To shake the arrogant ignorance out of some people’s brains.
I had no words for those who posted a black square
But who make Black girls feel less than for their Black hair,
Who spoke up and said the death of George Floyd was tragic
But who just last year posted their outrage at the supposed “audacity” of Colin Kaepernick.
I didn’t though.
I didn’t yell.
I didn’t scream.
I didn’t want my words to be in vain.
I knew and I know that my anger
Isn’t enough to make this society feel a Black woman’s pain.

A couple weeks later I learned about Elijah McClain
And my introvert art-loving heart broke again.
Then I heard the story of a girl called Oluwatoyin
Tears fell as I whispered her Nigerian name.
My White friends and sisters
They ask how I’m feeling,
I sigh and say,
“It depends on the day”,

Because on the 5th of June I cried myself to sleep
On the 8th my anger kept me wide awake.
I feel like I should pray
For strength to hate the sin of racism
And yet love my fellow sinners,
To process my grief
And not grow bitter.
But I’m tired.
I’m tired.
I’m tired of being so tired all the time.
I am tired of forcing a smile
But holding onto my rage like a toxic ex I can’t seem to leave behind.
I am tired of fighting against Christian culture’s lies.
I am tired of reminding myself not to imitate the behaviour of those who are not imitating Christ,
Those who don’t seem to care,
Who speak of injustice and fail to confront their racist ideas,
Who call for unity and fail to promote diversity.

God please help me,
Not to let the sinful actions of other Christians poison my perspective of Christianity.
Despite their inaction I know that you care,
I know that you’re here
In the streets as we protest
And in our rooms as we weep,
As we try to deal with the repercussions of 200 years of Black American slavery.
I know that you care
Because when Egypt enslaved the Israelites for over 400 years,
You were there.
You did not sit by.
You heard their cry.
You led your people out of that place.
You rebuked Pharoah and sent Moses.
You put an end to their oppression,

So I won’t listen to those who try to use Your Word to quench my Black expression
To undermine our grief.
I refuse to believe
The racist claims of those who claim
To be children of God.
It’s hard to love my fellow Christians
When they don’t bear the Spirit’s fruit.
It’s hard to forgive when some people don’t even think there’s an issue.

I’m not going to lie to all of you
My faith in humanity is weak.
But somehow my faith in God is stronger than it’s ever been.
It’s not always smiling,
It’s not as loud and large as others’ seem to be.
It’s small
Like a seed
But it’s there
And it’s growing.
And so I know
We’re going to be okay.
And it’s with this knowledge I pray
To our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth
As it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from all evil
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory
Forever and ever

I don’t think nineteen is too young to be bitter
But I’m choosing not to be.

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