Not This Time

I didn’t grow up believing in Santa Claus.

My mama said she couldn’t bring herself

to tell me a lie.

She told me matter of factly

as she braided my hair

“Santa isn’t real, baby.

He doesn’t exist.”

My 5 year old heart understood.

But there was one thing

I couldn’t comprehend

I spun my head to look her in the eye

I asked

“Then how come so many people

believe he is?”

 

She popped me on the head with her comb

reminding me to look forward and sit still

She sighed and said

“Because that’s what they

were taught.

Their parents told them he’s real.”

My five year old heart didn’t understand

“But that a lie.”

My mama had nothing to say to that

Only silence and the smell

of blue magic hair grease

lingered in the air

This bothered me.

The lie and my mothers silence

 

“Why would they lie, mom?”

She stop braiding and paused

She allowed the words to enter the air

the way you you enter a room

that has a sleeping baby in it

Carefully

Cautiously

“They aren’t trying to lie.

But sometimes

the truth just isn’t as fun to hear.”

 

I nodded

Then she leaned into my face

to look me in the eye

“But Megan…

You do not tell the kids at school Santa isn’t real.

You’ll ruin the fun.”

This exasperated me

“Then how will my friends know

the truth?”

She finished up my last braid

before answering.

“Either their parents will tell them or they’ll

find out the hard way.”

 

My mama was right.

She’s so wise

My friends now know Santa

and the tooth fairy aren’t real.

But I still feel the weight

that my five year old self felt

from carrying a secret of truth

It feels heavy

Burdensome

People around me insisting

that liberty and justice exists for all

When clearly thats a lie

My exhausted heart doesn’t understand this.

 

As much as I’d prefer that reality then

the one I live in

I just can’t ignore the

black lives stolen

the dead names following

another sad hashtag

I can’t pretend

I don’t notice

the brown hands of the families

left behind

desperately trying to hail Justice

like a cab

only to be left abandoned at

the side of the road

 

So here I find myself once again

Torn

Bothered

Conflicted

Don’t get me wrong

Everything in me wants to shout from the

roof top the truth

I’m not comfortable this time

with staying silent (And I won’t)

But if I’m honest

There’s still that five year old girl

part of me

 

You know

The one who doesn’t want to ruin the fun

The one who doesn’t want to be seen as the angry black woman

The one who really doesn’t

want to acknowledge the rain

When everyone only wants to keep talking about the parade

I rather not be known as the one who poops on parties

Trust me

No person just wakes up one day

deciding to march

protest

resist

speak up

Because it makes them popular

It’s because they value truth

over fun

 

I wish I had the luxury

to remain quiet this time

Sorry to kill your vibe

But the cost is too high

I know that Justice won’t

be sneaking down the chimney with care

It won’t be leaving money

under pillows so folks can

save up for freedom

With all due respect,

I can not wait for you

to leisurely figure out this one

There are lives at stake

 

So even at the risk of ruining your

pleasant evening of scrolling

Through hilarious memes

light hearted statuses

and pics of children

(I enjoy and post all those too)

I’m going to go ahead and say

his name:

Philando Castile

Knowing it may bother you

Understanding that you may not see it that way

Accepting the fact that some may not see me the same

 

But its truth

Ugly

depressing

unsettling truth

And its the acknowledgment of this truth

not wishful thinking

that sets the oppressed free

That being said

I do not believe that everyone

is deliberately trying to promote

a lie ( although there are some)

I just think the truth isn’t as fun to hear

 

But this truth

This sad

Painful

Devastating truth

is a secret

my mama wouldn’t ever tell me

to keep to myself

and even if she did

I wouldn’t

Not this time.

 

~Megan

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