Every time I travel to a new place, I get exposed to different issues and ways of life that mess me up for a while, if I'm being quite honest. This while can last me for years, as I still haven't quite recovered from the way Ghana turned my life upside down for the better.
It's simple, but it's crazy to me how experiencing another group of people's "normal" can make you question your own. Since returning back from Ghana, I've been heavily critical of the social state of the U.S. I do not in any way hate the U.S, nor am I against my birth country, but I am critical of the way Americans function as a society on a daily basis, and it's important that I make that distinction before I continue.
This is a country that prides itself on being a melting pot and accepting of other cultures, yet immigrants and first-generation citizens are constantly treated like they belong at the bottom of the barrel, and it's something I think about every single day. Imagine fighting hard FOR YEARS to get to a country for a "better life," only to realize that the better life was really where you came from.
While the U.S is a country filled with opportunity, the everyday way of living is one I will never get accustomed to--and I've lived here my entire 21 years of life. The unintentional disregard for seeing people as people. The weird superiority complex as not only a country but individually with always needing to be recognized and validated. The impatience that overtakes people to the point where lives can be lost (car accidents). Not saying these things can't happen anywhere, but if you know, you know.
Honestly? I have an extreme fear of death anytime I'm in the U.S, which is where almost all of my anxiety stems from. I didn't understand that my anxiety was environmental until I studied abroad in Ghana for 2 months and only had a bad mental health day once, whereas I feel like I'm always fighting for sanity here. I don't fear death when I am abroad because I love my every day. I wake up excited to go outside and take in fresh air, and a lot of the crazy events that happen in my home country are rare in others.
If something big is happening in my life and I'm in the U.S, I try not to leave my house too much. I'm scared that I might get into a car accident (mainly), or find myself in the middle of a shoot-out, or something else crazy that I hear about every day. Shit, will I become a hashtag one day?
These thoughts don't exist anywhere else, and I hate that I feel like I can't live my life as freely because being Black in this country is something to fear. This post was inspired by seeing a Blue Lives Matter flag hang from the side of another American citizen's home today. Not that I've never seen a Blue Lives Matter flag before, but it hit different today. My patience is running out regarding explaining to people why Black Lives Matter because a realization I came to a few months ago when people just realized racism was a thing is that it's not that people don't understand. It's that they don't care. Never did and never will. Terminology is important here.
And this is a small glimpse into the thoughts that run through my mind every single day as a Black woman in the U.S because I don't have a choice but to think about these things.