My Natural Awakening (Sleep No More)
Jun 01, 2020 09:00AM
By Kim Green
For centuries, the word “woke” was a heinous assault on proper English. But the world has changed, and this sinewy four-letter word is no longer an accidental misuse of the passive derivative of awake.
“Woke” has arrived, carrying the weight of millions on its back.
The word “woke,” has been chosen by the young, the black and the unapologetically conscious.
aThe term has even officially made it into dictionary.com with its very own definition: “actively aware of systemic injustices and prejudices, especially those related to civil and human rights.”“Woke” has safely reached the shores.
For me, “woke” is about understanding all of the complex nuances of my identity. It has been a crucial foundation for the design of my wholeness. Being woke has freed me from illusions and delusions of justice and equity that have burdened my life with confusion and dismissal. Sleep weighed me down with the synthetic fluff of fantasy. “Woke” is where life lives. It is a cause for celebration.
I must confess: I’ve slept—as so many of us have. It’s been hard to get “woke” when it’s so much easier to live in a dream state, relying on translucent promises that rain from above. These deceptions have led me to rationalize, omit and ignore any facts that threatened my complacency as a black girl in a white world. I slept because it was easier and because it seemed non-threatening. I slept because it was the yellow brick road to acceptance. Luckily, I discovered that lazy slumber does not contribute to life; it only begets lies that will bury us.
Learning all I can about the ragged truth of our shared history, I fathom how we landed here. With precious knowing, my soul is at rest. When my nerves are rattled by battle cries, I have a new appreciation for who I must be, standing at the center of a world torn at the seams. In my wokefulness, there are no surprises, only possibility, as the earth wrestles with the gravitas of spirit versus the vulgarity of earthly appetite.
Wokefulness has gifted me with courage to ask what I never had the guts to ask before. Who am I and what am I doing on this earth? And, what am I doing to it? What do I take from others, just to boast of more? Do I have the right to decide who’s welcome and who’s not?
Wokefulness has emboldened me to even question those who came before me, those who were able to avert their gaze from human cruelty in action. The gift of discernment reminds me that I am not them. I am “woke”—along with millions of others—and that is the fuel that is changing our world for the better. I am hardened and healed every time I feel the cuts of racism, sexism and all the phobias that try to put me in boxes that I can’t escape. But I do, anyway.
In a time where truth is at a premium and facts have lost their footing, being woke is my personal compass for finding the hope that still exists, despite the pains. Awareness has carefully groomed me with a shimmering rage that strengthens me and keeps me whole. Wokeness insists that I am grounded in the parts of my existence that no one can take from me: love, family, friendship and God.
Questioning what I have learned and earning what I know prepare me to fight harder. I remain uber-woke and endlessly sleepless. Who can sleep with the constant cacophony of the twisted masses? I hear them and still know that change is coming. I fight mostly for a place where all of us—not just a chosen few—can lay our heads with dignity.
Being woke fuels me and gives me permission to shed my blood, sweat and tears on paper for the world to ingest. My “woke” is my truth. Pain is the eternal wake-up call, the alarm clock for the slumbering. It alerts me to the urgent need for truth and my ultimate healing.
Author and coach, Kim Green created Blank Page Consulting to work with clients who are ready for transformation in their writing or in their lives. Reach her at BlankPageConsult.com or 678-938-2777.