Grief as Rebellion
Part of the Invisible Diaries series:
Week 10 / Day 7
The final day of my Invisible Diaries is upon us. What a way to get back into a mildly creative writing practice.
Reflection for today feels two-fold. I look back at Day One and love the scope of my ambition – but, ultimately (rightly?), I opted to trace smaller moments and calls to action. Having strategized a potential arc for the week, I realized there was no sense in trying to fit my days into boxes, or offer neat takeaways. A week ago, I didn’t know my work would center teach-ins; a week ago, I didn’t know I’d have a sweet someone leaving me baked goods and dinner. But I’m finding patterns in my ever-evolving routine, as my day, like the others, featured check-ins with friends and family, tracking and responding to actions, and coordinating public-facing projects.
It’s been a joy to sift through musings and document my days. Generally, this labor and reflection lives in my Instagram, but this quasi-long-form word-centered sharing has reminded me there is value in giving a bit more space to process everything – not just my work, but the world I’m doing it in.
It leaves me wondering about all of the people who are no longer with us.
What sits heavy with me is just how many people we’ve lost during this time. The pandemic has taken almost half a million lives globally. And, in America, the police continue to kill more people than any other “developed” country with a majority of those deaths being Black folks.
Prime time for a revolution, don’t you think? We are in the midst of one here.
What also sits heavy with me is how much there is still to hold and process. Where does collective grief live? What does collective mourning look like? It seems egregious that we keep moving and pushing without a pause for acknowledgement, a breath. Like much of the conversation we are seeing around abolition, processing grief is another action with a robust history and tactics. One of my favorite online publications has been providing me much solace and re-focusing when I find myself dipping into hopelessness. Truthout published a podcast interview (with transcript available) called “In the Era of COVID-19, Collective Grief is Rebellion”.
Processing this slice of time, writing about this slice of time, has taken as much of a toll as it has provided fuel. For me, these diaries serve as a means to remember and remind. They’re a looking backwards and forwards – knowing that forwards rarely transpires on our terms, but that we still have more power than we realize to shape it.
Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel (she/they) is a Chicago/Austin-based dramaturg, journalist, and oral hxstorian. Their multi-disciplinary work as a queer, fat, brown, femme endeavours to amplify and archive stories that go lost/stolen/forgotten. Select bylines include essays and arts criticism with American Theatre, Chicago Reader, Windy City Times, Rescripted, The Austin Chronicle, and Sightlines. They are currently pursuing an MA in Performance as Public Practice at the University of Texas at Austin.
Learn more at www.yasminzacaria.com and follow them on Twitter/IG @yasminzacaria.
Photography is courtesy of the author.