Today, for our non-quiz, I gave them a prompt anyway, but this time no quotes from authors, no high theories, no page numbers or evidence. I asked them in what ways they have or are in the process of decolonizing themselves. Chalk spider legs defined decolonization as autonomy. Regaining power. Liberation. Freedom. Self-expression and definition. Flow. Home.
Snaps followed stories and a bit of what liberation tastes like to them. A bit of what pulls them to gouge out rope fibers now fused into wrists and seek more. Later, in my office, with stacks of staggered college ruled papers, printer cranking, multitasking in full effect, I glanced over the ones not shared aloud. And this one, this line stood out as one of the most poignant reflections I’ve read in a while. She wrote…. decolonization is when...
“…no one feels like they are living in a world made for someone else…”
A white, female student in my class. She described her commitment to a future decolonized self, one that understood the effects of her white privilege and vigorously advocated for racial justice. Why wish for that consciousness, one that can be so heavy to accept. One that exposes how one could, does, inadvertently, build and maintain an exclusive world, one livable only to the privileged. What does it feel like to live in a world where you were never meant to survive? Where others, not you, were born with the conditions to thrive? A world made for someone else….
And this decolonized world of her imagination...I wonder if we can stick our hands underneath layers of asphalt and pull up clumps of wet, slick clay. Smash it through our finger webbings, cool and pulpy. And rebuild. This time with all of our hands. This time with feeling intact. I wonder if the new world we create can hold all our desires. And I wonder what belonging and safety untethered from the fists of the elite would feel like.
I think it would feel like canopies of ancient trees longing to meet. Like a trance of perpetual violet sunsets. Like constellations when our eyes and arms and hearts seek each other. I think it would feel like coming home to the world.