I want to be the modern Harriet Tubman.
In high school I loved hip-hop. My chest would swell as Cee-lo Green sung about rising up above struggle. I’d fight back empowered tears as I did my calculus homework after a pleasant dinner in my safe suburban neighborhood.
What struggle, what trials, what tribulations!
I resort to self-mockery because it is hard to hold the absurdity of a white southern male resonating with the escape from slavery and oppression. But the pride was real and bass still bumps in suburbia.
There is a reason why we quicken when Bob Marley exhorts us emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. Sometimes it takes every external option being laid before us to reveal the true nature of our slavery, the real direction of liberation.
Fear, shame and ignorance are the new masters. They whip us with unconscious stories about our self-worth and what is meaningful. They put us to work on projects to build their own power. And as they drain our creative power we begin to forget we ever held that power.
That’s why I want to be Harriet Tubman. I’m done with it. I’m in route right now. These essays are my field-notes, maps and journals. And once I cross the mental Mason-Dixon I’m gonna grab a quick bite to eat, a sip of water and turn right back around.