Like eyes adjusting to the light after a long dark night, this civic unrest has jump started a shock to my system, a restlessness in my mind, body, and spirit that I cannot shake.
My inhales are heavy with desperation. I exhale a tormented, trapped breath. A breath that until recently, has been housed for years within my lungs, as I hear the recent conversations.
Still. Terror lingers just beneath my skin; my body reeking of fear. “You are safe. You are okay.” …and yet… I’m on edge, jittery, and fighting for air.
With headline after headline, I feel how precious each day I have on this earth is, right down to the soles of my feet.
The echoes of these traumas that live within my bones tell me that although more ears are listening, more eyes are watching, and I am not alone, I am still not safe.
My coiled hair remains a beacon, my black skin remains a threat. No matter my surroundings, my knees stubbornly knock together.
For I know in this country, I will never stand on truly solid ground.
Celeste Poe is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University and a predoctoral fellow in the Yale Child Study Center’s early childhood track. Celeste’s clinical and research interests include BIPOC mental health, childhood trauma, and pediatric psychology, with an emphasis in early childhood and maternal mental health. She is especially passionate about the prevention and early intervention of intergenerational trauma in underserved families.