Time stopped as I lied down on my bed. I had just bought a bed cover and I wanted to enjoy the moment by watching the late sunset light in between the buildings in front of my window. My stomach burned and two things came to my mind.
When I was a child and most of my life I shared a bedroom with my brother. He used to call me selfish because I was always watching if he passed the imaginary line that divided his part of the area and mine.
Mom had made sure each of their children would sleep comfortable enough so each of us got a very cool bed cover. I picked the green one. Over twenty years later I picked the green one again. While looking at the sky slowly getting darker, I time-traveled there: to my old bedroom. That is when the second thing started to weigh heavier.
There were moments in my life when all I could do was to tolerate my own silence, there in my bedroom with the green bed cover, without understanding the unfairness in the world and its inequality. The only thing I wanted was peace. But it never came from outside.
In a discussion with a Romanian taxi driver, where he questioned my choice of country of residence, his argument was that humankind constantly wants more possessions and that Romania was not the country to give me those two Mercedes-Benz I would normally desire. That is where I stopped him and said: we cannot continue this conversation if we start it by assuming we all want the same in life.
Because we don’t.
Floyd’s assassination proves so and in line with the campaigns fighting against racism, I have been suggested to stay silent on social media for some days. The word “silence” resonated in my brain like the sound produced by scratching a plate with a metal fork.
I remember an audiovisual production company recruited kids for two commercials. I was picked. But in the swimming pool scene I was the only put aside. And during the class scene I was put in the back. The other kids starring the ad, guess what, were white.
I remember I was asked to lend my violin to a guy that I thought needed it to play. Then I found out he didn’t. The faculty was going to film again the scene they recorded with me playing the violin. Except that this time it was a handsome guy. Wait, no, a white one.
At work I was once told I would always struggle to find better job opportunities because I didn’t go to a better university. Her university. Wait, she is white.
At work I was once told I did not have the paternal figure skills to lead. I am still trying to figure out what that really meant. Oh, wait again, I was told so by someone white.
If I become silent, it is because I am praying. Praying that what I say next will be wise and have a real impact. Racism is not the only way of violence. Also it is violence when we do not speak about what is wrong. About what is killing us. About what is killing others. I am going to speak. I am going to say it. I am no longer a kid that can only watch. I am no longer voiceless.
My voice today is not to educate the ignorant. It is to support the hurt. To let you know that my voice has an impact and so does yours wherever you are. Some might put their knees on your neck so that you can’t breathe. So that you can’t move on. To keep you silent. Because they think they are better than you. Because they think you are powerless.
That is when you have to raise your voice.
That is when I will raise mine. Not only on internet, but face to face.
Together we will let them know we are not alone.
Because we are not.