I gotta confession.
I ain’t perfect. Far from it. No matter how much my momma stresses to me that I’m the tallest, most handsome boy/man to ever grace the state of Mississippi and possibly the whole earth, I ain’t perfect.
My imperfections are many.
I recall this one imperfection when I got intoxicated at a Washington, D.C. day party. For those who don’t know, D.C. day parties are the shit. It’s filled with endless trap music, endless drinks and endless bougie black people, going back and forth over the stresses of working on Capitol Hill and/or who is in their top 5 (this applies to basketball and/or hip hop).
The endless drinks started catching up to me this one time at this one DC day party. In the party, with trap music blasting into both ears, I was fine. Once I walked outside, and the trap music grew fainter, I was less fine. I was stumbling.
I was fucked up.
I get to my car. I told the friend I was with that I was good and I would meet him at our next destination. I wasn’t fine, though. I was ugly. I was struggling. But I decided to imperfectly crank my car up, anyway. Even though I knew I wasn’t fine. Even though I knew I was ugly. But fuck it, I can figure it out, right? We’ve all been not sober behind the wheel once or twice, so why not chance it a third time, right?
“But, nah,” my body said, as I attempted to venture away from my perfectly parked parallel spot. And so I listened. I listened to my body. I said to my body, “OK, I hear you.” So I stopped fighting what my body was telling me. I kept the car in it’s perfect positioned parallel spot and I took the keys out of the ignition. I fell asleep. It was still light outside, because you know, I was at a Day party and shit.
But then I wake up.
It’s dark. Like, dark, dark. I’m confused. I’m still in my car, but my phone dead. I’m delusional. My imperfection this day carried over into the night. I was so confused, trying to figure out what time it was, how I got there, and where I was trying to go. I was scared, to be honest. Scared of my surroundings. Scared of the people casually walking on the street. Scared of everything.
Fortunately, I had enough time to gather my thoughts. I had enough time to “come to” as my Mississippi roots always told me. I “came to” and ventured to the closest open establishment, without even noticing the lack of open establishments. It was late. But I didn’t notice lateness.
I was just…confused.
Lucky for me, there was an open, semi welcoming establishment, albeit confused why the tallest, most handsome man the state of Mississippi ever produced (again, according to my momma) was also confused. I was delirious. But I had enough time to gather my thoughts to ask for a phone charger. My phone comes on. It’s well past midnight.
“Fuck,” I say to myself.
Then the texts start rolling in. My girlfriend; my cousin; my daddy; my friend; my friend’s friend; my conscious; everyone was texting me, worried. I fucked up.
My momma doesn’t even know about this story. Why would I tell her an imperfection as imperfect as this? As flawed as this. My imperfection didn’t cost me my life, that night. Instead, my imperfection was admonished by those close to me, excluding my dear momma. Being ridiculed by those who loved me is enough. I got it.
I try to know better, now.
Rayshard Brooks fell asleep in his car, too. He fucked up. He made the decision that should’ve got admonished by his loved ones also, maybe even his momma. When he was awakened, he didn’t have the opportunity “to “come to.” He didn’t have an opportunity to figure out the why. And now his momma mourns his death.
My momma would be shocked to find this story. Shocked at my imperfections. But she would’ve cried if my imperfection led to my death. Because this imperfection, no matter how imperfect we deem it, shouldn’t lead to my death. Rayshard Brooks tried to admit to his imperfection. Plead that his imperfection could be corrected. Pleaded that he could right his wrong.
But, they didn’t listen. They didn’t have to listen.
And so, Rayshard Brooks resisted, thus committing another imperfection. He was probably delirious, as I was, from the previous imperfection of falling asleep after having too much to drink. And yet, that second imperfection resulted in a death sentence. That second imperfection, which stemmed from that first imperfection shouldn’t have been a death warrant. But it was for Rayshard Brooks. And that shit hurts, because his momma probably thought he was perfect, too.
But that doesn’t really matter, does it? Because his momma is crying, wondering how his imperfections destroyed his life.
Because, you know, we all imperfect…
and black, imperfect lives matter, too.
Leslie McLemore writes about a lot of different shit for Black With No Chaser. He is also the Takeaway Kang and is the father of two beautiful girls, one of which gets on every nerve he has. The other one is sweet. So, you know, balance.
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