When People Demand That We Be ‘Harder’ and ‘Stronger’

The world is only hard because of them.

There’s this thing in the United States, and perhaps the world, where we’re despised for showing any vulnerability, for having emotions, for displaying moments of weakness.

People become visibly disgusted and demand that we be “harder” and “stronger.”

I think, at base, this pathology is a strange combination of ableism, femmeantagonism, and sadism.

I think the demand for us to be harder and stronger is made because those people want to abuse and harm us, and want us to be able to withstand that abuse and harm so that they can act it out on our bodies perpetually — not unlike white plantation owners who whipped enslaved Africans into puddles of flesh.

There’s this thing in the United States, and perhaps the world, where we’re despised for showing any vulnerability.

Remember how angry the plantation owner got when they discovered the enslaved African they just finished ripping to shreds had died from the torture? That the black body was not as invulnerable as they had hoped, and what a waste, and now they would have to find some other specimen, some other black body, to bring to the brink of destruction, and hope that they, themselves, could find the perfect balance between restraint and brutality so that the black body would bruise, bleed, and break, yes, but survive as well?

I witness that desire in a lot of people I encounter. They have all sorts of justifications for it. “The world is hard,” they say, “and I’m just giving you the tools to endure it.” They don’t tell us, though, that the world is only hard because of them, and that it doesn’t have to be that way, but their lack of humanity has doomed it to be a place where touch is necessarily corrupt instead of healing.

They don’t tell us that the world is only hard because of them, and that it doesn’t have to be that way.

For some, it’s in the blood. For others, it’s inherited. In others still, it’s internalized. And by whatever means it infected their souls, all of them believe it righteous; it’s deified in their works.

And because we have to defend ourselves against them, we’re left no choice but to engage the violence with our own. Striking them down when we’re able. Casting them out when it’s preferable. Killing them when we’re left no other choice. Losing, because killing them is what they wanted, and a wry smile appears on their face when our hands are around their throats, like Rose in Get Out, because they’ve left their mark upon us and they are, therefore, immortal, for we shall surely pass the mark on to others, and others onto others, forever and ever, ad nauseum. We’ve succeeded in defending ourselves, but they won.

This is the conundrum of peace:

No one will ever let us have it without a fight.

And the fight, thus, makes it impossible.

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