I’m moving. Such a funny word, moving, for this thing we do when we pack up our belongings and relocate ourselves. I mean hopefully we’re always moving, in some form or fashion. “Big move,” people will say when they learn I’m heading to the opposite coast. Aren’t they all big? Or don’t they at all least feel big? And anyway, I am choosing to move. And right about now, that makes me a very fortunate person.
Lots of people are moving right now. They are moving out of homes they can no longer pay for; or because they are sick and don’t want to infect loved ones. Some people are being moved to tears because of the blatant immorality that continues to play out in our streets, behavior that does not even try to hide itself anymore thanks to the encouragement of the so-called president and his evil set of lackeys. Others of us have even been moved to do something about what we see happening in this world. We are moved to protest, write letters, sign petitions, and ruin polite conversation by calling people out. Others yet are being moved to heartbreak, losing people they know and love. And even losing people they don’t actually know but still love. I saw a post from a mental health organization that explained why we grieve for people we never met — like Kobe and Chadwick and George. It noted how the work of these folks may have gotten us through a hard time, or that perhaps their deaths triggered our own fears of dying. One thing that was not mentioned was the sinking feeling of inevitability one experiences upon seeing yet another Black man die prematurely in this country.
So I am moving. Because I want to. No, I am not moving “for a job,” that would be way too practical and linear for me. But I have the privilege of moving because I don’t want to end up where I am. And I think I am talking about my geography, but it may well be that I know something deep down and that I must move my self, my belongings, and my cat in order not to end up where I am in some other way. (Which is far from a bad place already, but there’s always more better).
Like so many people, this pandemic has left me asking a lot of questions of myself. It feels like a game of musical chairs in that moment that the music stops playing. Some people are left with no chair at all. They are out. We know who they are. Those of us lucky enough to hold onto a chair have time to think about where that chair is and what we want to do on it. (Because the music is still off and we are only in the middle of this very long game). Some of us have taken a look around at the people in the other chairs and said to ourselves, Hmm, next time the music starts up I want to be somewhere else entirely before it stops again. That’s what I thought sometime around May when it was clear that the music had no intention of starting back up any time soon. Those of us who have the opportunity to assess our lives are very fortunate right now. We might not necessarily like the results of these self-assessments, but if we’re willing to pay attention to them then our outcomes could be pretty brilliant.
I read that John Africa, the founder of the 1970s Black liberation group MOVE, said that he chose the name (not an acronym) because, “Everything that’s alive moves. If it didn’t, it would be stagnant, dead. Movement is the principle of Life…” (http://onamove.com/about/).
It really is the principle of life isn’t it? And I for one am going to keep on moving in order to keep on living during this time where so much of society is stagnant. So yeah, I’m moving.