One of my colleagues, a friend of mine, walked by while I was reading Niobe's latest post on Goo.gle.Reader. He was stopped in his tracks by the title. Not sure what to make of it. Of course, I could see he was kind of horrified by it. He paused and I could see him trying to make sense of it.
This is why I like him. He stopped to react, didn't just go on his way and judge me. I paused, too, sort of embarrassed "does he think I'm actually reading dead.baby.jokes?"
I just said, It's a way to reclaim the words. He smiled a little sheepish, but said, Yeah. Okay, I see it. And he quietly took it in.
As a Black man in this world, he knows a lot about the power of words and the power of reclaiming words. But I still wonder, what does he think? Will he forget this? I don't think so, he doesn't seem the type. I think he'll try to work this through, if briefly. Those words: dead.baby.jokes are jarring.
That's one of the things I love about Niobe's writing, is that aside from her beautiful use of the the language, she doesn't mince words. The honesty in her writing can be jarring sometimes.
So, yes, I think he'll think about it a little bit. But what will he think? Will he judge me? Will he think it's weird? That I'm damaged now? A freak? Different?
Well, I guess I am. Certainly that phrase is not as virulent and hateful as some others that have been reclaimed (the n-word, queer), but I think it does give voice to an under-represented group: We who have dead babies. We are not ashamed. We are grieving.