Trinity: The Black Reality.

“Baby, you can fall down in the mud, but you don’t have to wallow in it.”

“I’m tellin’ you. It ain’t easy.”

Two sayings. Two grandmothers. Both mine. Both true. One more saying. This one’s true too.

“This won’t kill me. I won’t die here.”

Martha Washington: The Black Reality. Like my grandmothers, Martha Washington grew up in a hostile environment—America. More specifically for Martha, she was raised in an alternate version of the Cabrini Green housing development, which existed as a cordoned-off area of Chicago intended to house those that the government deemed to be undesirable. The Green was relegated to those who were black and those who were poor. As a child, Martha received substandard housing and substandard healthcare. She attended school in a decrepit building outfitted with exposed pipes and outdated school supplies.

What did Martha need with a decent education? To her country and to her government, she was simply fuel for a brick and mortar Ouroboros. Like her father before her, she was raised to live and die in the Green—nothing more than a lump of coal to keep society’s dirty engine running. Funny things happen to lumps of coal when you apply enough pressure. They get hard, durable, and sharp enough to cut anything.

Martha cuts her way out of the Green by stabbing a hook deep within the murderer of her teacher and mentor. For her violent act, she’s sent away to a correctional facility for the mentally ill. She moves from a metaphorical prison to a real one, but she is out of the Green. She is one step closer to freedom. The Black Reality is that freedom isn’t given, but it can most certainly be fought for. And Martha is the most skilled of fighters. The Green has honed her to perfection.

And when Martha finally escapes the confines of the correctional facility, she does what she has been trained to do. She becomes a legally sanctioned fighter—a soldier. Her record is wiped clean and she takes one more step towards her liberation.

“I’m telling you. It ain’t easy.”

The Black Reality is that you have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition. Martha works four times as hard and gets all of it. She saves her country numerous times. She exposes her detractors for the dangerous and deluded beings they are. She does not do this for glory, but because her will and desire for freedom is simply that strong. She is that special.

“Baby, you can fall down in the mud, but you don’t have to wallow in it.”

Just because it ain’t easy doesn’t mean it’s always hard. The Black Reality is that joy can shine through like a jewel even in a setting of heartbreak and pain. And Martha is able to find love in the harshest of environments from her mother, her mentor, her lover, and her friends. Even when the weight of the world is upon her shoulders, in her small circle she is cherished and admired and appreciated.

“This won’t kill me. I won’t die here.”

The Black Reality is that sometimes the fruits of our labor will be the ones to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Yes, technically, we do die. However, we live on in the ones we leave behind. Every freedom I enjoy was fought for by my mother, and my mother’s mother. And so on. Never ending. Immortal. Martha does not get to see peace in her homeland, but she knows that her progeny will take her wisdom and one day forge a peaceful nation with it. She endures the Black Reality so that her descendants may become the Black Ideal. And a new Reality will be formed by those who follow the blazing path Martha set before them. She shines like a diamond. Because she is one.