Why are people so gotdamn nosy?
Maybe it’s my hormones, but I’ve been highly annoyed by people’s entitlement to other folk’s personal business. Maybe it’s the social media age we live in where information is received and spread as it’s happening; before it can even unfold in its entirety. People will literally post their newborn baby before the cheesy shit is cleaned off them. I know way too many intimate details about strangers, and even with my conservative Capricorn nature, there are way too many strangers who know too many intimate details about me. In grief, this can feel even more intrusive. The question that has me feeling violated most recently is: “Is this your first?”
Bitch. It’s complicated.
That’s what I want to say. But even though I’m known for having a sharp tongue I wouldn’t respond this way. It’s rude. Same as a stranger trying to keep my womb count like my gynecologist, but whatever. For them it’s not that deep, but for me I’m placed in between a rock and a hard place. If I say ‘yes’, I feel like a traitor. As if I’m not acknowledging my first son. As if I did not give natural birth to him. Or witness his perfect little face with his father’s nice nose and my pretty full lips with my own eyes. Cairo Z’aire Jackson. A baby with a name and a family that anticipated him with so much love and excitement. A baby so tangible that we had to decide whether to bury or cremate him.
If I say ‘no’, because Cairo’s life matters; because I don’t want to lie, the follow up questions come. All smiles, somebody’s momma, auntie, sister, cousin, homie but stranger to me asks, “Howoldisyourotherchildisitaboyorgirl?”
He was a baby. Was. He passed, as a baby. Which leads to that blank sympathetic stare that I’ve learned to smile through to minimize the awkwardness that somebody’s innocent curiosity led them dead into (no pun intended). From that point I might have to comfort said stranger, convincing them that I’m okay whether I am or not on that particular day. I may have to hear about their cousin who had a miscarriage so they can relate (eye roll), or gently guide them away from questions of how (‘cause I still don’t know). Hopefully it ends with simple well wishes for a healthy pregnancy and prayers for a healthy son in April, because by now they’ve also asked what I’m having and when I’m due. Then we part ways with one more stranger knowing way too many intimate details about my life. Is anything sacred? Naw! Lolbs
To not end on a completely cynical note, minding one another’s business can be powerful. In grief we are moved by dates. Time stamps that remind us that what feels so fucking unreal actually happened. January 26th marks a new day in history. Yesterday, we lost NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who passed unexpectantly with his daughter GiGi. Tomorrow, three years ago, I had a gender reveal hosted by my best friend who’s since passed away, for a baby who never drew air. Her daughter’s birthday is next month, same week as my son’s. I know you’re like, “I thought this was finna take a positive turn…?” I’m getting there, dang! Hurt makes you conscious of every lil’ memory you can hold onto, and numbers, dates specifically, makes things more concrete. Folks we don’t know and will likely never meet, attach to these dates also. They send their love at those times, that probably pop up in their memories when they were being nosy. They put on their Lakers jersey’s and share their favorite memories online. They comment on the Live video they tuned into the day of your gender reveal. They send their thoughts and prayers. That energy is felt. And those strangers make it a little harder to feel completely alone in your grief. So if you’re reading this, and I don’t know you, thanks for minding my business. I hope I can reciprocate if you should ever need me to.