My Pain is Real

The medical community has a deep dark history regarding the pain of Black women. Black women are seen as superhuman. The reason we are given this moniker is because no one seems to believe us when we say we are in pain. I have learned this the hard way.

Today I cried. I cried happy tears. I cried tears of anger. I cried tears of joy. And I cried tears of sadness. I was a whole crying mess. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of vindication and I was so excited about it.

Now I bet you’re asking? What happened? What was wrong? Or better yet what went right? Before I tell you what happened today, I need to first tell you about what led up to the events of today.

I grew up on a animal farm and helped raise a variety of animals including pitbulls, goats, sheep, and horses. I was a fairly active child and teen but rarely ever did long distance running. And when I say long distance running I mean I rarely if ever did any running. The few times I did run, my legs would start to cramp and I would quickly stop the running or jogging or fast walking that I was doing. So needless to say, since my pre-teen years I have had a disdain for running or generally any cardio exercise. In my mind exercise was equated with physical farm labor or correlated to painful cramps in my legs.

run running GIF

Fast forward to my college years, post baby and post baby weight, I wanted to lose weight. In order to lose weight I had to exercise. My friends tried to help me workout.They had great intentions and I wanted to exercise. But again as I would try to workout my legs, the cramps would come. My friends and family would encourage me to push through the pain and stretch out my legs more. Their encouragement and recommendations felt futile because the leg pain just would not subside. I resigned myself to thinking that exercise was simply not my thing.

Bad Run GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
Running in pain

As I grew older I continued to gain more weight. As I gained weight I struggled with diet and exercise. The diet part was fairly easy to change when I put my mind to meal prep but the exercise part remained my achilles heel.

From age 12-36, I have struggled with these severe leg cramp like pains. I’ve been told by numerous personal trainers, doctors, and friends and family (many in the medical field) that I just needed to stretch my legs and work through the pain. Exercise is painful but as you train your body through exercise the pain will subside. I tried this. I worked through the pain but once the pain got intolerable I would stop cold turkey. I hired many different personal trainers. I notified them of the limitations of my legs. they would be mindful at first but as we continued to workout together they continued to push me as trainers are trained to do. This lack of respect of my boundaries would eventually lead me to to stop working with them after I felt they were negating my complaints of pain.

fitness running GIF by Gunpowder & Sky

As time progressed this inability to exercise began to seep into my soul’s understanding of my self-worth. I saw myself as a lazy unmotivated person. A person who just would not overcome her fears and was simply a coward for not doing the work to exercise like I needed to in order to lose weight.

This year I was more purposeful about utilizing my health insurance. I have United Healthcare thanks to my job the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCCADV pays for employees’ health insurance. This was my second full year of having adequate insurance in my adult life.

the goldbergs television GIF

After trying to walk multiple miles a day, my legs continued to cramp up causing me excruciating pain. I refused to take “just stretch” as an answer anymore. I set up an appointment with my primary care physician and requested a podiatrist referral so they could figure out what was really wrong with me.

On August 5, 2020 I went to my doctor for my annual appointment and demanded that I be referred to a specialist. I said I wanted to see a podiatrist because I believed that my leg pain was caused by the way I walked. She recommended that I see a sports medicine doctor. My appointment with Dr. Lee at UNC Sports Medicine was scheduled for Sept 4th.

During my appointment with Dr. Lee, he asked me about my medical history regarding my bilateral leg pains. He listened to every work I said. He asked follow up questions. He answered every question I had about all of his questions. And finally he gave me a proposed diagnosis.

I think you may have Chronic Exertion Compartmental Syndrome.

Dr. Lee, Sept. 4, 2020.

“Huh? What in the word is that” I asked. He explained to me that it is a relatively rare condition that exists in certain people where the soft tissue around the leg muscles are wrapped too tight around around the muscle.

The pain increases in intensity as the patient continues exercising. An athlete will discontinue the activity when the pain, muscle tightness, or muscle dysfunction becomes unbearable. Pain and tightness resolve after a rest period. Patients typically describe pain as burning, aching, or pressure. A patient may also complain of being unable to achieve the same level of exercise the day after symptoms occur. Symptoms occur bilaterally 70–80% of the time [72529]. Other symptoms include numbness and tingling in the dermatomal distribution of the nerve running through the compartment or weakness of the affected muscle. A classic presentation of compartment syndrome would be a runner who experiences burning in the leg and numbness on the dorsum of the foot 15 min into a run. The burning and numbness resolve within 30 min of rest.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941579/

Before he could make a definitive diagnosis he would first need to perform a pressure test on both of my legs. The test required him to check the pressure in each of my lower legs and then check it again after I went on a treadmill and walked until my legs began to cramp. We scheduled the appointment for the following Friday, September 11, 2020.

I can’t lie y’all the test sounded extra scary. I was so scared to do the test that I called and canceled the test the morning of Friday, September 11th. I rescheduled it for the following Friday morning, September 18, 2020 which bring me to today – September 18.

Today was my appointment. I was ready for all the injections and the pain that was to come. I got to my appointment right on time for 9:15Am. My nurse for the morning smiled and eased my anxiety by letting me know that although it was going to be a difficult test, I will leave here with answers.

Nisha anxiously waiting in exam room of doctor’s office

I waited in the exam room for roughly 45 minutes until Dr. Lee, the nurse, and a student shadowing him entered the room. They entered with a rolling tray full of needles. Dr. Lee first made multiple markings on legs for where he would insert the needles. He then sprayed my right leg with numbing spray and inserted a needle with a numbing agent to numb the soft tissue in my leg. He did this twice on each of the sides of my lower legs. After waiting a few minutes for the numbing medicine to take effect, he then checked the pressure in two spots on both my legs.

He wanted to make sure I didn’t see him stick the long needle in my legs so he used his arms to block my view. As he inserted each needle I hummed and groaned along with the music I was playing in my ear. As the doctor asked me how I felt I replied “aight, I guess.” He responded with “I can’t tell if you being straight forward or sarcastic” and I replied “it’s both.” As he continued with each injection, I continued to hum out loud while digging my nails into my arm in an effort to distract myself from the pain. Singing was the pleasant distraction I needed.

After taking the pressure in my legs, Dr. Lee said “Wow those are some high pressure levels.” I asked somewhat sarcastically if that was a good or bad thing. He replied it is both. It is good because it is a good indication that his diagnosis was correct but bad because the numbers were abnormally high. What is the average baseline pressure? The baseline pressure is usually between 15 mmhg – 30 mmhg in a “normal” person but the pre-exercise pressure was 50 mmhg & 50 mmhg in my right leg and 60 mmhg & 57 mmhg in my left leg. Even though my pressure numbers were so high, Dr. Lee still wanted to do the exercise portion of the exam so that he could complete the test and fully verify his diagnosis.

If you are seeking to center your soul during a particularly scary medical procedure, listen to Leon Bridges’ song Coming Home. As the song came to an end, Dr. Lee finished his last injection. Now it was time for me to go on the treadmill.

Leon Bridge Coming Home

After wiping the blood off my legs from the injection spots, the nurse wrapped my leg with a lime green bandage. I put on my Machel Montano playlist to jam too as I began walking. I walked on the treadmill for about 7.5 minutes at speed of 3.5 before my legs began to ache and my feet started to feel numb.

Walking on treadmill.

Within a minute of being off of the treadmill, Dr. Lee quickly took the pressure again on the two spots on each of my legs. I heard him say “80 & 94” for the pressure in my right leg and then “107 & 87” for the pressure on my left leg.

The diagnosis was complete. It took 34 minutes to complete the test & validate 20 years worth of pain.

Dr. Lee told me that my next step would be surgery. I would need to have a surgical procedure done called a fasciotomy on both legs. This would involve cutting open the inflexible tissue encasing each of the affected muscles in both my legs. The surgeon’s office will be scheduling an appointment within the next week. This was just the beginning.

As I drove back home I tried my best to feel the feelings I was feeling. But somehow the feelings stay buried as the thoughts ran around in my head. I knew I was emotional but couldn’t seem to put into words what I was feeling. As I pulled up into my apartment complex, I began talking to my mom on the phone. I told her that the diagnosis had been confirmed and I would be having surgery on both of my legs soon. My mom was happy and excited for me . As she spoke I began to cry. Like the walls of a dam had fallen away, my tears began to gush out of my eyes. In that moment, all off of my emotions boiled over. As I sat in the car, tears flowed steadily down my face. I told my mom that I felt so overwhelmed with joy, sadness, and anger.

I was joyful because I finally knew what was wrong with me. I was sad because it took so long to get the answers I needed. I was angry because for decades I have internalized so many negative thoughts about myself that I have gathered from those doubting my pain and telling me to just grind through the agony.

excited done with finals GIF

The medical community has a deep dark history regarding the pain of Black women. Black women are seen as superhuman. The reason we are given this moniker is because no one seems to believe us when we say we are in pain. I have learned this the hard way.

“…having untreated pain can have long-term physical, psychological, social and economic consequences…pain that’s dismissed causes patients to have less trust in the medical system.”

https://www.today.com/health/implicit-bias-medicine-how-it-hurts-black-women-t187866

This superhuman strength of Black women is not just related to the medical community but to our larger community. Not only was my pain not believed by my previous doctors but also by my family, my friends, and my various my personal trainers. No one thought outside the box. Why would any think I could be suffering from a rare thing like Chronic Exertion Compartment Syndrome?

For so many years I have doubted myself and my pain, but thanks to the access to healthcare I finally have a diagnosis. My feelings have been validated with my diagnosis. Having health insurance has changed my life.

Happy The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air GIF

About 44 million people in this country have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance.

https://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/uninsured.html#:~:text=About%2044%20million%20people%20in,to%20them%20and%20their%20families.

Everyone deserves healthcare. It should not be limited to those with access to wealth or employer funded healthcare. So many lives just like my life can be transformed and saved with meaningful access to adequate healthcare.

This is only the beginning of my journey with my new diagnosis. I am hopeful that only good things will follow and maybe one day I will be able to run a mile with ease.

Lovecraft Country Sn 1 Ep 3 Holy Ghost Review

Holy Ghost takes the viewers on a wild trip reminding us that even after death, spirits both good and bad continue to live amongst us.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3: Easter Eggs And References In "Holy Ghost" -  GameSpot
Leti looking to the right with burning cross behind her.

Life after death while living in a racist’s haunted house is the basic over. This is an episode about the power and danger of grief, pioneering and spirits.

Leti, Tic, and Montrose are back in Chicago after their trip to the North. This episode takes us on a 10 (ten) day countdown giving the viewer the backstory to how 3 people went missing in the North side of Chicago after Leti moves into an old haunted house as the first black person in an all white neighborhood.

GRIEF

In season 1, episode 3 of Lovecraft Country we witness first hand how Leti, Tic, Hippolyta, and Montrose are coping with life after death.

Leti: Living life fearlessly to fill the void left by Death

Leti is back from the dead.

Lovecraft Country Episode 3 Ghost House Explained

Episode 3 opens with Leti in a Black church surrounded by men and women singing, shouting, dancing and praising God. Leti sits calmly in church unable to find the emotions necessary to praise God even though she has just escaped literal death through a magical resurrection. Leti is trying desperately to see through her tears what drives the praises of those in church. She is still unable to stand up and sing the praises to God Almighty. Is it because she knows it was Samuel’s magical spell that brought her back to life and not the God those in church are praising?

Leti has decided to take life by the horns and intends to ride it until she is thrown off. Leti has come into some money and a house in an all white neighborhood. This dilapidated looking house has 3 floors, 13 rooms, and a barely working elevator. Leti is almost decapitated by the barely working yet seemingly abnormally fast elevator. Leti invites her sister Ruby to move in along with Leti’s artistic friends. It is Leti’s hope that a house full of black people will hopefully show strength in numbers in order to keep the racist white neighbors away. 

Leti Takes on Evil Spirits & Racist Neighbors in 'Lovecraft Country' Episode  3 (RECAP) - TV Insider

Throughout this episode we will see how Leti faces the dangers of her racist white neighbors, local police captain, and unruly ghosts without fear. She channels the internal strength she has gained post resurrection to do what she wants to do – which is live in her new house.

Hippolyta: Wearing a mask of strength

When we see Hippolyta for the first time since her husband’s death, she looks poised and present. As she sits at her dressing table we see her open one of George’s favorite books, Dracula. She begins to rip pages out one by one. Channeling her pain and anger with every torn page. She stares at herself stoically. She knows she is the only person she can truly share her pain with.

Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 3 Recap

We then see her in the kitchen with Tic and Diane. Her face is again masking her ever present pain. She is annoyed that Tic is making breakfast and keeps leaving wet cups turned over. That is not how George does it, Hippolyta tells Leti later in the episode. She is frustrated with Tic that he sent the travel guide out for publishing without telling her and before she could edit it.

Hippolyta is like so many strong black women in American history. Hippolyta has a daughter to care for and George’s travel guide business to maintain. She does not have time for a mental breakdown. So she cries in private and wear a mask over her pain in public even if the public is her kitchen. Hippolyta and Diane still long for the presence of their patriarch. Uncle George presence is a void missing from their home.

The stereotype of the “strong black woman” is more than just a cultural trope: Many black women in America report feeling pressured to act like superwomen, projecting themselves as strong, self-sacrificing, and free of emotion to cope with the stress of race- and gender-based discrimination in their daily lives.

Kara Manke https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_the_strong_black_woman_identity_both_helps_and_hurts

Leti, Tic, and Montrose have brought back Uncle George’s dead body and concocted a different, less magical version of Uncle George’s death. Hippolyta is told that Uncle George was killed by a Sheriff who was later killed by Tic and Montrose. his version of events does not sit right with Hippolyta.Hippolyta attempts to call Montrose out on the missing pieces surrounding her husband’s death. But in typical Montrose form, he dismisses her concerns.

Later in the episode at Leti’s housewarming party we Hippolyta find a golden solar system model. She is intrigued. This solar system looks magical to the viewer. We learned earlier in the episode that Montrose did not want to reveal this magical universe to Hippolyta because he thought it was too much for her to bear. Hippolyta is left to figure out this toy without the assistance of Montrose and Tic. Now imagine if she knew about all the magic they had previously encountered she may have been more willing to share her new find with her family.

I wonder what this solar system model is?

HBO's Lovecraft Country: 9 Most WTF Moments From Episode 3 - CINEMABLEND

Montrose: A drunken, distant angry state

“We can’t do shit”

Montrose

Montrose decides to put himself in a drunken stupor in order to deal with the pain of the loss of his brother and pushes away Tic. Montrose refuses to honor his brother’s dying wish to take care is Tic. Instead he ignores Tic and pushes him away despite Tic’s request to spend a few nights at his home since Tic has worn out his welcome at Hippolyta’s home. “We can’t do shit” is Montrose philosophy. Montrose is resigned to ignoring the residual trauma of his kidnapping and his brother’s murder.  

Struggling With Death - Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 3 - TV Fanatic

Tic: Doing what needs to be done

Tic is trying to fix everything and for everyone by trying to do what he thinks they need to be done.  He has stepped into Uncle George’s role by cooking breakfast and cleaning dishes. He takes care of Diane and Hippolyta until he wears out his welcome. His presence is just yet another reminder to Hippolyta that her husband is gone.

Although Tic is present for Hippolyta and Diane, he has ignored Leti since Uncle George’s funeral three weeks that is until he arrives as her new house to tell her goodbye before he leaves for Florida since he was no longer welcomed at the homes of Hippolyta and Montrose. Tic intended to return to Florida even after Leti offers him a room and board at her new home. It is only after Tic realized that Leti’s white neighbors are not going to be a nuisance but dangerous does he decide to stick around a little longer.

Pioneering

De-segrating a white neighborhood is dangerous business.

As the episode continues we soon realize that Leti is not just in any house but a haunted house right in the middle of an all White unwelcoming neighborhood. Her contemptuous neighbors make themselves known to her by parking their cars in front of her house and tying bricking on their steering wheels so that the noise of the blaring horns could torment her and cause her to leave. The local police actively co-sign this criminal behavior as they drive past the blaring horns coming from the neighbors cars with smirks on their racist white faces.

Leti refuses to let this shake her. As she lays in her bed waking up from her sleep we see the ghost of a black woman with half of her face torn off. This ghost is a scary sight to behold. Leti however does not see this ghost. Leti instead gets out of bed to shut the window to close off the noise of the blaring car horns. Leti then notices the moisture on her window.

Leti, a woman who can take care of herself, goes down to the basement to inspect the boiler. She find that not only is it overheated but the knob is off of the boiler. She uses a wrench to turn the boiler down. After she turns the boiler down, she hears a banging sound coming from the other side of the room along with muffled voices. As she searches for the origin of the sound she find an empty room below the basement.

Leti brings Tic down to the basement to show him the weirdness that is this new found room. She tells him something is not right with this room. He tells her maybe its her imagination playing games with her after all that she has recently experienced. She tells him that she knows she is not a figment of her imagination. Tic beleives that the neighbors torture tactics may be working. He names their use of the noise and alleged tampering of the boiler as tactics he saw ultilized during the Korean war by soilders to torture people.

These same torture tactics continue to be used even in modern war conflicts. The Bush administration infamously used these methods during the Iraq & Afghanistan wars in attempts to get detainees to confess.

https://www.hrw.org/report/2011/07/12/getting-away-torture/bush-administration-and-mistreatment-detainees

Leti pushes back on Tic’s theory reminiscent of when Tic reminded her in the episode 2 that he knows he wasn’t suffering from shell shock. Tic believes her. He offers to board up the windows. Leti thanks him and tries to hold his hand but he pulls back and changes the subject.

Leti refuses to let the white neighbors torture tactics win. She decides to throw a massive house party in her new home. Leti is dancing throughout the house taking pictures of her guests and tenants that are enjoying the live band and Ruby’s singing and dancing.

As Leti is dancing with a man, Tic walk through the door in his full military uniform. Tic is hopeful that his uniform will put the white neighbors on alert.

Tic sees Leti in a beautiful turquoise dress. As she grinds her body on her dancing partner she gazes lustfully at Tic. As Tic is getting his bearings together, Tree, another man from the neighborhood leans over to Tis questioning if Tic and Leti are an item. Tree insinuates that he has slept with LEti during high school. Tic turns away and continues to stare longingly at Leti.

Leti then goes to the bathroom to wash the sweat off her face and chest. As she bends to splash the water on her we see behind her another grizzly looking ghost. But Leti does not see the ghost’s reflection in the mirror, instead she sees Tic’s reflection as he stands in the doorway lustfully gazing. He comes into the bathroom, grabs Leti, hoists her up on the sink and they do what grown folks do. Once finished, Tic notices blood, Leti tells him she has just started her monthly cycle. Tic is not bothered by the blood and they leave the bathroom.

We next see Ruby having a conversation with some party guests discussing her many attempts to get a job at the local department store. She says she will never give up. Ruby says “if more colored folks thought like me the race would be much further along.” Just as Ruby finished speaking, they notice a red glow coming from the window. There is a burning cross in their front yard. Leti has had enough. She takes her bat, Jackie Robinson style, and knocks out all The windows and removes the tapped bricks for the car. Joyful gospel music plays in the background as fearless Leti wields her bat and destroys the property of her awful white neighbors. Moments later police arrive and takes Leti into police custody.   

Cross burnings was another tactic utilized by White Americans to terrorize Black Americans and continues today but with much harsher consequences.

“Obviously once upon a time this was very much a Deep-South phenomenon, but now, neither the Klan nor things like cross burnings are limited to the South,” he says. “The mythology is so well-known that you’re as likely to get a cross burner in Minnesota as you are in Georgia.”

LAUREN KIRCHNER, https://psmag.com/news/cross-burning-is-more-common-than-you-think-72781
Lovecraft Country Episode 3: 45 Thoughts I Had While Watching

Leti is taken in the back of a police van with a white police captain named Lancaster. He questions her and when she refuses to answer his questions he uses the police van as a weapon on her. Leti’s body is thrown around the van while the police captain holds onto a grip. Leti’s body laid battered on the flood. Her head and her lip bleeding but he could not break her spirit.

This scene was eerily reminiscent of the death of the Freddie Gray. His death occurred after an arrest for possessing a knife (which was actually legal) and after he was given a “rough ride” in a police transport van. All police officers involved were acquitted at trial.

Death of Freddie Gray: 5 Things You Didn’t Know

After being harrassed and brutalized by the police officers, Leti learns more details about the house. She learns that the house was owned by a scientist Hiram Epstein who was infamous for doing scientific experiments on people. Leti also learns that Captain Lancaster may have been working with Epstein to perform his ghastly experiments on missing black people.

Lovecraft Country: Episode 3 Review - IGN
Tic and Leti reading

Leti know believes that the spirits of eight black people that went missing under Captain Lancaster’s watch are haunting her house along with the ghost of Hiram Epstein. She seeks out a Creole woman to ward out the evil spirits. She is able to summon the ghost of Hiram Epstein but he is too strong and kills the woman and then inhabits Tic’s body. Hiram through Tic attempts to murder Leti. Leti isn’t stronger than Hiram but she knows those who are – the eight spirits haunting this house.

Lovecraft Country: Episode 3 Review - IGN
Ghost of Hiram Epstein surrounded by the spirits of the people he killed

She calls out their names one by one. She says their names. They need to remember that they were not just victims of this monster but that they were once human. She needs them to save themselves and to save her and Tic. As she calls their names and continues to chant in Creole all the spirits begin forming a circle around Tic/Hiram and join hands with Leti. They together united in destroying this monstrous ghost are able to banish Hiram Epstein’s sinister soul from Leti’s house.

The episode ends with Tic confronting Christina at Leti’s realtor’s storefront. Tic has realized that it was not Leti’s mom that got her this house but it was Christina. Christina wants Tic to find the Book of Names for her and she knows it is in Hiram’s house. Tic attempts to shoot her but cannot because she has an invisibility spell on her. She reminds Tic that she is a white woman and shooting her is the last thing he should try to do.

Holy Ghost takes the viewers on a wild trip reminding us that even after death, spirits both good and bad continue to live amongst us.

Lovecraft Country Sn 1 Ep 2 Whitey’s on the Moon Review

Episode 2, Whitey’s on the Moon, is a tale of two quests.The first mission is one of honor and heroism and the second mission is one driven by ego and selfishness. Throughout this episode, those on the noble mission are tested and terrorized by the seemingly well meaning white folks and are reminded of invaluable lessons.

Critiques Séries : Lovecraft Country. Saison 1. Episode 2. - Critiques  séries et ciné, actu - Breaking News, ça déborde de potins

Episode 2, Whitey’s on the Moon, is a tale of two quests. The mission of the Black travelers – Tic, Leti, and Uncle George is to find and rescue Montrose Freeman, Tic’s father & Uncle George’s brother, from his white kidnappers. The mission of the white antagonists, Samuel and Christina Braithwhite is to open the portal to the Garden of Eden so Samuel can gain immortal life.

The first mission is one of honor and heroism and the second mission is one driven by ego and selfishness. Throughout this episode, those on the noble mission are tested and terrorized by the seemingly well meaning white folks and are reminded of invaluable lessons. The travelers quickly learn that those ‘kind’ white people have much more nefarious motives.

****Spoilers Below****

Episode 1 ended with with Uncle George, Tic and Leti arriving at a castle- like mansion in Ardham, Mass. An impeccably dressed WASPy (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) man named William answers the door and welcomes them in with no questions asked even though they are covered in blood. 

Lovecraft Country: Season 1/ Episode 2 "Whitey's On The Moon" – Recap/  Review
William welcoming Tic into the Ardam Manor

***Are you sure you want to keep reading? There are Ep. 2 Spoilers below!***

Lesson learned: Don’t let your guard down even when you think you are safe.


This episode begins with the famous theme theme song from the Jeffersons “Movie On Up” by Ja’net Dubois. The Jeffersons was an iconic Black American TV sitcom that lasted 11 seasons. It featured the story the Jeffersons who had moved from Queens, NY to Manhattan, NY into what they believed was the good life that so many Black Americans in the 1970s and 1980s sought to achieve. However like Leti and Uncle George, the Jeffersons would learn that even with all their beautiful lodging they were still Black in a White America and would continue to encounter hardships because of their race.

“Fish don’t fry in the kitchen; 
Beans don’t burn on the grill. 
Took a whole lotta tryin’ 
Just to get up that hill. 
Now we’re up in the big leagues 
Gettin’ our turn at bat.”

Ja’net Dubois’s theme song for the Black American sitcom The Jeffersons

Episode 2 begins with George and Leti living their best lives. Dancing to their internal joy. George is studying a bookshelf full of his favorite books
and Leti is in her room modeling the perfectly tailored clothes found in her bedroom’s wardrobe. Both Uncle George and Leti are blinded by their joy and fail to realize the strange conicidence that their favorite items just so happen to be in this white house. 

Leti and Uncle George are unaware that they are under a spell that has blocked their memory of the traumatic events the night before. Tic is the only one who has retained the memories of the attacks by the terrifying Shoggoths.

At breakfast Tic attempts to explain to Leti and Uncle George that their memory has been blocked. He reminds them that they had to escape murderous sheriffs as well as the shape-shifting monsters. He told them he even had to kill a sheriff who turned into a Shoggoth.

“I shot the Sheriff!

Tic

“You shot the Sheriff?!”

Leti

“I had to shoot the Sheriff!”

Tic

Is it just me or did you giggle at this scene remembering the classic Warren G song.

Lovecraft Country - what time is it on TV? Episode 2 Series 1 cast list and  preview.
Tic, Leti, and Uncle George talking and eating on the Verdana of the Ardham Manor

Rather than engaging in a debate over the alleged memory loss and magical monsters, Uncle George reminded Tic and Leti to be mindful of their surroundings.

“We are being watched. Sit down. We are not splitting up. We are staying together and we must be discrete.”

Uncle George

Even if Uncle George may not fully believe Tic’s version of last night’s events, Uncle George is acutely aware of his surroundings. He is aware that white people are never this friendly without an ulterior motive. He knows that they cannot let their guard down.

While walking into the village, Tic overhears Leti and Uncle George questioning Tic’s mental sanity and wondering out loud if this is a result of shell shock from Tic’s time at war.

Symptoms included fatigue, tremor, confusion, nightmares and impaired sight and hearing. It was often diagnosed when a soldier was unable to function and no obvious cause could be identified. Because many of the symptoms were physical, it bore little overt resemblance to the modern diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/shell-shocked

Tic very sternly reminded them that none of this makes sense. That he is in fact not suffering from Shell Shock and that it is Leti and Uncle George who have been blinded by the distractions of their favorite books and perfectly fitted outfits.

Lesson learned: Always stay on alert even around white women.

Lovecraft Country: American TV shows its true colours. And it's exhilarating
Uncle George, Leti, and Tic looks at a white woman holding tightly onto two barking dogs.


While traveling in the village, Tic, Leti, and Uncle George encounter barking dogs and their white female dog owner. The travelers are immediately taken aback by the snarling animals and their white owner. Black Americans have had a tenuous relationship with dogs when they are in the hands of their white owners. Dogs have been used as an enforcement tool of white supremacy.

The lash and shackles remain the major symbols of physical degradation fixed in historical memory on slavery.5 Yet, as recounted by witnesses, including slaves themselves, the dog was perhaps a more effective tool for managing labour or even inflicting horrific pain or death on those who defied their masters’ commands. 

Slave Hounds and Abolition in the Americas by Tyler D. Parry, Charlton W Yingling https://academic.oup.com/past/article/246/1/69/5722095

The travelers do not heed to the multiple warnings by white people throughout the episode to return to the manor before dark. As they are walking back to the house at night in the woods they find themselves attacked once again by the ugly and terrifying Shoggoth monsters. Before the Shoggoth’s kill the Black travelers, Christina comes to the rescue blaring the whistle that send the monsters away. As quickly as the monsters disappear so does the memory of the encounter in Uncle George and Leti.

Christina explains to Tic that the spell is for anyone who encounters the Shoggoth and survives the attack.  We also learn that the Shoggoths are magical monsters owned by the Braithwhites that are kept as their personal guard animals. Tic’s lack of memory loss is because he shares a common ancestor with the Braithwhites.

Christina says to Tic “not all us white folks are out to get you.” This could not be more further from the truth.

Lovecraft Country recap: season one, episode two – have you guys not seen  Get Out? | Television & radio | The Guardian
Tic trapped in his room while Christina stares at him

Throughout Episode 2, Christina Braithwhite, the daughter of Samuel Braithwhite attempts to endear herself to Tic. She positions herself as a friend to Tic. Tic rebuffs her attempts because Tic is a Black man in America in 1955. He understands that white women have been just as complicit in the enforcement of white supremacy over black people and their bodies.

This is highlighted during Tic’s various interactions with Christina. Tic requests Christina lift the spell off of Uncle George and Leti. He thinks Christina has acquiesced to his wish to lift the spell but quickly learns that she has now trapped each traveler in their respective rooms to live out another terrorizing experiment as white lodge members watch gleefully the Black travelers in mental and physical anguish.

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White Club members watching the torment of Tic, Leti and Uncle George

Later in the episode as she watches her father shoot Leti and Uncle George, Tic screams for Christina to help him. Christina stares silently not moving one inch to assist him despite her earlier statements that she is not a bad actor.

Christina proves the age old Black addage “Do not trust white women.”

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Samuel and Christina Braithwhite, Father and Daughter

Later in the episode, Christina reminds Tic that she as a woman is still afforded less rights than he a Black man. Because Tic is a direct descendant of Titus Braithwhite, he can still be a member of the fraternal order and he can be ‘a son among sons.’ As Tic puts on the Braithwhite ring on his finger, Christina says “I could have never earned one of these no matter how hard I try and you can earn one just by being born a man – not even a white man at that.”

Her statements are often mirrored in today’s dialogue on the intersections of race and gender when white women in particular bemoan their struggles against the patriarchy and reiterate that Black men were still given certain American rights. The most famous of this was the right to vote.

What Christina and many white women fail to understand is that through their alignment with white men they were and still are able to wield power against Black bodies be they men or women. Even with the passage of the 15th Amendment and subsequently the 19th amendment, the government enacted a variety of poll taxes on both Black men and women from being able to cast their votes.

While the women’s suffrage movement had its roots in the anti-slavery movement, early suffragist leaders including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony would later split off from their alliance with abolitionists. They were outraged that, under the 15th amendment, Black men would get the vote while white women were still denied.

https://www.npr.org/2020/08/26/904730251/yes-women-could-vote-after-the-19th-amendment-but-not-all-women-or-men

This false narrative espoused by Christina that Tic is better off as a man is also highlighted in the continued racial wealth gap that existed in the 1950s and continues to exist today.

There is a greater gender wealth inequality when looking across individual racial lines. Per the 2015 Asset Funders Network report, the median wealth of White single women was $15,640. Yet, the median wealth for single Black women and Latina women was $200 and $100 respectively, about one cent for every dollar of White women’s wealth. On the other hand, while White men’s wealth was $28,900; Latino men’s wealth was $950 and Black men’s wealth was $300, about three cents and one cent on every dollar of White men’s wealth, respectively.

https://inequality.org/racial-wealth-divide-snapshot-women/

Lesson Learned: Trust yourself

After the spell is broken giving Leti and Uncle George their memory back, they are each confronted with a realistic yet still imaginary encounter. 
Leti is consoled by Tic. He kisses her and comforts her as she is coming to terms with her recent travel traumas. He reminds her that he will never abandon her as we know Leti has a fear of abandonment that stems from her relationship with her mother. As Tic attempts to have sex with her she pushes him away but he refuses to stop.

As a viewer I knew this was not Tic and was terrified for Leti. But one thing we have learned from Leti is that she is a fighter. As fake Tic takes off his pants off showing a literal snake ready to strike Leti, she is able take control of the situation by grabbing a knife and fighting for her life.  Leti is a survivor and she survivors this attempted attack.  

As Leti is fighting for her life, Tic is engaged in hand to hand combat with the same Asian woman we saw in Episode 1 dressed as a princess in Tic’s dream sequence. We still do not know who she is. But this version of her is attempting to kill Tic and he is in a battle for his life wrestling her on his bedroom floor.  
Tic strangles her and cowers in terror and sadness hoping and praying this is all but a dream. 

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Uncle George dancing with Dora, Tic’s mother

Meanwhile Uncle George sees his true love Dora, Tic’s mother. Unlike Leti, Uncle George knows immediately that this is not real. Yet he still dances with her. He talks with her but eventually pushes away because he knows this is not real. 

Uncle George is a wise man.

We see that the white dinner guests of Sam Braitheite have been watching the travelers in amusement as they are each trapped in their respective rooms. 

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Uncle George embraces and whispers to Tic and Leti

Once they are let out of their rooms, a traumatized Tic attempts to explain what happened at war in Korea. Uncle George reminds Tic and Leti to never forget who they are.

You know who are are. You were a good boy. And you are an even better man. Don’t ever let them question yourself. They want to make us scared and terrorize us. But we don’t get scared!”

Uncle George

Lesson Learned: Literalism is for the simple. 

Tic and Uncle George are invited to dinner with Samuel Braithwhite and the other members of the Order of the Ancient Dawn. As dinner is served, Samuel notifies his guests that he is serving them them a piece of his rib to consume as Adam gave his rib to Eve in the story of creation. Uncle George firmly tells Tic to not touch that food.

Uncle George confronts the members of the Ancient Dawn with information he was able to acquire while in the manor’s library.

He learns that Tic is a direct descendant of Titus Braithwhite, the founder of the Order of the Ancient Dawn. Tic’s mother’s ancestor was a slave named Hanna who escaped her master’s burning house. Hanna was pregnant when she left the house. There were no other survivors. The man who owned Hanna was Titus Braithwhite.

Earlier in the episode, William states to the Black travelers that Titus was known to be notoriously “kind” to his slaves. This was code for the fact that he, a slave owner, was having sex with his slaves. Today we would more accurately call rape and not kindness. Language matters when assessing the ills of history. 

Southern women often marry a man knowing that he is the father of many little slaves. They do not trouble themselves about it. They regard such children as property, as marketable as the pigs on the plantation; and it is seldom that they do not make them aware of this by passing them into the slave-trader’s hands as soon as possible, and thus getting them out of their sight.

Harriet Jacobs on Rape and Slavery, 1860, https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/the-cotton-revolution/harriet-jacobs-on-rape-and-slavery/

Uncle George continues with his history lesson by teaching the members of the fraternal Order of the Ancient Dawn about the founding of the Prince Hall Freemasons. Uncle George is a member of the fraternal Order of the Prince Hall Freemasons. He stated that the founder of his fraternal order, Prince Hall, a free African-American man attempted to join the white Boston’s St. John’s Lodge after the Revolutionary War but was rejected because he was Black. Prince Hall went on to create his own Freemason Lodge which was founded on September 29, 1784. The Prince Hall Freemasons remains the oldest and largest Black fraternal order in the United States today.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2p37.html

Although Tic Freeman could not join the Order of the Ancient Dawn because he was a Black man, he could still join because the rules allowed automatic entry to to the order because he is a son among sons, a direct male blood descendant of the founder, Titus Braithwhite. In fact, Tic is the last living male heir to Titus Braithwhite.

Samuel Braithwhite wants to be Adam. He believes that he is entitled to go back to the dawn of time so that he can step into his rightful place. However, he cannot do this alone he needs Tic’s Braithwhite’s blood to complete his spell. 

Samuel’s straightforward plan fails to take into consideration the power and magic in Tic’s blood.

Meanwhile, Tic is narrowly focused on is finding his father and getting his family and friend out of the Ardham Manor safely. He will do what needs to be done to save them.  

After dinner, the Black travelers leave the mansion to find Montrose. Tic and George attempt to rescue their father in the basement of tower like structure in the village but are caught by the white woman with the dogs we met earlier but guess who saves them again – Letitia fucking Lewis.

They do not find Montrose in the tower because Montrose has saved himself by digging and crawling his way out of captivity like in the Count of Monte Cristo. 
When they find Montrose it is then that Tic learns that his father was forced to write the letter and that he never expected Tic to come. We immediately feel like disdain that both father and son have for each other.

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Montrose, Tic’s father stares outward, exhausted

As the group of four now try to escape out of Ardham their car suddenly crashes into an invisible brick like wall totaling their car. Samuel and Christina arrive on the scene with Samuel holding a gun. Samuel shoots Leti without hesitation. We see Leti die in Tic’s arms.

Magic in Light and Dark: Lovecraft Country, “Whitey's on the Moon” | Tor.com
Leti shot, falls down in pain

Uncle George is then shot. Tic is given a choice – to save Leti and Uncle George and participate in Samuel’s ceremony. 

Samuel intends to use Tic to open the Garden of Eden so he can walk into the garden and gain immortal life. Samuel’s leverage is his ability to bring back Leti from death and to heal Uncle George with his magic so long as Tic complies with the ceremony. Tic witnesses Leti come back to life through a magical opening in the wall.

Lesson: Secret stay secrets

As Tic is preparing for the ceremony, and a traumatized newly resurrected Leti’s cries alone, Montrose and George discuss family matters.

The brothers speak of Dora, Tic’s mother. George ponders on why Montrose never drew Dora. Montrose told George that he stopped drawing after their father “beat the black off his ass” after he was found at the bus station the summer before high school drawing pictures of the Negroe League players. George was saddened by this story. He didn’t know that happened to Montrose.

“That’s the problem I’ve been shutting up far too long” George had an intimate relationship with Dora so George knows that Tic might not be Montrose son. This is a secret that Montrose is not yet willing to confront even as George is knocking on death’s door.

Montrose has many secrets that he is not yet willing to share with his brother, his son, and the viewer. I suspect that we will come to find out many more of Montrose’s secrets throughout this season.

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Uncle George in pain looking at his brother

Lesson: The White man’s fantastical dreams will be achieved even in the midst of the suffering of Black people.

As we see Tic’s body becoming a vessel to open a portal to the Garden of Eden, we hear the 1977 spoken word of Gil Scott-Heron ‘Whitey on the Moon.’

‘Whitey on the Moon’ speaks on the living in the land of two worlds that is the United States of America. As white America is lambasting the miracle of a white man on the moon, the narrator recounts his family’s struggle with poverty which includes paying medical bills for his sister who was bit by rat, paying for the high price of groceries, paying for the ever increasing rent as well as paying American taxes. Whitey keeps taking the Black man’s money even though the Black man has to struggle to survive off of his limited income. Whitey then takes this money and endeavors to go into space and walk on the moon all the while ignoring the pain of poverty amongst Black people.

Official Audio of Gil Scott-Heron Spoken Word Whitey on the Moon.
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Samuel Braithwhite stares menaceingly
Magic in Light and Dark: Lovecraft Country, “Whitey's on the Moon” | Tor.com
Tic engulfed in magical power

As Tic is being used as a vessel for Samuel’s spell he sees his pregnant ancestor Hanna who looks at him. Tic channels the power of the magic in his blood and burns everyone in the room. The building around him beings to fall around him. Samuel’s body alongside the other members of the Order present become dust. Tic runs out and follows Hanna as she escapes out of the burning building. Their journey to the first door of the house mirrors each other’s escape from their respective Braithwhite’s burning mansions. Tic’s maternal ancestor guides him to safety just as the castle crumbles behind him into ashes. 

Once again a Black woman saves the day and saves Tic. Where would Black men be without the heroism of Black women, both dead and alive? This moment reminds me that our ancestors are with us even if we do not know their names. They work through us. They are us. They have already saved us without us knowing their intrinsic value.

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Hanna, Tic’s pregnant ancestor in an entryway with fire around her.

An expasperated Tic turns around to find Leti and Montrose alive, the same could not be said for Uncle George. Tic knows this without Leti having to tell him. Samuel Braithwhite died before he could heal Uncle George. Tic finds Montrose crying and holding his dead brother’s body in the back seat of their car as “River” by Leon Bridges plays in the background and the camera fades to black.

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Tic consoled by Leti staring into car.

The Episode ends. Uncle George is dead and I like you am heartbroken!

Y’all that episode felt like a season finale and yet it was only the second episode! 

What will episode 3 bring? 

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