Tired, Checked Out and Nervous!
I didn't really have a plan for my 2nd blog post. Honestly, I have been on autopilot for the past few weeks. Work, overtime, home. That has pretty much been the routine, especially since the quarantine started. I a have been working a bunch of overtime because my job never offers it for my department so I wanted to take advantage while it was available. And then I was working on getting The Heart to Heal up and running. Sprinkle in the occasional workout or trip to the market or Target and that has pretty much been my routine.
I was happy to go out with my co-workers for food and drinks of Taco Tuesday at one of my favorite happy hour spots. It was open for take-out and then we ate in the plaza right outside the restaurant. Finally, a little piece of normalcy in the midst of the pandemic. Overall the past few weeks have been uneventful and in some ways they have been pretty nice (minus the whole outside being closed). And then it was like things were going too good.
On Monday May 25, 2020 (Memorial Day), George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Yep it happened again. If you aren't familiar I urge you to honestly just turn on the news, but to do your research. Anyway, I posed the question today on The Heart to Heal's IG page: "How are you feeling?". I realized that I was checking in with everyone else but I hadn't really checked in with myself.
So one of the things that I have been working on in therapy is properly labeling my feelings. Why that's important and how I got here is a story for another day, lets just say understanding and expressing my feelings is something I struggle with. Anyway, this is what I came up with:
Tired: Honesty I think tired is my baseline. I always say I am tired. I don't even really think I am tired when I say I am tired, at this point I think it is just second nature. But for real this time I am tired of hearing stories about black people being murdered because they are black. I am tired of my heart dropping when I ride past a cop car and hope they don't pull me over. I am tired of constantly having to worry if my black and brown family members are going to make it back home after they leave the house. I am tired of feeling like the spokeswomen for all black people when I am talking to non-black people. I am tired of keeping my mouth shut, censoring myself, 2nd guessing how I dress, 2nd guessing what I say for fear of being the "angry black woman" (I have a story about this from grad school for another day). I am tired of having conversations about how saying "black anything matters" doesn't take away from any other culture and why we even have to emphasize the importance of black anything. I don't want to do it anymore, but I have to.
Checked Out: I am not going to lie, I haven't really been keeping up with the news post George Floyd's death. I only watch the news for the weather and traffic. I scroll past most posts about him, the protests, the riots, #45. I just don't have it in me. Like I know it is important to be informed and on top of things but part of me wants to ignore it. I tend to shut down when I become frustrated and overwhelmed so my way of coping is to check out. I have been trying to limit my exposure to certain news, topics and posts as a means of self-care.
Nervous: I am nervous as hell to go to work. I think this week I kept my interactions with the "residents" brief. But I am nervous for when they start to ask questions. What am I supposed to tell them when many of them have been victim of an unjust system? What am I supposed to say/do when the stress of the quarantine and now this becomes too much to bare? It's so hard walking this fine line of being a young black woman working to help the minorities (who are actually the majority) in a system that was designed by people who don't look like us and don't care about us. I worry what happens when they, me, are tired. I am nervous because as I am writing this post that emergency alert warning is going off about the 8pm curfew that was just enacted. I just pray that everyone gets home safely tonight, and every night.
My challenge for you during this time is to regularly check-in (with yourself or others) about how you are feeling. When someone asks how you are, be honest. I want you to know that you are entitled to your feelings, whatever they are. I just ask that you be aware of how your feelings are effecting your thoughts and your behavior. Sometimes suppressing your feelings is needed but that is only a temporary solution. At some point you have to acknowledge and sit with your feelings. You have to experiencing them, even the difficult one. It isn't easy trust me, but we got this.