Black people have been in a persistent state of grief since our arrival on the coast of Jamestown, VA. Ancestral grief of being forced from our native land, grief from the violence and dehumanization of slavery, grief from being lynched, grief from deaths in the form of Emmett Till, grief from George Floyd, and grief from most recent incidents in Kenosha, WI. We got nothing. We are numb, angry, depressed, anxious, and constantly re-traumatized. We have no energy to continue keeping our emotions and rage at bay in professional settings, no energy to continue keeping white folks comfortable, no energy to play professional basketball or baseball, no energy to talk about it or answer questions about our experiences with racism, and no energy to continually be re-traumatized by watching ourselves die at the hands of white supremacy. We got nothing.
We are exhausted from thinking about how to keep our kids safe in neighborhoods that have white folks; we try to build rapport with neighbors and make ourselves as human as possible to keep them from calling the police on us or our babies. We are fatigued from overthinking how we introduce ourselves in white spaces. We are burnt out from working for white, narcissistic employers who are ego and capitalist driven in their organizational structure or leadership style. We are tired of receiving excessive phone calls from white female teachers about our "disruptive" black babies. We are exhausted from being gaslit by use of the Bible or by "academic debates" that actually serve the ego and privilege of the person arguing rather than SEEING and listening to the person who is experienced in racism. We got nothing.
So, how do we muster the strength to continue existing and contributing to a society that does not care about us?
We remember that we are created and rooted in love and resilience.
We set unapologetic, radical boundaries. One of my favorite examples is "autoreply is not just for vacation," or "we have do-not-disturb, caller ID and text, so use it." We get to decide how accessible we are to our respective communities.
We stop apologizing for our emotions and demand and expect people to listen - especially when experiencing a collective trauma.
We allow ourselves to simply be numb; to check out. Binge watch a show. Drink the wine. Take the extra day off. And, we check our own egos and mental health when we simply cannot stop working.
We protest. Unapologetically. Loudly, quietly, boldly, emotionally, passionately.
We don't keep our cameras on for EVERY Zoom call.
We take breaks from the news and social media.
We call on our elders, ancestors, our faith.
We stay engaged in our safe family, friend, and professional circles.
We rest, without explanation. We learn to say, "I can't at that time," and let that be enough.
We make new, unapologetic rules for ourselves so that we do not loose sight or control of our breath, no matter how many times our hearts and souls are persistently shattered.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep our deep unapologetically black sense of love at the forefront of your daily energy.