Honestly, I didn’t navigate quarantine or the shelter at home orders as well as I thought I would.
The day George Floyd was murdered was the day after the woman in Central Park called the cops on the man who was birdwatching. This set the tone for my days for way too long. Agonizing. Defeating. Exhausting. These incidents consumed my thoughts for days. I I forgot to, and honestly just didn’t, pray. I was down and out. I submersed myself into reading, learning, and finding a solution to all of the world’s problems. Nothing mattered more to me. Well, that was exhausting and draining. Then came the details and video footage from the Breonna Taylor case along with Ahmaud Aubery’s vicious murder. Come on. How many black lives have we lost or placed in jeopardy?
Redirecting my Thoughts & Finding an Outlet
Fast forward to the end of summer. A fellow mom and neighbor offered to teach me to sew. She said I only needed to bring the fabric and we could sew during naptime. “Come over whenever.” I took her up on it. Within days, a weight was lifted. My entire mindset shifted. I found an outlet and a genuinely nice person to share this experience with. I pray that I can be that for someone too. She let me borrow her extra sewing machine and tons of other stuff. We text and honestly we don’t hang out enough. I am completely comfortable showing up at her doorstep with a question, piece of fabric, or a beer. Jennifer, I will forever be thankful for your kindness.
Being a Black mother in the midst of it all
I didn’t care to share my feelings with anyone I wasn’t close with. I didn’t want sympathizers and meaningless chatter. I didn’t want to offer support for others seeking to learn. It was extremely heavy for me to rock and hold my child at night throughout this time, but especially when the details & verdict of the Breonna Taylor case were announced. I sobbed. Uncontrollably. You couldn’t even begin to imagine what this feels like if you haven’t experienced this type of hate and racism. I kept thinking these thoughts when folks would ask the questions :: Why is this so hard? Why now? Did you not hear Mr. Floyd yell out for his mother? What did you not understand? I sobbed until I couldn’t breathe. Mr. Floyd couldn’t breathe. He asked / begged / cried out for his mother and to just simply breathe. HEAVY. Too heavy. I had nightmares. I, too, am a runner like Ahmaud. This could have been me or anyone in my family (we have a good number of runners in my family).
My mother is worth more to me than I can possibly write or speak of. I understand this more now as a mother than ever before. I have never felt so hopeless as a mother. Honestly, what was so exhausting to me was not having a solution. What can we collective do to bring about change? As a mother / woman / wife / daughter, I was distraught. This is what I do know – Breonna’s mama and Ahmaud’s mama and Mr. Floyd’s mama – well, they all look like me. They all understand without question what “the talk” is.
Kindness Part 2
A few weeks after my sewing adventure, someone invited me to coffee. I have hesitated to participate in small coffee talks / chats throughout the different phases of quarantine and really after the summer’s events and protests. I came up with every excuse in my head why I shouldn’t go. Then I went. I went to have coffee. We talked about one particular post that I made on social media. The person mentioned that they could see how much pain I was in. Whew chile. The pain. The pain I didn’t realize I was in. The pain, y’all. It was pain manifesting as rage. The sheer amount of pain inside of me was so unbearable that it felt like rage, exhaustion, defeat, brokenness, and despair. I was breaking (possibly broken) and didn’t fully comprehend it or know that it was happening. After our talk, I had a good long cry. This was not a regular cry; it was a hot mess cry. Boy, did I need both the talk and the cry. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Thank you for initiating the reach out. I will never forget it. Ever.
Y’all. It doesn’t take much. Reach out. Call. Cry. Message. Send a note. Text someone. Offer your ear. Listen. Pray with and for someone. Understand that just holding space with someone is enough. You just may be able to be a blessing.