Nearly 2.5 years have passed since I last posted in this blog. I read some of my previous posts, and I realize that in that 2.5 years not much has changed. Life got derailed by COVID-19, personal circumstances, and major episodes of severe depression. While I have started and written in other blogs, I feel it necessary to come back here and wax poetical the ways I’ve grown over the past two years.
Before I get into my own life, I want to recognize what has happened since I last posted in this blog. COVID-19 began around mid-February 2020, and since then, over 6 millions deaths have been recorded, and it is very likely that those numbers are much, much higher. It is likely I have had covid, but my symptoms were mild. It may be likely my kids have had covid, but their symptoms were mild. I personally do not know anyone who has died from COVID, and our lives have been fairly comfortable in spite of it. I say this to put into perspective that I am very well aware of the ways in which I have lucked out and not felt the full weight of trauma that has occurred to other people from this illness. I took the pandemic seriously since the very beginning and continue to take it seriously now because it is not and will not be going away any time soon. Our immune-compromised comrades deserve protection and that means continuing to wear masks and staying home as much as possible.
Now onto this life update…
I mentioned in a previous post about my nonprofit work, and unfortunately that route flew south for a variety of reasons, COVID-19 among them. I chose to step away in August 2020.
I feel now that I had put all my eggs in one basket. I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was floundering then, and honestly I flounder still. I made bad decisions, and I let it affect me so badly that my depression was the worst it had ever been. The suicidal ideations strengthened, and I was ready to act on them. COVID restrictions, sleep exhaustion, bad decisions, failing, feeling not valued and unsupported, no one to turn to.
My husband gave me a generous gift to help lift me out of my depression: a gaming computer. It did the job of helping me get unstuck, but underlying cause still remain. I shifted gears, putting my energy into a different system. I helped people learn. I raised awareness. I raised money for organizations that help minoritized people.
The world is so big, and sometimes it feels hard to see the value of what you’re doing. Am I making any difference whatsoever? I feel like no, I don’t. I’m a waste of space. But I know that isn’t the reality. The reality is yes, I have helped people. With education. With financial situations. I have done tangible things that have tangibly helped people. And I continue to do so as I can.
I have put restorative justice into practice. I have amended relationships that could have turned south and very ugly if it wanted to. But we chose to talk it out, share our hurts, and made effort to make amends for those hurts. It worked. Until I chose to step away (due to social anxiety)…
COVID-19 gave me all the time in the world to self-reflect. By self-reflect, I mean rake myself over the coals, examine my mistakes from every angle, ponder all the awful or unthinking things I’ve said in the last five years, and come to understand how I could be better. All theoretical. I have yet had the chance to practice this “better” me. I’ve tried to put myself into study groups or workshops only to peter out very quickly because something trips my anxiety/depression and I run and hide (actually it’s more like lie in bed and cry). I can tell you all the things I’ve done wrong and why. Will I? Not here. And only to those who were involved. Because it ain’t anyone else’s business. Alas, I must write about it though.
I’m tired though. Tired of being stuck. My current life’s theme since 2017. I have narrowed my social justice work though. I am afraid to say anything more because of how often my ideas fail. I know failure is part of living but I’d like some success at some point please and thank you.
I’m still in the tunnel, but I’m seeing the light. I’ve read some poignant words lately. I missed some of the meaning when I’ve read them before, but now I feel like I can understand it better.
“Keep it moving,” is a saying Mariame Kaba tweets often. These words next to Maya Angelou’s is helping me recenter myself as I move forward from here. Angelou said, “It may be important that you fall. Life is not over. Just don’t let defeat defeat you. See where you are, and then forgive yourself, and get up.” And, “it’s better to just step on. You know, you have to move.”
As I collect myself, I need to recognize that I need to stop letting fear control me and keep moving. I had got stuck, wanting to go back, and spent so many hours and tears mulling over how to get myself back in. The reality is I need to move on. I did move on, into another circle, but I still had hoped to go back. I’m giving up on that. I must take new actions and let myself be the person I want to be and stop letting the person I was drag me down.
I will get there, and I will struggle. And I will have barriers (depression, adhd, social anxiety) to overcome or to manage, and I will inevitably fail again because that is part of this work. I will forgive myself, get up, and move on.