Friday, July 11, 2014

Emotional burnout

I knew that burnout was real. I found that out after long hours worked, and undergraduate studies. I found that out on some early mornings at 1:00 a.m. with my head stuck in the books. I additionally found out that burnout is real when I worked my first 6:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. shift without a break. I sat down that night and my feet ached. I laid on the bed and fell asleep sitting up. Woke up the next morning to my alarm, I didn’t even remember falling asleep.

Little did I know however that there is such a thing as emotional burnout. In my life I’ve lost a handful of people very close to me in one way or another. I’ve buried people I’ve loved, buried friends as well. I had no idea that the wounds of never fully being able to let go, to never fully grieving could aide in my own emotional burnout. But it did. When explaining in front of my coworkers during training about my parents I burst into tears. The topic of conversation was Cancer.  Both my parents passed from Cancer, a very close aunt as well. My mother when I was ten, my father when I was eleven. My aunt passed when I was seven. When people mention Cancer, when I hear that someone may have it, when I hear of anyone dealing with it, I tear up. I hope, I pray to whatever Creator will listen, and  I hurt in silence while trying to remain optimistic that someone’s mother, father, aunt, sister, cousin, etc. may be a survivor. That not many others will have to say “My (Insert relative here) passed from (Insert type here) Cancer”. I didn’t know the scars that I carried with me from losing so many people. Acknowledging my emotional burnout forced me to deal with numerous aspects of it.

After acknowledging holding on to pain for many years I had to acknowledge other aspects of my life that I had control over. I had to acknowledge failed relationships. I had to acknowledge how bits and pieces of myself I’d left with other people. I had to acknowledge the feeling of feeling less than. Less than beautiful, less than perfect, inadequate, and all those lovely feelings. I had to acknowledge that at one point that feeling consumed me. That I attempted to over compensate when I never should have. And that I’d given so much of myself to others that I’d neglected self in the process. Burnout, indeed is real.

I realize that many of us suffer from emotional burnout and suffer in silence. I realize that some of us go to sleep at night crying. I realize that emotional burnout spans race, class, gender. And I realize that acknowledging it, is the first step to getting out of it. This is my acknowledgement. I’m hoping it helps someone realize that they aren’t alone. And that taking care of self should always be a priority. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Martyrs of our children: Racism in the United States

“To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage”
-James Baldwin

Above right to left first row Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell
Second row left to right Renisha McBride, Oscar Grant
Third row left to right Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell 
All photos Bing, image search 

Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Ricardo Sans, Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and the list goes on and on and on. So much so until I’ve become sick reading Twitter feeds, watching the news, and checking Facebook. It feels like in the past decade America has regressed in any racial progress made and to be aware of such has started this slow blood boiling anger within my people.
I’m angry every time I have to explain why I’m angry. Angry every time some breaking news comes across the screen and I so happen to be out at a sports bar or something of that nature in mixed company and I’m looked at when my anger is evident on my face. Am I not supposed to be angry? Is this something that I’m supposed to come to accept in this day in age? Hell no, and the thought that anyone would think I should accept, or move on from this makes me even more enraged. If the names above don’t jar memory perhaps the names below will.
Alfred Wright murdered in 2013, Portland Oregon, January 2010, Aaron Campbell. Steven Washington, Autistic 27 year old shot and killed by L.A.P.D. officers, no weapons found on him. This occurred March 2010. James Craig Anderson, Jackson Mississippi, beaten and run over June 26, 2011. Anyone remember James Byrd Jr.? 1998, murdered and drug three miles tied up on the back of a pickup truck. His remains were scattered over 81 different places. “Ray” Golden found 32 years old in 2003 hanging in his grandmother’s back yard. Belle Glade, FL. Aiyana Jones, Detroit.  When will it end? How many martyrs must be made before we talk about racism today? Not in a past tense reflection but in a modern day observation.
What makes us as a people so threatening to others? Our melanin perhaps or the fact that our ancestors survived the cruel oppression known as slavery? Are we so threatening because we came together as a people for the Civil Rights Movement? Are we so threatening because we refused to be considered second-class citizens or because we breathe?  I remember being “Trained” so to speak as a child as to how to deal with a Nation, a world even of people who considered my melanin to be a threat. My mother would say when we were in the store “Don’t touch anything!” My aunts would tell  my sisters and I when we had our little allowance “Don’t go in your purse in the store” When sent to schools in my area in which were lily white with little diversity I was told “Hold your head up high Danielle”. As I got older I found my voice and began protesting such injustice. I’d heard tell of my aunts living through desegregation in the South. I’d heard when my mother and father dealt with the klan in Georgia. I recall the look on my aunt’s face as she told me of having someone spit in her face and call her a “nigger”. Then I recall my own life and experiences. Marches and protests because children are being killed and open season has been declared on those of the African Diaspora. I can’t even begin to mention Marissa Alexander and Michel Giles. Don’t get me started on Darrin Manning. And the countless other names and faces WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT!

I recall being followed in stores upon entering. Security guards feeling it necessary to lurk around any aisles I’d go on. I recall going on lunch break in Martin County when the Martin County police department pulled two coworkers and myself over and pulled her gun out of her holster while approaching the car. We were all told to put our hands up and I knew in my mind that any sudden movements would get me shot. I remember my heart racing. I remember my anger. Why was I pulled over? When I called the Department I was told that a group of teenagers was driving around in a white S.U.V. with paint ball guns. When I asked how the teenagers looked I was given a vague explanation and told that the officer handled the situation correctly. The funny and cruel irony part about it was that I was driving a blue Chrysler Pacifica, which in no way looks white. The funny part about it was that the windows were down. The cruelness of it was that nothing was done and I was expected to return to work cool, calm and collected. I remember standing outside the library during election time with my chosen candidate on my poster encouraging individuals to vote in my predominately white town. I remember my sisters and I being called niggers and the bird being given to us. And more recently I recall my sister telling me she was called a nigger in the parking lot of Walgreens because a guy was turning too wide in his vehicle and almost hit her.
I was not raised to tolerate racial injustice and quite honestly at this point I have no desire to. I figure during times when revolutions need to occur, when our children shall be made martyrs no more that we have two options. We can demand justice and equality or we can demand such by any means necessary. The road and the path that we take now is quite reliant upon the actions that are taken for injustice.

Bing Images - Search the web for pictures, photos & images. (n.d.). Bing Images - Search the web for pictures, photos & images. Retrieved February 22, 2014, from

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The cheater

Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn't blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won't cheat, then you know he never will
-John D. MacDonald
After seeing scores and scores of friends get married, find love and have children I was beginning to feel a bit old. Every announcement was a baby shower or a wedding and I say kudos to those who have found a partner who is willing to hopefully spend the rest of their natural lives with that individual, and kudos to those who strongly believe in such monogamy and happy endings. Kudos to those married in the past years, last year and those who will be married this year. Kudos to the engagements, kudos to the kiddies. Congrats!
However, I’ve seen a trend of a completely different kind as well. Considering we all now have social networks in place of human interaction (A different post all together trust me on this one.) you now see life played out via social network. When love is new and beautiful people connect with new relationship statuses, saying they are with such and such and pictures pop up of love and scenery and newness. And me being me , I’m happy to see all of this out in the open romanticness. But there’s a downside to such as well. Dirty laundry is often times aired out on social networks as well and surely aired out in inboxes. Which brings me to the topic of cheating.
For a while I wondered what constitutes such? When is flirting going too far and when you’re in a relationship or even a marriage what is acceptable and what is unacceptable? Do we need validation so badly that we can’t get it from one person and is true monogamy a thing of the past? These past several weeks I’ve been a shoulder to lean on for about three friends who have gone through some seriousness when it comes to cheating and monogamy. For the sake of them and our friendships I won’t name their names but their situations (Two of them with their permission.) are ones that aren’t unique to them. These situations have become common place.
A dear friend of mine and her partner had been having some issues. She’d noticed that her partner had become withdrawn, and had begun a lovely affair with her phone and computer. Rarely did she look up from it. (Oh and by the way, for those of you who are on your computers and stuck in your phone while another human being is around so much so until you can’t have human social interaction get that checked out by someone qualified, please!) My friend began to notice the change in her partner and many conversations and many nights were spent attempting to examine such and my friend going against her instincts which said something is wrong. When we love someone sometimes we can be blind and downright stupid. Ignoring signs and red flags for love, gets us all hurt in the end. And love in my opinions isn’t supposed to hurt like that. Anywho her partner left her computer up. Had her facebook up. Now my friend being inquisitive and given all the right ammo to check (Though I wouldn’t suggest this, “You seek and you shall find”) looks at it. Her partner’s inbox confirmed suspicions. Her partner not only had been flirting but sending nude pictures of herself to another woman. (CHEATING! CHEATER! CHEATING! FLAG FLAG FLAG!) Being hurt my friend continued to look through her partner’s facebook. Her partner had a friend as well and while her and her partner lived together she worked long hours. The “friend” of her partner was sent a message that was laced in flirtation and my dear friend found out her partner and this friend had been laying in the same bed together, just laying together.(Their bed) Flirtation on top of laying together in their bed was enough to set my friend on edge and for good reason. She wanted my advice and I can’t tell her what to do so I told her weigh her options. Her years of a relationship with this individual clearly meant nothing if her partner could betray her trust so easily. Her choice though was to work things out with her partner… I wish them both the best. But there’s no excuse for her partner’s betrayal and well once the trust is gone. It’s gone for a while. Moral of the story being… If you’re hiding things from your partner you’ve already begun the process of cheating. Don’t be sorry about things later either don’t do it or be single.
In the world there’s always that manipulative person and there’s always going to be. There’ll always be an opportunist and sometimes kind people get blind sighted by that as my friend did.(Actually friends with them both only having met her through him) Her fiancé used her insecurity as justification for his frabernackle. Every time he’d be caught doing something he’d tell her she needed to get over her insecurities and he needed to get over being a douche. Some individuals come with insecurities and they aren’t made any better when such insecurity is fed. Situation at hand is my friend’s fiancé is great friends with his ex. (Some can tolerate this, others can’t) His ex fighting for her life against cancer. (Granted that is horrible and a hard fight) Their bond negates he visits her, stays with her sometimes and sends her messages like “I wish I could hold you right now” when my friend brings it up he says “You’re insecure, you’re not dealing with cancer, get over it”. First and foremost if your partner is uncomfortable with ties with an ex, things need to be reasonably moderated. If an ex plays a significant role in your life, fine, but such must be understood that your future is with whom you’re with. If that’s not understood chaos will ensue and so it did. He furnished a trip to see his ex with my dear friend’s credit card. He was supposed to be staying alone and was honest about his trip to go see her. My friend finds a hotel receipt that said two stayed in that room. (Guests, 2) He brushes it off saying this is the default for hotels to do such… NO, NO IT’S NOT. He sends the ex-messages continually, wihsing he was there for her and she was with him all the while his fiancé is. Not only is he emotionally cheating with the possibility of physically cheating. He’s a douche. I’ve told him this to his face. But she chooses to stay with him. She’ll choose to marry him as well.. Against many red flags and warnings.
At the end of the day both stories are more than stories to me they are friends. And at the end of the day the quote at the beginning of this article stands true “Integrity is not a conditional word”. When you’re dealing with a cheater they lack that, as well as empathy and respect for their partner. While some of us are willing to tolerate it, others of us become shoulders to cry on for those who do but won’t leave their situations. In any case it’s draining and my notion is a cheater is a cheater and will always be.