About a week or so ago, I found myself engrossed in a round robin conversation about current affairs with a few other like-minded women. Eventually, the topic of conversation drifted to matters of self-perception of personal success and progress, professionally and otherwise. We each took turns discussing how our childhood selves imagined our adult lives developing, and how it compares to the current reality of our late twenties. As we each took our turn, a theme started to reveal itself: our younger versions clearly overestimated how much of this adulting shit we would have figured out. Read More
The first time I cut myself was senior year of high school.
I used a plain straight razor from my moms medicine cabinet that she kept for shaping up her eyebrows. I remember opening up the door with an eerie determination, driven by a ball of violent and erratic energy. My body ached from emotion, exhausted from rising tension that felt like it could only be relieved by peeling back my own flesh. I sat down on the edge of my parents bath tub and pulled the blade across my forearm…and everything inside of my body went soft. My mind went quiet for a moment and I began to cry. Partly because I was actually feeling physical and emotional relief, partly out of astonishment at what just transpired.
That was the year when I first began battling depression. The last nine years have been marked with academic and personal milestones, but for the longest time, my depression seemed to be the only part of my life that was lacking in evolution. Even right now, as I type this, I doubt that I’ve come very far with my depression. In my reading, I’ve come across statistical evidence showing that African-American women suffer from depression at higher rates than their White counterparts. This absolutely blows my mind, because everything that I know about depression I’ve had to learn on my own. My natural interest in health and healthcare was the initial inspiration to decode. Over time my understanding of the disorder has deepened…meaning that I see it more vividly in every part of my life now, for better or worse. I don’t connect correctly in friendships or family relationships. I’m restless. I’m fickle. Unable to envision myself living a long life. I don’t remember 65% of my childhood. I frequently isolate myself only to detest the loneliness that comes with it. The only time I’m truly eager to reciprocate conversation is if a love interest engages it…someone who can show me affection. This all stems from the broken part of me. The part that I have hesitantly tip-toed around until I could no longer manage to avoid it a few years ago.
Sometime recently, I discovered that I have forgotten how to read. Forgotten how to slow down and dissect language and syntax to paint a picture with my mind. At some point, my brain became a high efficiency machine designed solely for skimming through piles of words and the rapid digestion of information. Going back to school only made the machine more monstrous. Survival in an accelerated program meant reading to make it through, not for knowledge. By graduation, sitting still long enough to get through five pages of a book was unheard of.
Multi-tasking….the gift and the curse.
It was absolutely terrifying to me that I went from literally being able to get through a several hundred page book in three days to not even being able to get a chapter deep in a week. So, as I sat down a week or so ago to draw out my vision board for the year, I felt it only appropriate to incorporate my estranged love (please excuse the horribly geographically incorrect drawing of Italy). A little research and I came up with my 12 books for 2016.
On June 26th of 2015, the Supreme Court ruled to allow same sex couples the legal right to marry anywhere in the United States. I remember this day distinctly because #blacktwitter (including myself) was still very much heavily enthralled in the continued fight against the use of gross and egregious misuse of force by police officers. Major news outlets were offering 24/7 coverage of the use of deadly force that snuffed short the lives of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott and numerous others. Washington DC was on fire with protests. The Black Lives Matter campaign was steamrolling. White Privilege had become a commonly used term. With the Supreme Court announcement however, media coverage took a sharp shift, and I couldn’t help but notice that many of my followers of color felt as though the announcement was somehow part of a “mass conspiracy”. Several of them felt as though the timing of the ruling announcement was intended to “distract” from the burgeoning Black Lives Matter Movement.
“But back to the “black lives matter” campaign..”
I saw this tweet, and others, and felt….uncomfortable. I realized that this discomfort was actually internal conflict, and I was quickly thrown into a reflection of how the last two years of my life changed my personal understanding of life so dramatically. In the winter of 2013, I closed out a messy end to a two year relationship with my then boyfriend…and began a new relationship. With a woman. A white woman.