I caught the flu in January. Two weeks later on February 13th, 2020 I was diagnosed with pneumonia. The doctors prescribed a steroid shot in the butt along with pain meds, antibiotics, and cough medicine. For three weeks, I stayed home in bed and watched whatever I could find to keep my spirits up. I was TERRIFIED that I would pass it along to my housemates, so I stayed in my room and ate a bunch of unhealthy comfort food. I was so scared - how did I get so sick so fast? Was it through dancing? Live music gigs? Did I hug the wrong person too tight? There was nothing that I wanted more than to be cared for, but no one was available. For 14 days, I suffered from pneumonia: I was self-quarantined in my home away from everyone. Although I live in a house filled with healthy people, I had to do it all for myself - cook, clean, sterilize the common areas, remove my trash, organize my medicine, and more. Even though the medicine cured the flu and pneumonia, it still took about 6 weeks for my body to recover from being overmedicated. A week later after meeting my goal weight through sickness (because we’re all one cold away from our goal weight), Los Angeles closed all businesses, restaurants, bars, and performance venues & enacted the “stay at home” order, which meant that I was officially unemployed again. Just like that, COVID-19 entered into our lives and took away all my gigs, accounts, performances, hobbies, and more. It’s been a few months since the quarantine and I feel a lot better these days. Even though I ride my bike 20 miles and jog for 20 minutes each day (you know - just to make sure the lungs are working fine), I often wonder if I would have healed faster if I had someone to take care of me when I was sick. I felt like I was being punished for existing as a black woman all over again.
I feel my story is how some of us feel right now. While I'm aware that there are self-sufficient black people who are able to live life without much interaction from other human beings, the rest of us don’t mind sharing our lives with you. Yes, we experience joys such as Oprah’s book club, Beyonce’s latest albums, and Barack Obama’s presidency, but only after years, decades, and generations of slavery, bigotry, and institutional racism. There’s only but so much trauma that a human being can experience, so we often emotionally retreat. We go within and try to find a place of love and hope where people like us for who we are and not what insecure racists & bigots say about us. It’s hard to see another black person get hurt because we see ourselves and our families in these countless deaths.
Travon Martin could have been my cousin.
Freddy Gray could have been my brother.
George Floyd could have been my dad.
Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland could have been me.
Ahmaud Aubery could have been my co-worker.
...and so on, and so on. and so on.
For years, black people have been the victims of systematic oppression, racism, bigotry. Black women have been mocked, appropriate, and raped while hate crimes against black transgendered men and women are at an all-time high. While we’re mourning our loss and trying to get better and heal ourselves, it sure would be nice to have someone take care of us the way that we take care of you. Systematic racism, bigotry, and police brutality are not problems that black America needs to solve. We cannot be victims of your oppression AND your educators - you have to be willing to learn why black America is reacting like this and figure out what you, your family, and your community can do to be better human beings. Racists have to stop blaming black people for the traumas that have been inflicted on us. It’s time that you put your privilege aside and start honestly and compassionately communicating about how you ignore, hurt, and kill black people every day.
The only reason why I’m not out protesting George Floyd’s death is that we are also in the midst of a viral pandemic. After having the flu and pneumonia this year, I cannot risk my physical & holistic health anymore. Instead of marching and rallying in public, I’m staying home & making warm, plush scarves. Yes, it’s around 80 degrees in sunny Los Angeles right now but I LOVE scarves, so riding my bike and designing handmade luxurious scarves each day is how I’ll repurpose and channel this anxious energy while also doing my part to support my people.
My life matters to me. My family’s lives matter to me. My friend’s lives matter to me. Your life matters to me. My ancestors’ lives matter to me, which means that BLACK LIVES MATTER. I want to support those who are doing what I’m unable to do - protesting for the death of George Floyd and my other brothers and sisters who’ve died at the hands of a police officer. My goal is to contribute at least $500 to BLACK LIVES MATTER. Proceeds from this purchase will help to support their administrative efforts.
Allies & non-black people, my suggestion is that you figure out how to hold racists accountable for their actions against black people. Be our real friends - not just someone who appropriates our humanity. Support us and give us time to heal and grieve our 400 years of systematic loss, death, and pain. We can’t fight this battle AND grieve - it’s too much on our spirits. We cannot continue to do the emotional labor anymore - our health is being compromised, which means that our physical, spiritual, and brain health are now at stake. America has lost too many unnecessary lives at the hands of rogue cops, racist legislators, and bigoted public leaders who have benefited from hatred. Work together to stop this hatred by donating now.