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An old test is revealing in more ways than one

I am hammered today. Most of yesterday I spent writing up a proposal to get a business grant. I had less than 48 hours to do it, and in the middle of all that I had a Very Important business call with a new partner and a Very Big Client.

That went well, but as a result, heaped a shit-ton more work on my plate. While we were working I had a crew at the house, painting, banging, moving shit around, being noisy, as they have to be.

I have no clue how to write a grant. I had almost no time to gather essential financial paperwork, which was sent just under the wire. As a result I had to rewrite the grant proposal. It’s submitted, not my best work. I am ridiculously inept when it comes to financials, thank god for accountants.

People get paid very well to write winning grant proposals. I ain’t one of ’em. But I had a chance at some money, and I threw my heart into making it happen. Now I wait.

I am fucking exhausted.

I made it to the gym this morning but I turned off my phone.

Took a nap.

I am fucking exhausted.

A huge move, a bad accident, injuries, new town, busted toe, horrific fires, a house constantly under construction. Yadda yadda yadda.

I can, and do, take care of myself, but I’m just drained.

Just out of curiosity, before I make myself a nice cup of honey tea, put in a movie and say the hell with today for the rest of the day, I took this test.

It’s instructive. My score was substantial. You’ll notice that the authors failed to add Trump Presidency (a score of perhaps 500) and Pandemic (oh, let’s say 1000) to the test.

You might note the mortgage numbers. Kinda outdated. How about $200k, not $20K?

I guess those folks simply couldn’t imagine such things back then. Neither could we.

For my friends of color, I might add that this stress test, designed by White folks for White folks, doesn’t include the impacts of racism, of White Supremacy marches, White denial of their right to exist, I could go on.

That would make a Stress Test for People of Color. Now that I think of it, I think we are way overdue for one. I would heartily invite my Black writer buds to weigh in on this, for this might finally be one of those areas where people might see what you are saying about your world. Rebecca Stevens who writes about what it’s like to be told that the ONLY reason she gets a job is ‘cuz she’s Black and a woman.

Marley K. who has a way of pointing to what we don’t want to see, but need to, that racism is a way of life, whether or not you march in a White Supremacy parade. Jeanette C. Espinoza and Sharon Hurley Hall who pen their own versions of being brilliant, Black, female and disposable in this world.

And my incredible buddy Rosennab, whose wisdom and quiet way of moving through such landmines is a testament to both brilliance and her Goddessness.

There are plenty more of you, and I would invite you to weigh in. Those of you who are researchers and PhDs, what dimensions are missing on this standard test, which would speak to your reality, which might help other folks finally see that what exhausts them pales (pun intended, forgive me) in comparison to Being Stressed While Black?

So you see, while my score is high enough to rate the likelihood of my having an illness by about 50% without the factors I just listed, I might point out that my friends of color live with a high likelihood of illness as a way of life.

Which, kindly, is what those folks have been trying to tell us. We White folks with our “tut tut, you don’t understand,” really don’t understand.

Far too many of us don’t want to understand, which, if you will forgive my pointing out, adds yet another layer of stress.

So yeah. I’m fucking exhausted. But I can breathe. There’s a great deal of what I am feeling right now which will pass. Next week will come and go, our nation will do whatever it has to do to deal with the next president and a seriously damaged Supreme Court. And Covid and a lot more sewage that this Administration left us as its hateful, ugly legacy. I hope, pray to say Good riddance.

But I will still be able to breathe.

Those folks stuck in pollution corridors, forced to live next to toxic waste dumps (but they’re making so much money, according to President Pusface), living where it’s impossible to get decent fresh food, with the Sword of Damocles of imminent loss of home as yet another factor?

Photo by Analise Benevides on Unsplash

The cost of picking a side, the right side, the only side

Some time this summer, about two hundred people picked up their suitcases and summarily fired me as a writer of choice. My best guess, given the timing of that wholesale departure, it’s because I choose to make race a part of what I write, because I can no longer either ignore it nor can I comfortably write without acknowledging what my brilliant Black friends have helped me embrace at a much deeper level.

To not understand that race does indeed touch everything, that it invites us to see what I have as privilege (I can take a break, afford an air purifier, etc) that so many do not, that the truths of what my Black writing friends are writing are painful but important, is to remain ignorant and inept in a year and during a time when we simply can no longer be either.

So yeah. I’m fucking exhausted. But I can still breathe.

You might be irritated, bored or annoyed that some of us are still writing about race. You might be tired of reading and hearing about it. Therein lies the problem. You can choose to stop reading, stop listening.

People of color can’t.

So if I may, I will add another line to People of Color Stress Test: When White Folks Won’t Listen, Stop Caring, and Want Things To Go Back to “Normal.”

Score: Over the top.

Photo by Adeboro Odunlami on Unsplash