Today was a rare type of day for me, both the spousal unit and I were not working today, so I had the time to do some serious reading on-line and checking out other blogs. That said, there were several blogs I read by fellow sista bloggers that really hit upon something that has been deep in my spirit since turning 35 earlier this year.
Black women, sistas, we must take care of ourselves. I know personally I have a tendency to put everyone else before me even to the point of causing myself panic attacks. I had my first panic attack at 19, about 6 months after elder child was born. That first attack was so bad, I had to call an ambulance, I just knew I was dying.. after many hours and many tests, it was determined that I was just stressed out. That initial attack set the stage for something that I have lived with ever since.
In the sixteen years since that initial attack, I have had some good years and some bad years, the worse bouts were about 5 years ago this summer when my Moms got the news she had lung cancer, the time from diagnosis to her death was about 8 month and let me just say that during that time I was in full superwoman mode. After she died I was numb but I soldiered on becoming the matriarch of the family at 31, less than 3 months after she died I bought my first house and a few months after that I got pregnant with mini-me. Can you see where I am going with this? Never at any point did I stop and process any of it, I was like the energizer bunny, even after mini-me was born I threw myself 150% into parenting the second time around.
Well the crash finally came, last year when I was teaching a class, in the middle of a lecture I nearly fainted, I figured it was an anxiety attack so I ignored it. Well, I will spare you all the details but a sista ended up being carried out of the classroom by the paramedics and rushed to ER. More tests, and once again the diagnosis was a panic attack, ended up getting some heavy duty drugs in ER to get me to unwind.
It wasn’t long after that attack at work that life hit me with some changes that made me cool my role as my Granny used to say. I lost my job and in the process of losing a job that sucked the life out of me got a whole new outlook on life. It hit me that I had to start caring about me, don’t get me wrong I love my family and friends but I can no longer give so much of myself that I have nothing for me. As Black women we have a tendency to love hard and sometimes that love is not returned as hard as its given.
How many times have we given emotionally and financially when deep down our spirit was saying hell no? I have done it too many times and I doubt I am alone. Yet how many times do we feel we can call on each other when we are in need? Probably not as often we like. I say this in light of a sista who died alone on a floor in a place that should have helped her. Esmin Green was at a psychiatric hospital in NY and from the reports on the news it sounds like a sista was having troubles, yet when she died alone on that floor, I want to know why the hell she was alone? The report I read said she had 6 kids, belonged to a church; where where the sistas and brothas from the church? Now I am not trying to slam anyone but as another blogger put it and I agree, any of us could be Esmin, as someone who suffers from panic attacks reading her story brought me to tears.
No, this is not right.. sistas not only do we need to take care of ourselves and recognize when we have reached our limits, we gotta take care of each other. As women sometimes we get caught in competition and games but as Black women we need each other, we need each others strength. Maybe if Esmin had had a sista-friend there, maybe she would still be alive but at the very least she would not have died on a cold hard floor all alone.
To many of us have forgotten that once upon in this country the only way to survive was to care about one another, all we had was the strength of our ancestors and each other. We need that once again, sistas we have to to care of ourselves and one another.