I don’t know about you, but last week totally kicked my ass. The human mind, body, and spirit is not designed to go nonstop with no meaningful pauses. I haven’t had a truly restorative and meaningful break from the daily grind since the summer of 2019, when I went away to Kripalu. Sure, I have taken a few days off here and there, but as I sit surveying the smoldering wreckage of my life, I am also grappling with the physical aftermath of going into total sloth mode while navigating the emotional and mental impact of stress.
Once again, aging—that pesky bitch—rears her head! When you are young, you can stay up late, watching the worst television and stuff your face with the tastiest and most unhealthy foods all night. Last week, as I grappled with hives, heartbreak, and the horror of what my crash led to, I denied myself nothing—and, well, my body is talking back. She is not happy.
Late night Popeye’s chicken, lemon tarts, and all other manner of tasty treats—while they felt so good going down—have put my almost 51-year-old body into revolt. That pesky little hiatal hernia that I have is rearing her ugly head and reminding me that I am too damn old for a straight diet of grease and sugar. While the hives—thanks to a five-day course of prednisone—have left, I physically feel like Mike Tyson used my body for a practice round and injected my body with helium. Holy momma bloat!
Thankfully, while my body is still recovering, my mind is clear and I see glimmers of the sun peaking back out. Though after looking at the larger world events, it seems Momma Earth and all of us are just going through it.
As of this writing, the death toll continues to mount in Gaza and the conditions grow more dire. At this point, we are all bystanders to some truly heinous shit, and the adults in charge have decided that mass civilian death is simply the acceptable collateral damage of war. Where is our sense of shared humanity? I am a mother and grandmother, and when I think of the children of Gaza, it’s almost too much to bear witness to. But we must.
Last week, independent media was dealt another blow, as the stalwart of digital feminist media, Jezebel, went the way of Bitch Magazine and so many before her. As an itty-bitty media outlet with Black Girl in Maine Media, struggling to stay afloat and relevant (hence, why I am on Substack), it saddens me to think that we are quickly reaching the breaking point, where a handful of media conglomerates will be feeding us our information. Bottom line: As hard as it is in these economically challenging times, it’s up to us to support the smaller and more independent outlets—and writers who nourish us and teach us. Otherwise, they go belly up, corporations are not going to save us. The power of those media has been to give us the news that corporations, typically driven by conservative politics, don’t want us to see.
In fact, dare I say it? None of the existing systems are going to save us. They are part of the destruction and mayhem that we are co-existing with, and despite the weariness we are all dealing with, change starts with us. It can start locally, in our communities, but it starts with us. As someone who has spent almost the entirety of my career working for social change and having it almost crush my body and mind, I have no regrets. My biggest regret is not being able to convince others that if we all give a little, we can make a difference.
Just this past week, election week here in the States, we saw many of the politicians and agendas pushed by Moms for Liberty, a conservative group hellbent on turning the clock back on social progress, tank at the polls across the country. While we have seen an uptick in white nationalist and adjacent groups in recent years, as people learn more, they are pushing back. We do have power, even in a janky hybrid of a democracy on the cusp of going over to right-wing authoritarianism. Friends, take care of yourselves, and know that while you cannot pour from an empty cup, we must also think of what Shirley Chisolm said: “Service is the rent we pay, for the privilege for living on this Earth.” Think about how you can be of service to others, it doesn’t have to be big; it just needs to be heartfelt and consistent.
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