Truth Is, I’m Tired
There are some days when I come home, strip out of my clothes, turn on the television and just sit on my couch. I make plans to be productive, schedule appointments or call friends I haven't spoken to in a while but they never come to fruition. Instead, I just sit. Thinking about all of the things that I need to do or the approaching deadlines I have. Wondering if I’m going to be able to scratch anything off my personal to-do list during the upcoming weekend. Scolding myself for the things that should have been done, but aren’t yet. All of the above. I’ll get up in ten minutes and get to work. No make that 20. Well, it’s almost 7:45. Nobody starts working at such a weird time. Might as well make it the top of the hour. Yup, I’m going to move. News flash: I don’t.
I’m burnt out. I work an 8 hour plus day and still have work to do. I work a 40 hour plus week and still don’t get everything done. How this happened, I’ll never know. But it’s a constant, and it’s exhausting. The television might be on, but it’s watching me more than I’m watching it. In my head, I’m contemplating all the ways that I’ve become so overwhelmed. This in turn leads me into thinking that this is a never ending cycle and I’ll never be done working. Which means all my friends will be rich and I’ll still be working for the man every night and day. Do you see where I’m going here?
Every time I make a mistake or do something right, the first thing my mentor tells me is “Remember, you have to be twice as good to get half the recognition as they do. You can’t afford to fuck up.” It’s a true statement, but God has it fucked me up. I pushed myself to the limits in academics and in the workplace because I’ve always been told that I had to be the best of the best of the best, sir!! But in doing so, there were times where I mentally and emotionally exhausted myself to the point where all I could do was cry. I’m almost in that spot now, and I know that there are other black women in my circle that are in that same position.
We, as black women, will freely admit that we are the backbone of our culture. They wouldn’t make it, both literally and figuratively, without us. But I must admit that many of us are driving ourselves into the ground just to make it or stand out. That’s at home, in the workplace, at church, in our social circles, everywhere. The “twice as good” and “strong black woman” stereotypes are doing more harm than good, no matter how true they are. Basic personal needs and wants often go out the window in exchange for those of others, especially in the workplace.
So, how do we stop being burned out? Magazines would tell you to cut out stress where you can. They make it sound so simple. How do you cut out stress when it’s your job or your family or your significant other? Those things can’t be “cut” so easily. When you’re trying to make ends meet or just fucking survive at your job, how do you cut that stress? Leave? Certainly not before you find another job. Furthermore, how do you explain to someone that just by being a double minority, or even a triple one, in this world is stressful? That just waking up in the morning and turning on the news or opening twitter can cause you to feel burnt out because our world is such a shit show right now. How do you deal with that?
For me, the answer is: “I don’t know.” The only thing I can do is manage. When I have one of those days where I just sit on my couch, I try to acknowledge them. I tell myself that it’s okay to take a break or cancel plans with a friend because I need some time to myself. I also tell my friends the same thing. When they call me and express similar feelings, I talk to them about it. I tell them that they need to schedule some time for themselves. It’s important to acknowledge that you’re burnt out so that you can make a plan to “rejuvenate” yourself. Self care is real and it comes in many forms. Have some grace with yourselves beloveds.