So Much Left to Do, Still: Regaining Purpose During a Pandemic

By Last Updated: August 18, 2022Views: 651

And then George Floyd happened. Time was continuing to move quickly, but there was no simultaneous delay anymore. Everything was so sudden. The balance I had attained was thrown. But I found equilibrium, because before I am anything else, I am a Black woman. I watched as people began to tear things down in their rage. I wanted to tear things down with them. I wanted to scream and yell and riot against the injustice of it all. I still want to.

Through all this, the general preoccupation with death that I’ve always had, a result of never believing I was going to live very long, suddenly became very prominent. It was all I could focus on. There was death around me, death all over the news, the looming idea that it could very suddenly happen to me, my friends, my family. In IOP therapy we talk a lot about things we are grateful for. Many times during these exercises I don’t participate. It’s difficult to consider a grounding force that keeps me alive and existing. It’s selfish, I know, the idea that my children aren’t enough. But anyone in the perils of depression can understand—sometimes we can’t think outside of ourselves. But in those moments of protest, I suddenly felt purposeful, tethered to a cause.

Spaces and places that were empty for so long were suddenly filled with bodies that walked and yelled and spoke for the ones who are no longer here speak for themselves. I walked and yelled with them. During the East Liberty protests, which turned into a standoff with the police, I ran with them, pushed back against tear gas and rubber bullets with them. In those moments I wasn’t afraid, because I had already overcome so much in such a short span of time. And I know this is bigger than me, bigger than a virus, bigger than a loss of sanity. When fighting for this cause, fighting to dismantle white supremacy, there is no space for fear. I now lean into the lack of control, and regard time as an abstract concept, a very temporary condition. I have so much left to do, still.

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