Its hard to write about anything other than the protests. I won’t be one of those people who expresses my outrage and then moves on.
I’m tying to educate myself on what I can do to be part of the solution and keep the conversation going. I know, at the very least, I will not remain silent to avoid upsetting other white people when I refuse to accept their dismissive comments towards black and brown people (I’m talking to you “all live matters” and “but the looting…” people.) I’m trying to convert my anger into action. I’m trying harder to listen to people of color and let them tell me what they feel and what they want and need from me, not the other way around. I’m reading their stories. I’m also trying to be sensitive to the fact that, as a gay man, while I absolutely believe we have shared experiences of oppression, it is definitely not the same, it is not the point, and it is not a competition. I am struggling with acknowledging LGBTQ+ Pride month (June, y’all) in the midst of (what I hope) is a social revolution and profound change in the national conversation and action pertaining to the systematic, blatant, and deadly oppression and disenfranchisement of black and brown people. (Psst…the gay rights movement really gained momentum (note I did not say “started”) and forced gay oppression and abuse into the collective American face after the Stonewall Riots. Sometime, you need to make people see and hear you by whatever means necessary.) If you’ve never had to protest, march, or riot for your civil rights or equal treatment and protection under the law, let alone in the midst of a potentially life threatening pandemic, acknowledge that. And be grateful.
On the home front, we are dealing with several issues. Our fence is falling down, our septic system is on its last leg, and some of our trees are ailing. We are trying to address all the issues, coordinating bring people in (oer outside, as the case may be) to deal with the various issues in the order they need to be dealt with. The tree guys were here yesterday at 6:45am and spent several hours sheering the uppermost branches of a tall pine dropping branches onto, and battering, our already feeble fence. They then removed one third of our backyard Oak that had grown over our house and was damaging our roof. We have a fence guy on call, but we can’t start that work until we have a septic diagnostic done so we know what we’re facing with that. We are grateful to have some funds to pay for all of this (living frugally has paid off) but its wiping out what little savings safety net we had. If only it wasn’t hitting all at once.
Adding more straw to the camel’s back, the vet informed us our dogs need teeth cleanings and/or oral surgery to have a tooth or two removed. Expense aside, the thought of putting them through that is stressing me out.
Finally, we are starting to put in place a return to work plan and employees are already up in arms about safety protocols, PPE, fear of exposure, and losing their (admittedly temporary) telecommuting privileges. As low-rung management, I have the luxury of enacting directives from above, and taking hits from below, without actually getting to be part of the decision making.
All of this has amped up my anxiety – and my eating, which is wreaking havoc on my waistline, not to mention my self esteem.
I feel like I missed the line I was supposed to stand in to get all the tools and coping mechanisms I need to function in a crisis. Every day is an experiment in survival of the fittest and I’m definitely not winning. I am tired. I am weary.
And I am running out of ice cream.