Lately, I cannot even make sense of how I feel. Parts of me seem to straddle this invisible barrier between being fed up, and being a stubborn bull that just keeps going. Most times I realize that I am purely numb.
Yet, there are multiple times during the day where I feel like I am gonna simply combust. My entire body hurts. The physical symptoms of ongoing anxiety cause for my body to feel tensed, spent and my muscles the inability to relax. I am pretty sure that my entire body feels as if I am in fight mode all day. Ready to fight like Ali and Joe Frazier sans boxing ring. Simply my emotions draining my body and souls of its ability to behave correctly.
Fighting to keep breathing, and not let my mood swings get the best of me. Fighting to not allow the anxiety I feel to swallow me up. Fighting to maintain a level head in a hostile world. Fighting to keep my grief at bay, and allow myself to be present; so that I don’t have a post partum episde. Episodes where there are large gaps of white noise. However, in present day, there are some days where my face feels to be feverish, and flush with pure frustration…the type of frustration that makes your heartbeat quicken…and it feels as if you are holding your breath for eons. Sometimes, it seems as if I literally have to make a point to BREATHE. Which is so ironic, because there are protests around the world going on where there are constant chants of “I can’t breathe.” Most days it feels like I cannot…until I have to ensure my brain communicates to my tired soul to keep praying…. Keep having faith, and trust God… to keep breathing.
My nerves are bad and my body shakes at times. I am angry. Frustrated. Sad. Exhausted. Alone yet not lonely. I am an overwhelmed mommy who taught school work for work in between WebEx meetings; like most mothers during the pandemic. It seems as if I went from overwhelmed mommy to a mommy who is just trying to ensure that her children are safe, healthy, and happy. I went from one day being the mommy that is desperately trying to interchange through her many hats; to the mommy who realized quickly that we cannot manage multiple hats on our head perfectly. After I realized that with our lives being interrupted out of nowhere that I had become the mother who had no head to hang the many hats no. I became that mommy who became aware that these sudden life changes are affecting not only me, but my babies and I have no clue what is happening, why, and what is expected of them to do. I quickly became the mother who planned to sacrifice any and everything. And I woke up and not only did my tradition role as mommy evolve within hours, but the role of mommy became undefined. Even today I have no clue as to how I am managing; I know that I have learned things I knew I could do, and then I began to do things I had no idea I could do.
In fact, it feels like I KNOW NOTHING these days, but I will admit that my heart feels broken, but full simultaneously. When everything is in motion going day in and out, my ebbs and flows. But I get to see my babies smile and laugh more than before. After much thought I know that I am cyclically in different stages of grief for multiple reasons.
For one, I grieve for my grandmother and father. With my grannyboo, I have truly begun the grief process for the only grandmother I know. For some reason, I don’t feel immense grief and I realized that perhaps I have convinced myself that she is still in her memory facility. Maybe I have ensured that she is going about her normal day in her room. Maybe she is still participating in her daily activities with her friends, and wandering the halls with her baby dolls. I remember when I first visited her in her later stages of Alzheimers; it made me very uncomfortable seeing her truly treat the cabbage patch babies like her children.Yup, I refuse to think of anything different.
Second, I have only just began the true grieving process about my daddy. I truly believe because of my role in all the planning; that in order to stay stable, I was able to be in denial. Despite the fact that we cared for Daddy daily; I operated in denial. Then the stages of intense grief and sadness began. I went from being extremely angry about daddy. I was mad that I kept forgetting that he was gone… and then I would try to call him. In conversation I would call out his name as if he is here in present tense. To be honest, I still catch myself speaking of him in presence tense. Then I immediately switch to sorrow.
In the beginning of the pandemic, I could not escape my grief. I could no longer grieve alone. Being at home with his room would suffocate me daily. Eventually, I moved his things out. My goal waking up first in the morning led me to gutting the room that belonged to him, and focusing on making it into my office. It helped that the smells of him evaporated. The artifacts are packed away….and I see cheery colors of rose gold and white….and I have slipped into acceptance. I don’t cry as much. I miss him, but the gut-wrenching nightly cries have subsided.
I am grieving my pre-COVID life. I didn’t realize just how much I thrived from being on the go. Working in the community and meeting new people allows me to be in my element. I am now grieving as of today, my role at my job as a result of a merger. I have tried to move on, but no avail, I was never able to take my skills to the next level (not yet).
On the surface level, I miss dancing in traffic. Most importantly getting dressed up and going on a date with my husband. My routine. Talking with my friends aka the Dacula Starbucks staff. I Miss going to visit my in-law. I miss my daily work schedule and meeting with my friends for lunch, and brunch, and happy hours on the weekens. It was a welcome reminder of my pre mommy/wife role. It helped make me miss them more, because I talked of the little family on those times out. I miss getting up and putting on makeup. Getting my hair and nails done. I definitely miss my monthly massages. I miss being around PEOPLE. The extrovert in me seems to crave being around others even more….and quarantine aint having that.
Thirdly but importantly, I am grieving the state of my people in America. As a social worker, mother, wife and friend to man; I am hurting that there has been no break for us. Especially when it comes to Justice. Though I have been “numb” this contributes to me feeling as if there has been no break for me. In this present time, there continues to be HATRED and continued DISRESPECT to our mere presence. The majority of the Caucasian race can sleep at night; despite Blacks not being able to breathe. No, I did not watch that man take his last breath; after I have had my recent share of loss. With the constant pre-mediated attacks on blacks; I am hurting because my husband is on the front lines… My humble husband who wears a SWAT uniform daily; he is still a gorgeous and intellingent BLACK MAN. I worried when I first met him, and knew that he was at the beck and call to save others. I remember the first time I saw him wear the badge; I felt proud because he had taken an oath to preserve life, but I feared for him as a BLACK officer no matter the fact he is in special ops.
I worried then, I worry now, and I pray.
Perhaps due to my current medications I am unable to pinpoint my exact mood. I mean I am fukking angry. I feel isolated in my grief, and I am Frustrated.
With all of the different levels of grief that I am breathing through; I feel completely unaligned. I am afraid, but I am unsure exactly what I am afraid of. What I do know is that I am exhausted. Mentally. Physically. And I am depleted. When will I feel better?
Will I ever be balanced again? Will I ever feel like the Erika I worked so hard to get to? Will I stop feeling depleted as a result of numbness? It feels as if I will feel borderline. In my current present; though I don’t feel present. Nowhere near than being in the past time; yet know that there are familiar remnants of the old Erika. I an overwhelmed mommy, a wife that is loved; with hats sprawled about the ground.
Borderline sounds about right. Not here. Not there…yet present.
*Hums Mortal Man*