It’s late and I am doom scrolling. It feels as if the pressure from this pandemic has pushed us all to the edge. Every day there is a new tragedy. Mass shootings are on the rise. Inflation has impacted the economy. Food, gas, and housing prices are up. I want to feel brave and to celebrate myself, but how do I celebrate when everything feels sad?
I decided these musings were better pondered over a cup of coffee with my journal and a book. So, I walked to my local coffee shop the next morning and settled in to read another chapter of Showing Mary by Renita Weems. This book quite literally changed my life. It reads as if she is talking directly to you, and in many ways Weems was talking directly to me. These words leapt off the page, “Some of us, however, wake up one day and realize we can’t continue lying down and waking up and spending our lives rearranging the furniture in suffocating rooms anymore.”
I was beginning to suffocate in the room of worry and fear—I felt trapped. Anxiousness became more of a constant companion and my faith felt absent. I began to ask the question: How do you thrive in a world created to stifle your voice? How are we, as Black women, supposed to thrive in a world hellbent on silencing us, overlooking our deaths, ignoring our voices, and discrediting our expertise? As I journaled, I began to answer my own question:
You lift your head. You determine to believe in yourself beyond what anyone else thinks about you. You draw outside the lines that define societal and gender norms. You free yourself from trying to imitate others or follow the trends. You innovate as our ancestors have always done, you create new strategies and new ways of being. Your inner peace and joy are resistance. You cling to hope in a way that almost seems reckless.
Pausing to re-read what I had written, I took a sip of my coffee and smiled. I wondered what else could calm my anxious heart, and I thought again about our ancestors. What we are seeing today—they saw far worse. And if they could press on anyhow and find a way to cling to an ounce of joy, surely, I could find a hopeful reality to cling to as well. I decided towrite 10 things I am thankful for:
- My husband
- My family
- My dog
- My career
- Publishing a book this year
- My upcoming honeymoon
- The wisdom of my grandparents
- My closest friends
- New TV shows to enjoy (like Severance)
- My breath—because I am still here
After taking some time with my thoughts, I felt freer. I was reminded of my own humanity (and, at times, my frailty). I will have hard days; on those days I will have to fight to stay grounded and remember the goodness that is in front of me. I finished my coffee and scribbled down my last few thoughts before starting my walk back home.
This world is full of pain and tragedy. I am trying to find a way to be present as a Black woman and not be engulfed by the consuming pain and grief our nation is feeling. I don’t want to grow so used to it all that I become callous. I want to stay tender and gentle. I want to stay present even when it’s hard. I want my faith to guide me even when it feels like God is far away and maybe He has forgotten me—forgotten us. I want to evict anxiousness and fear from my heart and life.
Some days the sun won’t shine, and the storm will last too long. On those days I want to stand in the drizzling rain after the storm and look at the rainbow. God’s promise to me—to us—that everything is going to be alright.
Have you felt anxious or worried lately? What helps you deal with stress and anxiety?Leave a Comment