self-isolation diary #4: you may not like what you find

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

so we’re at that point where you find out certain things. about who’s supposed to be your duly elected officials, companies, other political leaders, your friends and relatives. and yourself. in a time where you are probably undergoing extended self-isolation because of COVID-19 to the point where the days are blending together, these epiphanies have their way of showing up. and in some cases, showing their entire ass. you might find out something that you need to know or reaffirm or let go, and the truth of the matter is – you might not like what you find.

the reaction to these moments will differ depending on where you are at right now within your spirit. not everyone is going to meet these moments with some grace, especially when there’s a life-threatening viral outbreak running rampant out there. these moments vary – you might come to realize that the company you work for won’t even consider extending you working from home. or that they’re laying you off, sometimes via voicemail. you might discover that there’s some fraying of your family ties that you hadn’t noticed or put off until a time where you can confront it. you might feel some dissatisfaction at where you are in your own life. you might be totally pissed off seeing photos and video of people not taking the quarantine precautions you’re taking. you might find yourself replaying old conflicts and beefs in your mind. or reliving past moments you shortchanged yourself. you might even find yourself being irritated by those you love and question why they’re acting a certain way. crisis brings all of these turbulent emotions up and puts them in a blender along with your mood.

these moments might make you lash out, or add to your melancholy. it can be more intense whether you’re alone or with others during this time, fueled by uncertainty. and i am not going to sit here and act like you can just get through it, ’cause that would be a load of elephant turds. what you feel is going to hurt, and leave some residue. all of that surrounds the truth that can be found in that moment. it’s like getting one of those massive tacos and you’ve got so many layers until you get to the meat (or veggie protein for you vegetarians & vegans) of it. for me, this past week i had to deal with the recurrence of imposter syndrome which i hadn’t felt in quite some time which was spurred by a rejection of a pitch to an editor. being in that zone again and recognizing it early meant i had to steel myself for the wave of confusion and doubt that welled up. i had to talk myself through what was happening, openly. then i had to go back and look at my past work, and finally shake it off by affirming my worth. there’s people i know who are struggling and they display it through some harmful practices like excessive drinking and ego projection by spreading misinformation and being highly aggressive and defensive when confronted.

i say all this to say…you might take this time to dig deeper into who you are and who others are to try to be better on the other side of this viral outbreak and quarantine. if you are, there is a chance that you might wind up confronting certain things you might not be too keen on dealing with. self-examination and reflection isn’t always the Instagram-friendly zone some believe it is. it is work, sometimes rigorous work but positive. if you are reading this and you’re at that stage right now, be honest but be gentle with yourselves and others. and remember, these are difficult times for everyone. we all got our own dragons to slay.

i hope these words were of some help…until the next time, walk good.

self-quarantine diary #3: you got a right to not be okay.

this is the part where this can’t be reiterated enough – this entire situation with the coronavirus pandemic is absolutely, and totally fucked up. in all aspects.

and there is nothing wrong with saying that, writing that, expressing that in any fashion. because this is nothing that you can be or should be comfortable with. there’s currently 52,672 positive cases of those who are afflicted with COVID-19 in the United States alone, with 600 deaths at the time of my writing this post. and despite what a certain someone currently occupying the White House is saying, there’s no way this is going to subside by Easter. if you’re in one of the hot spots like I am in New York City, you are at home (if you’re able to). and your governor and mayor and other city officials have effectively locked down your city save for essential businesses. you’re in the second week of a quarantine with varying reports that it could be lifted as early as July and as late as November. the news reports are unceasing at times, with their statistics and the warnings of what could happen in terms of people getting sick and dying. you might be worried about your family, especially your children if you have any. you might be worried about your elders, who are at high risk and at the moment being talked about by some of these craven politicians as if they’re supposed to take that long trip like in Soylent Green or just sacrifice themselves like the followers of People’s Temple and Jim Jones forty years ago. you might be scared because you’re alone. or scared because you’re in quarantine with someone who you are terrified of because they abuse you and you can’t leave.

things aren’t okay. and it is okay to feel like the world is caving in. do me a
solid if you’ve read up to this point. i want you to take a moment. think about everything that’s been weighing on you these past few days and weeks.

now. let it out however you need to. yell. cry. wail. hit a pillow, curl up in a
fetal position, pace. this is a safe space to do it. once you’re done, you can
read on.


okay. feel better? good. and if you don’t feel all the way better, that’s fine too. there’s going to be good days and bad days and we’ve got a looooong
road ahead to get to the other side of these times under a pandemic. now, i’ll share this with you – i had a period of time this afternoon where everything weighed in on me because of a truly heavy moment. i felt the emotions well up and i let it go. then i went to my backyard, and watched the evening sun begin to sink. i felt the warmth on my skin, and it was a reminder that even in the middle of things being turbulent and downright scary, there are constants we have to hold onto in order to make it through. i’m not a therapist. i’m not a prognosticator. i can’t tell you when this current situation will end. all i am doing, all any of us are doing – is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. that’s what has to be our modus operandi, and the basis for our desire if we choose to, to do more. to reach out more. to give more. to listen more. to heal more. to love more. but none of those things are possible unless we let ourselves in to the realities before us. that Churchill quote about if you’re fighting through hell, keep going?
valid.

you have a right to not be okay during this time. don’t let others tell you otherwise. but the next part to that is, it is imperative to not stay in that “not okay” space. because then you find it harder to claw your way out. and if you’re reading this and you’re in that space, be real about it. and reach out.
easier said than done i know. as a mass of humanity, we are faced with a challenge that hasn’t been seen on this planet in a century. it feels like the entire world is shifting. even if it might be a shift decades in the making. you have to feel every emotion there is in order to understand that, even the bad ones. because we’re all not going to make it through. but those who will, need to know that they’ve got a right to feel and express every emotion they have including fear. that’s how you learn there are more safe harbors in the hearts of people than you’d realize.

i hope these words helped you out…until the next time, walk good.

If you need professional counseling during these times –
https://www.psychguides.com/guides/mental-health-hotline/
https://www.nami.org/find-support/nami-helpline
https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

self-quarantine diary #2: keyboard thugs in the age of self-isolation aka stop sharing that bull***t

Photo Credit: Poster House NYC

The thing about social media has always been this – it’s a tool, and how you use it matters. And in these past years, we’ve seen both the good side and the awful side of how social media has been utilized by people. You would think that the presence of a global pandemic on these shores means that there’s going to be many who are banding together to recognize that we’re going through something very serious in this country and that they could actually try to not be that THAT PERSON. To not be a total crusty scalawag out here on the web. But unfortunately, this brigade of keyboard thugs is still working hard at stirring up hateful behavior and being dumpster fires in Dockers even as many are in self-isolation. And they’re taking their cues from the *President of The United States. As a result, this is how some of them look:

Yeah. I notice some of y’all taking this time to be EXTRA STUPID when it comes to how this coronavirus is spreading. I wrote about this happening over here as it was apparent that the United States was going to get hit hard with COVID-19. But there’s STILL a lot of deliberate racism directed against Chinese people and those who from other countries of Asian descent tying them to how the virus occurred and how it spread. It ranges from those who insist on sharing those videos of people eating bat soup in another country months ago to those who are now sharing videos of someone cooking a live dog in a kitchen. I had to put someone on snooze on Facebook and mute a couple people on Twitter for sharing that last video. Yes, you’ve got a lot of people who tend to say the quiet stuff out loud sharing these things without any shame. Shame. Remember when that was a thing here?


Now, you’ve literally got someone who’s supposed to be the “leader of the free world” sitting up there going from calling COVID-19 “a hoax” 2 weeks ago to now beginning all of these daily press conferences from his task force calling it “the Chinese virus”. He’s even doubled down on defending it. It’s gotten so ridiculous that there was a reporter who literally asked him today “is it safe to eat Chinese food?” More proof that all of those who voted to have this current administration basically voted for ignorance. There’s even those people from my own community sharing these sentiments trying to justify that “hey, they’ve been racist towards us for so many years, so I don’t feel bad.” Hiding behind some backwards-ass Black nationalism stance. And this is why you fauxteps online get clowned like this:

The thing about this rise in racism against Chinese people and other Asians is that it isn’t entirely new – you all have heard this expressed in jokes and memes but it takes on a more dangerous feel in these times. There’s people literally getting threatened and hurt over this. Yes, the pandemic had its origins in a province of China, and the details behind that are still sketchy. Do we know if there was animal-to-human transmission? There’s reports but none of them have been absolutely verified. What I’m saying is, have some damn sense. There’s some of you out there who want to rush online to prove your worth by sharing things that are hateful or haven’t been verified and all you’re doing is showing your unwashed ass might have really thought you won a lottery from a Nigerian prince at one point. Don’t think we don’t see that you’re not talking trash about some of these folks who flew from Italy all over the place being asymptomatic carriers. But your internalized white supremacy will have you talk out of the side of your neck about Chinese people and Asians on a whole. To them I say, you’re better than that.

There’s historical precedent for this too, with the Influenza Pandemic, otherwise known as the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. It got labeled that despite the fact that it really originated on an Army base in Kansas. It got to the point that the Spanish government literally had to protest to the other nations of the world like, “don’t put that bullshit on us, yo.” But the newspapers of the time persisted because of a little trend back then called yellow journalism. Some of that is highly evident among a cross-section of people today in the way this stuff is shared online. Don’t be part of that crowd. Stop sharing it, call out people that do share it. Because that’s not going to make anyone feel safer during these times and those that are doing it need to do something more productive with their ashy-ass lives anyway.

Until the next time, thanks for reading and walk good.

self-quarantine diary #1: learning to release the bag.

Image by Matthias Böckel from Pixabay

so, since COVID-19 has hit the United States and the rising cases here in NYC and other cities and states have compelled folks to self-isolate and go into social distancing to stem that rise, I’m in the house with everyone else. Now, I normally work from home so that part isn’t new to me. But a pandemic changes the game entirely. The moment things appeared to go left over in Wuhan, China, my family and I started prepping. For me, that preparation was essentially re-learning to let go.

Let go of what? Now as much as I’m gonna sound like one of those old school Shaolin masters from a B-movie martial arts flick (yes, I’m already aware I’ve got the baldie for it), it’s learning to let go of the need to consistently secure the bag using my ego and my pride. to stop making it all about myself and figure out how I can step up and give to others. To quote Styles P, “instead of being selfish/I’d rather be selfless”. Trying to do that at first meant I had to give up the idea of looking foolish or wanting attention. You see, I haven’t updated this blog in over a year. And in that time, dear reader I admit there were things that changed in big and small ways. I got more writing work, bigger bylines. But as I gained those successes I lost a lot. Lost someone I came up with in a tragic motorcycle accident. Nearly lost my older brother. Nearly lost my nephew. Had a trip to the ER. I lost the desire to really write poetry. And, I lost my father. I won’t lie, that all took a toll on me.

The thing is though, life is about loss even as you gain. It’s appreciating both in their lane when the time comes. Same goes with this current outbreak of the coronavirus. As it became more apparent what was taking place, and the news and other media started sharing how deadly it was and how this nation on a whole wasn’t prepared, I felt that same fear of loss settle in. I was afraid for my mother, who was in the high risk group as well as my older brother and other family members. I found myself gripped with anxiety, to the point where I was sweating and thought I had the symptoms of the virus. But I worked my way out of it. This is why I will never sit there and belittle someone’s fears during this time. There’s enough uncertainty out there and with how some people don’t give a damn about others, even to the point of not giving a shit about social isolation to help protect others from getting sick. Again, it was about putting pride and ego aside and admitting that I was afraid. Admitting I was anxious but still needing to get past that to be there for others who would be as well.

I got a lot of inspiration in that regard these past couple of days. I got support through my sister and brother who came up from D.C. and from the rest of my family in their calm and loving way. I got that burst of energy as I was asked to be godfather to one of my best friends’ sons. I got that vibrancy from an old friend in town who wanted to link up and we did, catching a great art exhibit and sharing some wonderful food. And I got that from another good friend who put the call out to do something grand to bring people together in a video. See, the fear of losing is really the fear of feeling like you won’t have anything to give if things feel empty. I got to feel full and strong and to everyone of them (yourself included) I am thankful and grateful.

I’m going to close with this – you don’t need to hold onto the bag of fear so tight that you can’t receive what and who you need in this moment. I’m not saying you’re never going to be afraid once you let it go, because that would be bullshit. But in times like this, you have to just suppress it, get past it and
accept what you can and can’t. And once you do, that bag does get lighter. Believe me.

That’s it for now, until the next time…walk good.