I wish I could take a break from racism, but news of racist actions are inflicted upon me. Between blackface for Halloween and the Twitter trending hashtag #stopblackgirls2013, I’m so exhausted. And borderline depressed.
So I’m coming up with a program for my health. I need to protect myself so that I can have a bit of space to think critically about what I can do to promote social justice and love in an atmosphere of hate.
1. Extra prayer and time with the Lord
Every morning I have a french press and time with Jesus. Even if I read only a few verses, me sitting in silence before Him, resting in Him, laying my burdens at His feet prepares me emotionally for the rest of the day. I would rather skip eating breakfast than skip time with Him.
2. Getting off Facebook
I love FB. It’s how I promote this blog. But every time I log in, there is another news story that bothers me so deeply I have problems eating for the rest of the day. Because I do work as a pop culture scholar and read/think about critical race theory, it is so easy for me to deconstruct what’s going on in these news stories. But for my own sanity, I have to pick and choose when I do that work.
I forgot how much I used to love running until I hit the gym today. I didn’t think about my work, or about how some people are disrespectfully using the name Trayvon as a verb. Instead, I focused all of my energy on simultaneously rapping and running.
4. Reading Fun Books
Is there anything better than a 400 page book about somebody else’s drama? When I’m stressed out, I find whatever chick lit book I can and devour it. Popular fiction is my one true addiction, and I thank God it’s not a drug.
My mom called me today to tell me about a pair of jeans she wanted me to have. Last night, we talked about hats. Although I love talking to my family about big issues, it’s nice to mentally break and talk about clothes. And hair.
6. Tea with Y.
Laughing witha best friend over drinks or tea always makes life’s struggles much easier to handle. As I panic about the state of the world, they help me strategize and find real solutions to my problems. Y., my best friend in this area is a writer and philosopher, so it is always nice to chat with her. And of course, we trade corny jokes that only English majors would get. I mean, who else laughs about George Eliot and Middlemarch?
When I get depressed or upset, I stop eating. So I’m working on cooking again. I try to place all of my energy into what I’m doing at that very moment, instead of my mind wandering off to my to do list or the world’s terrible issues.
After I take a break, I can think with a much clearer head. I can operate from a space of victory and faith rather than a space of defeat and skepticism.
Even in war, generals must sometimes sleep.
Take care of yourselves. And then get back up and fight.