Black and Exhausted: I Don’t Have Words For This

1

“Ugh! Not another commentary about race!” you might be thinking.

This is not that.

Let me put my mom hat down for a moment and speak plainly as a woman of color. Some of you may be tempted to check out at this point, but I challenge you not to.  

I’m not going to talk about race. I’m too tired for that conversation. I’ve been talking about it and living it since I was called N*gger for the FIRST time in Kindergarten. My emotions are numb. My bones are tired.

There is a swirling in my brain and a dull hum like radio static. I’ve exhausted my ability to express genuine grief, pure sadness, or to allow myself to be vulnerable yet again, hoping to help someone understand what this feels like.

Photo by Stephanie Godwin-Chu

I’m not going to talk about race.

I shoulder dreams, desires, hopes, and joys. I want to exit this world knowing that I somehow changed it for the better. Sometimes I am just too overwhelmed with where to start. I am exhausted with the daily task of deciphering people: the mean, the unhappy, the friendly, the fake, the dangerous, the bitter, the allies, and the foes, to name a few.

I haven’t watched the news in four years. I just can’t. I frequently have nightmares that I cannot explain – being kidnapped, being trapped, falling, being chased … all with the general theme of running for my life. I have had to remove friends and family from my social media accounts for sanity’s sake.

But I am not going to talk about race.

I have opinions. I have experienced good and bad. I have biases. I know truths. I bleed red and spend green just like you. I work hard and hardly judge unless I am forced to. And yet again, I’m expected to choose a side to plead allegiance to.

I am tired.

Too tired to discuss it again, memorialize another name, answer more questions, and explain.

Too tired to soothe my child yet again.

Too tired of talking and debating, turning the other cheek, smiling through my teeth while seething underneath.

But I’m not going to talk about race.

I live in a skin that is beautifully mine, handed down by sharecroppers, maids, teachers, factory workers, and slaves. It is part of me, but not all of me. It is one of my most precious gifts – a mark of survival. I carry it with me wherever I go, even at times when I wish I could leave it behind.

I’m just one in a sea of many compassionate people who are hurting and grasping for meaning. Some of us will be loud. Others will be shockingly silent. We are your co-workers, neighbors, church members, friends, and family. We all want our children to have a better world than the one we live in now.

So why is it so hard to talk about race?

1 COMMENT

  1. Love this woman! She is such an inspiration in her faith, perseverance and love of people. Thank you Stephanie for all the love you share for all people.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here