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I am the daughter and goddaughter of nurses. I am a writer with a day job as a CNA. I am a mother who is a writer, whose day job was a CNA. My last day as a CNA was May 26, 2021. My last position was at a local hospital, and I started there at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. I can tell you this–I have worked in Level 1 Trauma Hospitals and Medicaid facilities. I can tell you this was something I never would have believed had I not been thought it in these cranberry colored scrubs.
When I started, I thought I wouldn’t survive it. Honestly, I was scared. I had children that needed me, and a marriage that was ending. All I could do was call my mother–whom was as nurse when AIDS hit. I was meticulous about my house cleaning, laundry, and wearing my masks at work and when I left work. I even thought about nursing school again! I even got accepted.
Then, the aches started. The pains were more insistent. There was no staff on my floor. There was management that didn’t care, and I heard management talk about how they ‘were tired of all these protests’ , and ‘I’m tired of hearing about Black Lives Matter.’ Then, my heart flutters started. Again. And the stress of this job was getting to me. Being the supergirl at work was making me tired–and making me ill!
I wasn’t here for my kids, and for the want of money–I was going to try to do nursing again. For them.
My best friend has been trying to get me off the floor for the past 5 years, as of this month, I have been a CNA for 7 years. And through her tenacity, and my education, I started a new gig.
At a desk.
During daylight hours.
And my kids see me when I am awake and aware! In moving into this side of healthcare, I am humbled. I am scared. I am now at a place where I can work on my writing and have a life as well. I can say now, with confidence, I am a retired CNA. I am a retired CNA.
This profession–and it is a profession!–has taught me more than people think it would! I have seen people at their worse, them dying, and at their absolute worst–and still have to care for them. It’s thankless, back-breaking, and we are not paid enough. Not nearly enough. For what it is I want to do, nursing can’t hold that. It cannot, and will not!
I am thankful for the new position. I am thankful for the new opportunities, and I am thankful that the Lord has freed me up in this manner to do what I need, what I must. Besides, I had ‘office hours’ for the hours between 10p-4p anyway! And now? I can have a writing schedule…like normal people.
At this point, I can say my 30’s have taught me a lot. I know how you flip bills, drive in snow and how to always keep deodorant in my purse. On this day, the farewell of my 30’s, I am unsure if I can say that I am grown. I’m still not sure what that means or what it looks like! But yet, I am.
I’m a grown woman—with teenagers, rent and a car payment. In five years, I’ll have a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old. I’m accepting that I’m a divorcée—and own my part in the ending of both marriages.
My thoughts going into my fourth decade of life, in this fortieth trip around the sun, I am thrilled. And…settled. I am more me than I thought I was.
I am no longer shrinking.
No longer whispering.
I am no longer concerned with people who don’t matter to me.
This birthday is a milestone because I have made milestones. Out of those, bridges over waters I didn’t always trouble. Yet, I’m not afraid to cause trouble.
First: Billy Porter is everything! Now, with that said, let me get to a proper reflection.
I loved POSE from the first episode of Season 1, Episode 1 when the Mary Jane Girls were singing IN MY HOUSE. I got into the show after Funky Dineva’s review of the show on his YouTube Channel. I loved it! I loved it! I don’t know what I am going to do on my Sundays with this being gone! But, perhaps, I am getting ahead of myself.
One of the things that I loved about POSE was the unapologetic nature of the show! How good the storytelling is! And how bomb Elektra is! I am fan of this show and a fan of Ryan Murphy because POSE is the continuation of what PARIS IS BURNING truly was! There are no caricatures in this show! There is nothing forced in this show, a cis-het woman, it has forced me to confront any biases I have, see exactly the world that transwomen have been going through since FOREVER, and realize that the way I felt when Candy was murdered by a trick when she was only trying to take care of her House? The way I cried with that? This is how transwomen feel when another transwoman they know is murdered for just being themselves!
Shows like POSE are needed because representation matter! Ryan Murphy with the help of Janet Mock and Jennie Livingston, and the other excellent staff kicked in the door of FX! They were just what the world needed right now, and for three seasons, he GAVE all of that to us–every ounce!
I cannot wait to see what he does next! I cannot CANNOT wait!
Stanning Moments (in no particular order):
Besides, nothing will be as good as Damon reading Pray at the table when he found out him and Ricky were smashing! Whew, chile!
When Stan got Angel that condo and put him out of it when she was mad!
When Elektra and her House broke into that museum and took all the clothes!
When Papi and Angel first got together.
When Elektra and all the girls went to the rich man’s house for a weekend and he just wanted to be in latex in a garage.
WHEN ELEKTRA READ THAT BECKY SUE JANE DOE LIKE A DR. SUESS BOOK!
When Damon got into Dance school and joined Bianca’s House.
When Candy was haunting people, and the moment when her Dad and Mom.
When Elektra killed that man on accident at her job and went to get Candy at her job to help her.
For more, watch the show yourself. You won’t regret it.
in 2021, some white women are still doing what their lesser ancestor predecessors did—trying to make the world move by their tears. Once again on this free clock app, Becky Sue JaneDoes and all her little friends have decided to start this trend where they basically cry on queue and cut it off just as fast! Forgetting the Black bodies and blood both attached to said tears!
The cognitive dissonance on this app as a superpower!
When I first saw this trend earlier this week, I was taken aback. But not shocked.
And to be honest with you, even now, I can’t even say why I wasn’t shocked. Perhaps it’s because I’m well aware of my history—personal, national, and global. Simply put? Lying white women who cry are murderers: history was both dictated and recorded that.
History is deeper than my opinion.
I am no longer in a place of my own self discovery and acceptance by which White women calling me name can move me from my point! As I’ve said before, it is one thing to be an accomplice, it is another to be a performative ally!
This group of White women don’t even know what they started! They don’t even understand, neither can we conceive, but they just admitted to! And how tough their role is well which they now have to hoe! The fact of being in this tone deaf, and this ensconced in defending it? That’s a learned behavior.
Dressing up this up this trend as an acting as an exercise, “Black people are taking it too serious”, and they are not racist – – but those of us on this side? We see it differently. And it is that vision, powered by history, that is on our side! White women’s tears have been weapons to kill people, disenfranchise larger groups of minority people, rob opportunities, and generally make everybody else’s life hard!
Follow my favorite cousin (one of them!) on TikTok —@cfstory—for all other history tea. Thank you for all you do, Sis.
What do you think about his grapevine a debate in 2021 it’s just how crazy it got! This conversation about whether not black women should wear bonnets outside has sparked conversations of tone policing, generational trauma, misogyny, misogynoir, and beauty standards as a Black women.
This conversation has also led to that five-dollar word for policing: respectability.
In seeing this debate play out in real time, I cannot help but wonder and think about what I grew up with. My parents are both Baby Boomers. I was taught to be pretty my hair had to be straight a.k.a. ‘done’ and I couldn’t leave the house with my ‘hair wrapped up’. That was not allowed! My father, the proud Black man he was, knew the value of imagery and projection! The unwritten rule of Black girlhood—you can’t do what White girls do!
My father knew that in order to equip me for the world to handle the conscious and unconscious White Gaze was to give me a name first off that did not sound intimidating (read: sounded white) and be able to sculpt my growing up, and my aesthetic in such a way that I would be more palatable to white folks around me.
In the raising of being raised as the Respectable Black Girl, they were certain things I just knew I couldn’t do. And not just wearing bonnets outside! When Brandy Norwood in the mid-1990’s came out with her braids (Brandy Braids or Box Braids) I asked my parents if I could have them!
I was told no. I’m still not quite sure as to why I couldn’t get them. The Paul Mooney quote about White people being relaxed when your hair is relaxed comes to mind…
But yet in the comments section of some of these TikTok accounts and DM’s of their creators, is the dirtiest kind of war! There are Black folk fighting other Black folk like Voltron! They are fighting each other with the same slurs and coded language racist White people use to describe, discriminate against all of us!
From being told that Black women look ratchet, tacky, ghetto, unkempt and classless, to name a few. With the idea being, “When we go outside with bonnets, who’s gonna take you serious?Which leads to the other great debate (as always): what Black women do with their hair!
It was devastating to see other Black people denigrate, pile on, and rip apart Black women just because we choose to wear what we were we go outside. It just confirmed my deepest fear: There is no safe space to truly we just Black and woman! Now, I understand that Black people in this nation have been in a place where everything about us has been police or controlled—including how we look and how we look at ourselves.
The one thing that needs to happen to come back to civility, there has to is the radical accepting of self! This can only be done one life, one generation at a time! Even if I as a Black woman choose not to go outside with my hair wrapped up in certain cases, and then cannot judge another Black woman who does.
The world judges us both when they follow us through Macy’s anyway.
I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t wanna write this piece. Because I’m still quite upset that Earl Simmons is no longer in the world. I was a fan of DMX starting in high school in early college (late 1990’s, early 2000’s). I liked his gravely m voice, his linguistic dexterity, and he said exactly what he wanted to say! A trait every writer can get behind. But remember: rapping is still just poetry in its elements in at its function. Poems are just a form of quick storytelling – – so why would rap be any different?
And losing him, the world has lost something precious. We all know about the drug abuse, we know about all the kids, we know what the drama with his babies mothers—but he was talented!
He was worthy of love and to be appreciated just as he was. The one thing that makes me so irritated, that is so heartbreaking about his passing, is the world wanted to focus on his drug use, not his work. But this is always the case with Black artists who die before their primes—before truly realize their potential.
They are remembered for the tricks and traps of fame and fortune; those being used in trying to fill holes that they never fill, and didn’t cause. These traps are worse than anything the SAW universe could dream up!
But the one thing I can say that I miss about Earl Simmons, about DMX, is that they won’t be another one like him. And I’m glad things are being put in place now to put his work out. To release or we release songs in certain cases things to Swizz Beats.
With everything going on in the world, and plus my own misgivings about my talent about recording it, giving commentary on it, I did not feel qualified to come to you all. And that said, I almost gave up writing, but truly I thought about it for a second. Trust, I thought about being able to keep up with the demands of time and space at this point! There are reaction pieces I haven’t even done yet because I didn’t think I was strong enough to do it. What are things about being a voice (and I can except that about myself now), is everybody wants to hear you.
Even when you can’t hear yourself.
Let me be real with you because we’re family. Your girl had a crisis of Imposter Syndrome. I can say that in all truth! Imposter syndrome is the insidious kind of depression you could ever have (in my opinion). This is from someone who suffers from episodic depression—I called them my ‘blue days’—that is a lot.
But what I have decided to do is take my own advice that is given to my writing clients: write through it.
Fight for the words!
Fight for the pages!
I fought to regain my strength and my voice! And I’ve done that. I had to do that! I cannot give up being Black, woman, and writer all at the same time! Only two of those things are immutable! I refuse to live without being all three!
Years ago, the Lord told me that I had a ‘nation in my belly’.
He was gonna make me ‘a voice, and not an echo!’
How humbling is that? And because of my finite understanding of the divine plan of the Almighty, I didn’t totally believe Him– – and now I do. And honoring my faith, in honoring my talents, I got to get back at it. So with that let me get back to work.