It’s Time To Check In: How Are You All Doing?

I’m physically an emotionally exhausted. How are you coping with this new way of life?

It’s Time To Check In: How Are You All Doing?
Photo by Larissa Gies on Unsplash

I woke up this morning with my readers on my mind. I want to know how you all are holding up during this once in a lifetime pandemic. I’m cut out to be alone and isolated, so if I don’t have to go out for weeks, I’m good. If I don’t see people, I’m perfectly fine. I can entertain myself by writing, reading, yard work, playing a solitary game, gardening or cooking. I know some people need to be around others. I feel for those people who need that. We all need human connection, and this virus has robbed us of one thing we need most for our survival, human connections.

I’m Worried

I’m worried about my children. My son works for Wells Fargo in a call center and as of this week he’s still be forced to go to work daily. They’ve deemed him essential, so he must go to work. He wasn’t given any personal protection equipment (PPE), and he doesn’t know when he’ll be allowed to work from home, mind you, his supervisor has been working from home for 3 weeks. I’m so pissed with America right now I can’t even speak. I had to send my 28-year-old son gloves and masks so that he could try to protect himself. I feel so many workers have been exploited by businesses and they may end up making the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have the basics. I wrote about my feelings on Twitter and it kind of went viral (**didn’t mean for that to happen face**).

Author’s Twitter Post

After my post, Wells Fargo started moving folks out of the building quickly. After nearly two weeks, he’s finally set up to work from home. Since my initial post, four more people have tested positive in his building. I hope it wasn’t too late. I hope no one dies. Call centers are disgusting, unsanitary, and not cleaned properly despite all the promises businesses make. We should not force people to work in those conditions, and they surely should provide the proper resources for staff if they deem them essential. People shouldn’t have to go to work sick either. I hate big business and capitalism. There are thousands of employees working outside of their homes to keep America going risking their lives. They don’t have the luxury of an option to work from home. I hope we’re being grateful for it.

Getting down from my soapbox now.

My other troubled kid seemed to be getting his life together and then his temp job laid him off as soon as Covid-19 entered the conversation, erasing all gains. He’s unemployed with zero options because of the current economic environment and locale. Soon, he’ll be relying on me to aid his household once again. A parent’s job is never done, and if you’re a decent mom, you never stop worrying about your children. I’m sure as hell tired of being depended on, and sometimes it’s draining being responsible for other people. I’d love to just be alone for once in my life, only having to take care of myself. Until then, I guess I gotta fix other folks’ problems. A good woman’s work is never done.

I’m worried about you guys. Kay Bolden, I hope your son is doing better and I hope you too. I’m worried about Sherrye Richardson, as she’s dealing with the passing of her husband of 30 years. She wrote a heart-breaking story about grieving and the inability to have closure thanks to Covid-19. I can’t imagine what her life must be like in this moment, and I worry about how she’s holding up. I just want these sisters to know I’m thinking of them. These are stressful and trying times.

Lastly, my partner’s mom is in a long-term care facility on a memory care ward. She’s exhibited signs of Covid-19. I wrote about my feelings and the experience here. Shit’s real now. Life can change for any of us in one phone call. Talk to your loved ones. You never know if it will be the last time you get to talk to them. I don’t know how any of us will recover from the trauma left from Trump and the various dimensions of the national Covid-19 response.

I’m Tired

My children are adults, but my partner has four kids in the home, including one who is graduating from college into this shit economy come Summer 2020. She retired just in time to be home with her children during the pandemic. It’s extremely challenging, especially on our relationship. We have no peace, no privacy, no release. We can’t even go for a walk because all the people in our community insist on not following social distancing rules or wearing masks. I’m putting on my best face, but I’m physically and mentally exhausted.

I’m tired of trying to explain to teenagers why this time is so dangerous as they make ridiculous requests, placing their lives and mines in jeopardy.

I had my children earlier in life and I’m so glad, because I would not survive raising children and homeschooling during this pandemic. They know everything, you can’t tell them anything, and they think they are smarter than we adults are. I know most teens go through this phase, but today’s privilege teens are an entirely different type of arrogant and disrespectful. If my kids were born during this time, I’m pretty sure I’d be in jail for child abuse or Baker Acted because I would be insane right about now.

Another issue for me is that it’s almost impossible to work from home now because someone is everywhere all during the workday and half the night. There is no escaping people. Even when you’re trying to have a peaceful time outside, someone comes to ask a stupid question they already know the answer to as if they are a toddler.

I don’t know how people do the homeschooling shit if you have K-12 public school kids to teach and monitor. I went from being moderately engaged in education to now having to wake up daily to be fucking IT support/monitoring for three computers and 3 mobile devices, be the cafeteria lady, a teacher, and whatever else the school district should provide to school kids during the school year. I’m telling ya what, I am too old for this shit. I did it already. I’m rethinking my life choices at this moment (lol), but I signed up for it all with this relationship so this comes with all the other challenges of dating a person with young children. It’s not definitely what I had planned for my life.

It’s difficult. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t feel good. I’m tired, and it’s perfectly okay to admit I’m uncomfortable and tired. I’m human.

For those of you who have been homeschooling your children, I tip my hat to you. It’s a huge job. I think about the digital divide and the parents who are unable to provide distance learning for their children because of the tech divide that existed long before the pandemic hit. The pandemic exposed a lot of ugly things about the inequity in all things in America. From health care, to whose deemed essential workers, to education, the differences of how this pandemic and economic crisis have hit the disadvantaged are vast and highly visible. The question once the dust settles what are we going to do about it.

I have a new respect for grocery store cashiers and stockers. Period. I never realized how invaluable they are. They are more important than teachers, police, or the mailman in times of crisis, although each are important in their own right. We need to eat, and the most valuable people working right now are the people who serve and sell food. This pandemic has been a reality check on the value of the who provide our basic essentials.

I’m Reconnected

The pandemic has led to me speaking with my family more frequently. I text with my children daily or every other day. I text or talk to my dad at least once per week now. I’m checking on family members more regularly. He’s a long-haul truck driver delivering toilet paper and paper towels up and down the east coast. We get to talk to each other about how life is changing, which is nice. I also get to hear how things haven’t changed, which is a little discouraging. Hearing about the things truckers are enduring is sad, like their inability to buy food because their trucks can’t go through drive-thru windows or the inability to go into stores because of the time it takes now for social distancing limitations. Time is a precious commodity and truckers have little to spare in between loads.

My dad grew up dirt poor and through Jim Crow, so he knows how to make the best out of almost any situation, including on the road. My bestie was laid off last week, so we talk more since I can’t go home to South Carolina for visits. My mom even started calling me for some unknown reason. I haven’t spoken to her in several years. I limit my talking to my mom though because her conversations often lead to some crazy conspiracy theory and it makes my blood pressure elevated. I’m not sure how people with mentally ill family members are holding up during the pandemic.

It’s difficult for caretakers to take care of their own mental health when dealing with family members who don’t have the willingness, capacity or self-awareness to take care of their own. You can’t stay physically safe if your mental health isn’t good.

I’m Planning

I’m planning on living, but I’m also preparing in case I become infected and die. I live in South Florida, and between the stupid president, the stupid governor, their desire to pursue White Supremacy over humanity, and Covid-19 lingering around here, anything can happen. I’ve completed my healthcare directive and made my wishes known to family and my best friend. I also mailed copies to everyone. If I live, I’m fine with it. But if I die, I’m fine with that too. It’s hard living in America, and it will get a little harder in the coming months. I’m just exhausted from living during this time. We must plan to live and to die at the same time.

Please know this isn’t a cry for help. I’m a realist and I don’t believe that White people will ever do enough of the right thing to make my living not be in vain. Before the virus we weren’t taking to the streets to demand the removal of this monster. The people with the most power and safest positions in society do nothing while the rest of us die from White Supremacy. Apathy is fine until shit stinks too close to your own home. I’ve seen all the world has to offer me on the Black hand side. I’m preparing for my demise.

I’m Sad

I see all the essential people having to come to work, leaving their families and putting their lives at risk to feed us. Some people had zero respect for the lowest-paid workers in our society. It took a national crisis for the people who are delivering our food, driving our liquor to our homes, prepping food for takeout, and those guarding the cleaning supplies to be seen as invaluable contributors to society. The richest people in the world aren’t saving us from a damned thing. Instead and per usual, the poorest we ask the poorest among us to sacrifice the little they have to save us, while the rich keep getting richer. What is wrong with us?

I’m Angry

I’m angry because none of this had to happen this way. I feel like I did when I was first placed in foster care, abandoned. I feel like other folks who were orphaned, abandoned, and kids in foster care who ran away from violent situations, defenseless. I feel like I’m forced to do what kids who grew up two the hard way do, fight to survive. This is our plight for the moment, but we don’t have to remain here. We can have all the faith we want to, but faith without work is dead faith honey. We can’t oppose this trouble being fearful, and we cannot fight this trouble sitting on our hands stewing in anger.

We must fight to survive. We must fight this Covid-19, and we must fight against our own government.

The author Joseph Heller wrote in his book Catch-22, “The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.” The government is acting as our enemy right now. To survive, we must protect ourselves.

Donald J. Trump was never going to lead us anywhere except to death and destruction, and by golly here we are looking just like our dying and destroyed selves. As I’ve said previously, the best reveals of his presidency have been how many people are loyal to White Supremacy, that there are a lot of gullible people walking around us, and America is a shithole country too. How can America save the world when we can’t even save ourselves? As I look around at our shitty national infrastructure and lack, so yes, I feel anger. I knew we weren’t better than the rest of the world, but I had no clue on just how fragmented we are as a nation.

How are you all doing? Check in, let me know how you’re doing. I hope all is well. No complaint is too big or small.

Marley K.