Is it me or this year seems to go on forever?

Is it me or this year seems to go on forever?

A photo of a dark mountainside highlighted by the vibrant sky as the sun sets behind it
I put alt text but I’m not sure if my description was helpful at all. Let me know what I could do better 🙂

2020 has been the longest year ever. Like watching the sun come sit close to the horizon but never setting. We wait for it, expect it, anticipate it. But the night sky never shows. Everyday passes by quickly, but still somehow the year drags on. It’s hard to believe that this is the same year that we lost icons like Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman (we looked up to them so much as black people, Black Panther felt like such a win and such a huge loss). They feel like two very different time periods. Like it happened years ago.

It’s been a year of loss for black people, for women, for trans people, for the LGBTQ+ for all marginalized people in more ways than one (if I say more about it I will dissolve into a emotional mess or write pages and pages). I want to cry for them but no tears will come out, so I lay here in the dark staring at the ceiling.

In some ways it doesn’t feel real. The chaotic insanity that is America right now. But the pain is real, the social isolation, the hollow ache for physical touch (it is SO hard not being able to express my love for family and friends through hugs). The lives lost from COVID are very real. It feels like we are constantly grieving, if we stop to think about the year we’ve all been through long enough. There aren’t any words for all of the feelings. But I think this short piece is enough.

State of Being: A Poem

State of Being: A Poem

If you could spend a day in my body, you would know how mentally and physically exhausted it is.
How frustrating it is when your body breaks down when you need it to go just a little further.
If you could spend a day in my body, you would have the urge to scream at the sky and punch needlessly at the air.

You would stare at your room and hope it would clean itself.
Hope that you have the energy to move from the spot you’ve been in for an hour.
You would know patience and kindness in the face of adversity,
your old rival unworthy of any extra energy.
You would know that sometimes you aren’t patient, or kind, or even positive.
And that is okay.

If you could spend a day in my body, you would see the world from a different perspective.
You would hear no, and think “actually yes, I can. and I will”.
Take yes and run with it, with or without approval
You would write.
Write until your hands are red and your mind is overflowing with ideas.
You would write in a flow from your higher self.
You would sing until your throat is sore, mouth is dry, and diaphragm aches for a break

If you could spend a day in my body, you would spend a month because one day is simply not enough to explain this feeling of being.

If you could hear what I hear, you would hear a lot of commotion.
Outside and inside.
You would hear the sounds of ideas flowing outward in the span of a breath.
a quick sigh, contented.
You would hear the cries of people who just lost someone, the cries of people who are still here.
You would hear, always, a baby. New and angry.
You would meditate on positivity and gratefulness everyday, and always notice something new.

If you could spend a month in my body, you would feel trapped and free to do as you please, all at the same time.
On the days when you feel good and the doorstep is only a few feet away:
You would stay in even though you really wanted to go out.
You would feel grateful and angry at the same time.
Simultaneously anxious and depressed.
You would pretend to be happy even when you really feel very lonely inside
You would feel carefree and joyful
You would feel love, a lot of love.

If you could spend a month in my body, it would be bittersweet.
You would get a taste of failure and sweet mango, frozen like ice cream.
You would taste copper and cookie dough ice cream (of course, it would be dairy free)
You would taste fear and uncertainty along with savory dairy free mac n cheese.
You would taste heartache and loneliness with a cool glass of sweetened iced tea (caffeine free)

You would remind yourself to stop and take a breath.

If you could spend a month in my body, you would be familiar with the intoxicating smell of a new book.
The smell of cornbread, green beans, collard greens, and turkey necks.
All of the things that make up a southern Sunday dinner.
You would smell lavender, and put it in on everywhere you go.
And chamomile and honey in the mug of tea warm tea held close to your chest.

If you were able to experience this body of mine, it wouldn’t be sexual

You would feel breathless,
physically unable to speak.
You would fee small
under appreciated, unseen, and unheard

You would know the pain and exhaustion that comes in waves, the same as every month

You would smell the strong minty scent of peppermint
Tingling to sooth aches and pains

You would reflexively demean yourself when you have a perfectly good reason for saying no.
For setting your boundaries
and living differently outside of abled expectations.

You would know the frustration of disabled people, ignored and cast aside
Vilified for asking for what we need.

The sun would appear as a small flame, a spec in the vastness of space – anger

You would put your heart out on the internet for everyone to read, or listen to

If you could spend a day, a month, a year, you would know a lot about me
– Written after a stressful target run and subsequent episode of fatigue and weakness.

Anxiety in the New Age of COVID (And Before)

Anxiety in the New Age of COVID (And Before)

I think social anxiety is something that people can relate to more now than ever. For me, it hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s always been there. And I’m going to be completely honest, I’m really struggling.

My social anxiety used to be so bad that I was afraid to order from delivery services like DoorDash or UberEats. As a freshman in college, I wouldn’t leave my dorm room outside of times when I needed to go to class. The few times I did leave my room to go to the cafe, I always sat in a corner where no one could see me. I would stare at the ground when I walked around campus because I was terrified to look anyone in the eye. I hated going to the grocery store alone, I kept a list and stuck to it. I couldn’t stand to be in a crowd, I hated even walking through one. I would start shaking when in large groups of people that I didn’t know. I struggled to add to group conversations and be present in a group setting. Many, many, many times my mind would go blank and I’d feel disoriented and embarrassed. Going into new classes was terrifying, my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. There were so many things.

I still struggle with it, very frequently as of late. I become easily overwhelmed socially and need breaks frequently. I haven’t wanted to talk to my friends, even online, because I feel so drained socially. I’ve been doing more social things lately because of grad school apps, that could be it. On top of that, the spike in racial tension that has been steadily increasing at an alarming rate for 4 years now. Even so, it easily overwhelms me. Not sure if it’s anxiety or depression or both, sometimes they feel the same. In the wake of COVID, I feel myself slowly going back to how I used to be. It’s a terrifying and safe feeling at the same time.

As a person with multiple underlying conditions, I have to be very careful. It’s the source of much of my anxiety because if I were to catch it I’d have a higher chance of dying from it. So I become so anxious that I don’t like to leave the house. It’s like there are two sides of me that are in a constant tug of war. Feeling like I shouldn’t let COVID keep me from living life but also being highly aware of the position I’m in as a person with chronic illness. What’s even scarier is that more and more people are developing chronic conditions as a result of having COVID. What does that mean for our future?

It’s super frustrating and a little infuriating when people give you weird looks for protecting your health and public health. Simple things such as wearing a mask or telling people back away from you or asking them to generally behave as if we are still in the midst of a pandemic. America is ‘re-opening’ and everyone feels like it’s over but it’s not. More importantly, they’d risk my health for them to have a good time and I’m not cool with that. So feel however you want to feel about it, call me paranoid (although I am not), but I’m not risking my health just because you feel like it should be over now.

Today I’ve noticed that it becomes difficult to sit with your own thoughts because of the anxiety. There is a strong sense of anger and irritation that comes along with it too. Becoming angry with other people who aren’t as considerate as they should be. Or, becoming angry out of fear of what may happen to you if the other person is sick. There’s also this feeling of frenzy that ultimately leads to mechanical, angry, obsessive, cleaning.

I say all this to say, I think that there are more and more people out there with social anxiety as a result of this pandemic. We feel anxious being around one another, every event (if held at all) takes careful planning and consideration, when out in people you can see people’s anxiety skyrocket when someone isn’t wearing a mask, the list goes on. At this point, we’re 7 months in and anxiety is something we are all familiar with. It makes me wonder, how will this affect the manifestation of chronic conditions and mental health issues in the future?

P.S. – I am not responsible for any wild behavior I may exhibit once the world is safer and COVID is under control 😌

Invisible Disabilities and The Harmful Idea of Quiet Strength

Invisible Disabilities and The Harmful Idea of Quiet Strength

I was scrolling through Twitter (as I tend to do) and found this Tweet by Matthew Cherry that didn’t sit right with me right away. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I opened the thread of responses. There I found a string a responses by someone else pretty much idolizing Chadwick for his “strength”. Here they are:

Both of their responses were pretty tone deaf, not gonna lie

I scrolled down a little further and found responses by Adriana White that nailed the exact feelings that I couldn’t name. (Which was very brave because they were getting attacked left and right, whew)

I was really upset because they were attacking Adriana instead of trying to understand where Adriana is coming from. It was disappointing (but not surprising) that people couldn’t understand: 1. Cancer is a serious disability and 2. This rhetoric is very harmful. Needless to say I added my own response(es).

I’m a smart*** because it really shouldn’t be that hard to put together and I’m tired of being nice to people when explaining it

I want to start by saying that setting boundaries for the sake of your own health with chronic illness is so hard! I struggle with it daily and sometimes I feel guilty for it even though I know I shouldn’t. It is a strange and unpleasant feeling.

It hurts to imagine what the last few years have been like for Chadwick. Acting is something he wanted to do with his time, and I’m grateful for it. But, he gave us so much more than he had to. It wasn’t without a cost and people aren’t getting that. People who are not disabled have no concept of what it’s like and most of the time they don’t really care to know. It is frustrating.

Disabled people, especially those with invisible disabilities, are taught to hide their pain and hardship. We are praised by society for allowing people to overstep our bounds. We are praised even more for crossing our own healthy boundaries.

We’re socialized to believe that it is admirable to struggle through it alone. Somewhere along the way we are taught that we should push through no matter the cost. There is always a cost. For some people it is deadly to “push through”. At the least it’s dangerous, painful, and expensive.

To speak more to the narrative of being strong, we aren’t born stronger. We’re not weaker either. We just live differently than others, the same way that everyone has to find their own way in life. We endure because we have to, and sometimes we choose to in order to do something we love. But, it is never as a result of strength that we suddenly had one day. It is a continuous uphill battle. For Chadwick, he was a very private person so we didn’t get to see what he really went through. People just see him and his roles and go “wow, he’s so strong”.

You’re so strong, man

If I tell you my life’s story and all you can say to me is “girl, you’re so strong”, throw the whole man away. Like, were you even listening? It’s better to say, “wow, I had no idea you were experiencing that. It must have been difficult” or some other form of acknowledgement. We need to acknowledge that the “ugly”, difficult, parts of having a invisible disability instead of pushing it away by labeling someone as “strong-willed” or “heroic”.

I think that because we are disabled, we are shaped differently by our experiences in the world. As people with invisible disabilities, we have to form tougher skin. The world has many things to say about the way that we look, speak, and hold ourselves. It sees our disability as an “excuse” for us to be “lazy” or “unmotivated”. We learn not to depend on agencies, institutions, (and generally other people), to advocate for us. Our silence, persistence, and seemingly unbothered presence is viewed by outsiders a kind of ‘quiet strength’. This may appear to people as being “strong” but in reality, it’s a culmination of experiences related to our health that we’ve had to learn and grow from over a long period of time. I say again, it is a constant push and pull. No one is instantly “strong”. This idea is something that can change, if people want it to. I hope to be a part of that. But, we still have a very long way to go.

Choosing to protect our boundaries and our bodies is worth celebrating just as much. Having a disability is not something to be ashamed of. Having a disability is not a negative thing. Having a disability does not mean that you are being deemed incapable of something. It does not mean you are weaker or stronger than others. That’s it, that’s the blog post.

Abby Johnson, Kindly Mind Your Own Business – I’m here to check your privilege and burst your bubble

Abby Johnson, Kindly Mind Your Own Business – I’m here to check your privilege and burst your bubble

Sorry to burst your bubble but I’m about to burst your bubble 🙂 The one where you have the privilege of being able to choose not to pay attention to or not to care about what is happening to black and brown people. It has been a really, really, really, really, exhausting last few months for black people. I am a black person. I had to plug my ears and cover my eyes because my anxiety could not take it. On top of that, for years I’ve watching ppl who look like me and my family, be murdered and receive no justice. I’m a little better now, as far as anxiety around cops possibly killing the people that I care about. I don’t become overwhelmed with emotion right away. Btw, I’ve never stopped being ‘radical’, I had to change the way I expressed it because it was making me so angry all of the time.

I’ve seen this video going around on Facebook made by an uninformed woman named Abby Johnson and at this point I’ve had enough. I have some things to say. But know this, I don’t owe anyone my energy. Explanations, responses, sources, feelings, what the fuck ever. Read and leave a negative reply if you want, but you are not guaranteed a response or explanation from me. Period.

Basically she made this whole video about how she has a black son (although she says he isn’t black and that he’s “mixed race”) and she would have to raise him differently from her other white children because he is black. She implies that because he is a black boy, he is more likely to do something wrong and get in trouble with police. So instead of blaming racial profiling for her son being pulled over or getting starred, she blames her son. Somehow she ends up going on a rant about how black father’s are never in the home and assumes that black women accept it. She continues to say we should be ashamed and how dare we accept this treatment because we deserve better. There’s more, I’m sure you may have seen it. It’s not my job to educate anyone because there’s really no excuse at this point, BLM is mainstream and I never thought I’d see the day. But I feel like this needs to be said, you’re getting a full lecture.

I’m here to let you know Abby, racism & racist establishments have separated black families for years, centuries. Not only have we suffered in our relationships with each other because of it, but we are constantly criticized and mocked for it. Sometimes even by our own family and acquaintances.

What I’m talking about is the overwhelming number of black men and women in jail compared to other races, often for “crimes” like having an ounce of marijuana (which is now a million dollar industry that white people are profiting from). Or using a different address to get your child into a better school. Or not completing their homework. Or a crime they never committed.

I’m talking about the school to prison pipeline that sends kids from high school directly into prison. I’m talking about the war on drugs which was actually a war on people, a war on black people. I’m talking about the crack cocaine epidemic to which the government responding by criminalizing people suffering from addiction instead of helping them. It is the very same issue as the Opiod crisis, expect this one affected mostly white people. Only then was it considered a public health problem and not a personal issue. Which by the way, those drugs (cocaine/crack) were introduced into black neighborhoods to fund a war in South America (Nicaragua I believe) which America had no business being in. Look up Gary Webb and the movie “Kill the Messenger” it’s based on him exposing the CIA and their involvement in bringing drugs to the US. I’m talking about families torn apart by drug addiction and those same issues being passed down to their children as a result.

I’m talking about the formation of violent gangs and the cycle of violence & trauma. Parents and children separated by gang violence. Gangs weren’t always violent, they were established to protect the neighborhood. This changed once drugs were introduced to the US and black people were given little to no other opportunity in their communities. It led to the reliance of moving drugs as a form of income. That’s why it is still such a huge problem in our community today, instead of revitalizing communities, they are gentrified.

I’m talking about the lynching of black men and women for sport. I’m talking about the murder and assault of black men who said hello to a white woman or looked at a white man the wrong way. I’m talking about families torn apart by the violence of white men and the lies of women.

I’m talking about GENERATIONS of slavery. African people from all sorts of different countries, with hundreds of cultures, and even more languages were stolen and forced together in a boat like livestock. When they arrived to whatever country they were sent from they were treated as sub-human, considered worth less than animals even. Torn from their families on an auctioning block like they were tools. Then sent to plantations where they worked until they died. There women were forced to have children by men they didn’t know, or raped by the plantation owners. They didn’t get to know their children, most of their time was spent in the fields. They probably weren’t allowed to do much talking. Some plantations were more “lenient” than others and they were allowed to choose a husband and marry, but most were harsh and uncaring. Those were my ancestors, they were resilient (or unlucky) enough for me to be here.

I’m talking about the trauma that is left behind as a result of our past. I’m talking about the abuse in the home and romantic relationships. I’m talking about the inheritance of heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and other serious health conditions as a result of slavery and being denied basic human rights such as proper healthcare. I’m talking about the anxiety and depression that many of us suffer from. I’m talking about the I’m talking about the generalization and assumption that all black families consist of single mothers and no fathers. I’m talking about the assumption that black people are violent and dangerous.

So Abby, I don’t NEED your input on the state of black families and black communities. I don’t NEED you to tell me what I should or shouldn’t accept from my partner. What I NEED from you is to mind your own fucking business and find good unbiased sources of information.

Peachtree Lane

Peachtree Lane

Neighborhood and community.
Family next door.
A home, filled with a quiet kind of love.

The smell
freshly baked pies and cakes.

The smooth surface
that light brown kitchen table.

Countless hours
talking, laughing, eating

creaky stairs
central heating and a/c
bedrooms, enough for all of us to have space

green, serene.
Muted peaceful days.

A lovingly tended garden
Fresh blackberries from the wild fields
Peaches and honey suckle straight from the tree.

Carefree, timeless, Haunted.

14 birthdays, family gatherings, and holiday seasons
Blink again.

A decade is gone
and soon,
everyone moves away.
I guess things just change.

Familial love.
my heart still lives on peachtree lane

Climate: Heat + Humidity

Climate: Heat + Humidity

I step outside and I melt. Literally. This is not an exaggeration. The end.

Just kidding. There is much more to it than that. I wasn’t kidding about the melting btw, that’s what it feels like for me. I should start by saying that I have the Hypokalemic form of Periodic Paralysis. Heat and humidity are both triggers for me. So, by chance, if you are comparing with Hyperkalemic PP or other forms of PP, their/your experience may be quite different (see periodic paralysis).

I’m not melting?
Dry heat is tolerable, from what I’ve experienced when outside of North Carolina. It’s much easier to stay cool. Staying out of the sun, dressing for the optimal balance of warmth in the a/c and cool in the heat, carrying water, wearing a hat. All of those things have worked for me in dry heat. The humidity however, is a totally different story. It sticks to you and drains your energy the longer you are outside.

Ah yes, now I’m melting.
There’s been an intense heatwave here for a couple weeks. Not only is it generally hot outside, but the humidity is off of the charts. The temperature may be about 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) but the real feel is 100 including humidity. When it’s this hot outside, I start to melt as soon as I step one foot out of the door. The amount of time it takes to melt into a puddle depends on a couple of different factors. One. The amount of time I spend outside in the heat. Two. How hot and humid it is on that particular day. Three. How much time I spend moving from a/c to the heat. (I.e. If I were to go to the store I would have to walk outside to my car, cool off in the car by a/c, get back out of the car into the heat, walk into to the store and back into the cooler environment, and so on).

I am but an emotional puddle.
Even when I am in the a/c, it’s only a matter of time before I am completely unable to function. The humidity saps my energy over time, the longer I am out, the more fatigued I get. When it gets really bad and I overheat, I start to feel extremely weak, groggy, a little delirious, and the strong urge to go to sleep. I also become very irritable and have waves of strong emotion. Anger, sadness, guilt, and irritation usually.

A/c or no a/c? (Obviously we pick a/c)
If I decide to just stay indoors, which is what I chose to do these past few weeks, the heat and humility still affect me. It tends to make me feel exhausted so I sleep a lot more. I usually can wake up at about 11am or 12, but lately I have felt like I just can’t get enough sleep. Also, after it finally cools down at the end of day, I tend to crash (what some call an abortive attack). I can usually tell immediately when it’s about to happen. It gives me few minutes to find a comfy place to lay down. The temperature drops pretty quickly in the evening and I usually follow suit.

In some ways the summertime is less variable than the fall and spring season, but still hard on chronically ill bodies in other ways. Combine this eithy rain and oof- not a fun time. Still, I am very grateful for the warmth, I try to appreciate it everyday. Stay safe out there ~

sick and tired of ur shit

sick and tired of ur shit

A little feminist energy to feed the soul. Read it, or don’t. Either way men will continue to have the audacity.

This has been in my drafts for a long time because I wasn’t sure that anyone would be able to relate to it, seems silly now. I was inspired to share it by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the wonderful read she gave in her address to the House of Representatives. This is for all the women out there sick and tired of their shit.

Illustration by Monique Aimee

sick and tired of ur shit
Written by Morgan Wilson

We are told that we are born less.
Over-emotional and unintelligent.
Likely to ‘over-react’.

We are belittled when we dare to occupy space in any space that is dominated by men.
When we dare follow our ambitions to pursue our own careers,
we are called selfish and cold,
“What a fucking bitch”

Standing firm
we are told we’re ‘being a bitch’.
I shouldn’t have to remind you that I am
someone’s sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend
for my life, my voice, my existence
to matter and be respected.

We are told that we’re disposable,
that we have no worth, especially not compared to a man.
That we deserve to be manipulated and beaten,
instead of punishing those that take advantage of us.
Restraining orders are should be there to protect us,
instead they serve as a desperate plea, our last will and testament.

We’re called easy and promiscuous
When we don’t wear bras or wear fitted clothes
It is deemed unladylike to enjoy dating and dare to enjoy sex.
Our autonomy taken away by men
who feel as if it is their job to dictate women’s bodies.
They certainly have audacity.

We’re called prudes for telling a man no,
For saying that we don’t want to have sex.
we weren’t ‘asking for it’.
we do not consent to the violation of our bodies or human rights.
We’re not an object to be used for the benefit of someone else
We have sexual, emotional, and physical needs and they should be fulfilled, fully.

Yes, we are systematically marginalized, pressed.
We’re paid less.
and yes,
the wage gap does exist.

Our worth is not defined by gender roles
Our worth is not defined by having children

Our worth is not determined by our sexuality
Our worth is not defined by marriage

We find love, someone that we care for.
and we get married
because we fucking felt like it.

Life Update – Graduation, COVID-19, and the Future

Life Update – Graduation, COVID-19, and the Future

Hi there. I am officially a college graduate! It feels strange because there is no celebration, no ceremony. It’s suddenly over. I miss being able to have gathering with my family and friends, especially at such a huge accomplishment in my life. Those graduation cookout at your aunt’s or cousins or other family members house be everything. If you know, you know. It’s funny because I seriously was not interested in any of the ceremonies for graduation. I was exhausted, burned out, and just ready to be finished after spending 5 years as an undergrad in college. But, I am trying my best to accept everything for what it is and be grateful for having finished.

To say the least, this virus has made it so much harder in everyday life. Sometimes I just want a hug and I can’t do that and it really sucks. Because my condition can be really debilitating at times, I spend a lot of time in the house. I have to be very careful, catching COVID could be deadly for me. Honestly, it isn’t that different from how I was living before. Because Hypo Periodic Paralysis can be very debilitating at times, I usually spend a lot of time at home. Outside of that, I have some serious social anxiety that has only gotten worse over the past few months. So, even when I was feeling up to leaving the house, I didn’t always want to. Thinking back, I’ve spent a lot of time alone, especially when I was living on my own as a college student. Now that I’ve graduated, I can work towards moving to a place where I feel comfortable leaving my house and overall better for my health.

COVID makes the future feel uncertain, like it’s always changing. Maybe it has made everyone more aware of it after we’ve realized how much we have taken for granted. Anyhow, I’m applying to grad school to get my Master’s in Sociology. Right away it became obvious the process is going to be much more challenging than I anticipated. I’m moving to another state so that I can have a better quality of life. NC climate is unpredictable, the barometric pressure changes too much here. The hard part is choosing a college that is in a state that will be good health-wise, isn’t insanely affordable, and fits me. Super simple right? *heavy sigh* It’s exciting but also overwhelming. I think I’m getting the hang of it though.

On the bright side, I’ll have much more time to write and edit things already written. It’ll be at least a year until I move so I got nothing but time. Despite everything, I am excited for the future. Expect more writing from me :3

The Ring

The Ring

There’s this one thing that I always lose,
Not periodiolodically.

When I found it I was lost.
It helps me find my way

When I lose it,
I am sad, frustrated – only briefly.
I look for it – nowhere to be found.
let it go.
“It always comes back to me”
I forget, for a long while.

I remember
And i smile,
and frown, because it is lost.
I accept that it is gone and move on.

One day it reappears
And I grin,
I grin widely

Sliding it on feels new but also familiar
Remembering all the places it’s been
Remembering how long we’ve been together.
Feeling warm on the inside,
Comforted by the feeling of it wrapped around me.
Cool and reassuring.
*a sigh*
It always comes back to me.
I remember, how much love is there
We fit together like we were never apart

A reminder of who I was, who I am now, who I’ve always been