I have not written on this blog for almost four months because I was preparing for, underwent, and have been recovering from reconstructive surgery. I was waiting for a moment to be inspired to write again, but maybe inspiration is too strong of a word.
When you are working to fulfill your basic needs, engaging in an activity that you normally love is not always the best thing. Sometimes when you try to do something and encounter restrictions or discomfort, reconnecting with the activity becomes more work than leisure.
Last week, I continued the Lunch with Lindsay video series with my friend Paty. She and I met our first year at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Almost two decades later, we reminisced on college, reflected on how we have evolved, and discussed how she approaches diversity and inclusion work during a reckoning with racism and the COVID-19 pandemic.
On and off since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have not been sleeping well. When I went on leave to focus on my recovery from surgery, I had more time to focus on making sleep and other basic self-care habits a priority.
After my leave ended, I started radiation and returned to work within a day of each other. Again I had to learn new sleeping patterns as my daily schedule had drastically changed within only a couple days.
Then my radiation ended, and I had to readjust my daily work schedule and relearn new sleeping patterns. It is as if my body does not know how much to rest because it does not know what to expect.
Actually, if you are like many people in my social circles who have been heavily engaged in the active work of racial justice, the last few decades have felt extremely long.
I both am encouraged to see more people fighting for racial justice—especially Black lives—in ways I have not seen in my lifetime, and I also am frustrated that this journey to progress is both so long and mentally and emotionally taxing for those involved. This is why when I saw the NPR Code Switch piece titled A Decade of Watching Black People Die, I thought to myself, “A decade? JUST a decade?” I decided not to listen to it.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Today I will start a new segment of treatment for breast cancer, and I feel emotional about how my body, spirit, and mind will respond to treatment. I’m crying as I write this because I’m both nervous of the effects and also grateful to have access to healthcare. With that said, RACISM IS WORSE THAN CANCER. In the past few days, racism has caused me more sorrow than cancer.
When I found out I had cancer, nobody asked me what I did wrong or how bad the cancer was before showing me compassion and wanting justice in my healthcare. When someone experiences racism, there is always someone who needs to evaluate how bad the situation is before determining if the victim is “worthy” of compassion and justice.
After reading the Babe article, I had separate text conversations with a couple girlfriends who were as disappointed as I was by the news. Even if this incident may not qualify as sexual assault for legal purposes, it sounds like there could have been stronger communication and more respect shown in their sexual encounter. Since #MeToo has become ubiquitous in American culture, we keep hearing how men in Hollywood, media, and other industries have been predators and creeps to women.