#WhyIMarch – Because It’s Saving My Life

12 Jan

women march on washington

Early on the day after the 2016 presidential election, I called my Mom, crumbled to the floor and wept.

My husband came to bed after me the night before, he woefully said, “Trump’s leading,” and I bristled and fell back asleep.

At that moment on the phone, it became a reality. I had to go into work that morning knowing that millions of people didn’t care about people like me.

I’m a black woman with mental illness. It’s the ultimate triple combo that leads to persistent discrimination and misunderstanding.

For years, my intelligence, my attitude, even my own “blackness” has been put into question. I’ve spent my life trying to prove to everyone that I’m deserving of normal treatment.

How do you explain to people why you’re suddenly racked with fear and grief? It seems irrational, but all of the recent hate crimes since the inauguration have left me stunned and scared in Alabama.

The rest of the week after the election was a haze. My boss asked why I wasn’t getting my work done fast enough. All I could tell her was that it had been a rough week.

Two weeks later (and 20 days after my request for accommodations for my mental disability was denied) I was fired. No warning. My (unprecedented, mind you) three-month review was fine.

Was that one rough week to blame? Who knows? I was just handed an empty box and an envelope with a cold statement on letterhead saying I hadn’t sufficiently done my job, even when I knew I had. I’d only been there five months, skyrocketed their social media presence and knew it was my “forever” job.

The one thing that validated my abilities was gone.

I spent the next hour so wracked with anguish and tears, my husband wouldn’t let me drive home.

These past couple of months have been some of the darkest in my life. I had no desire to write. I became so enraged on Facebook, I had some folks telling me to calm down and others saying “stay angry.” I have no desire to do anything except sleep and eat.

It’s difficult for me to put sentences together without a lot of effort. That kills me as a writer.

There are things I’m not proud of that I can’t share openly that exacerbated my grief, anxiety and depression. Spending time with my family for Christmas pulled me out of that fog somewhat.

And now, thanks to donations from some awesome people, I’m able to attend the March on Washington with fellow Alabamians. Of course, the hubs is worried and has every right to be.

But now that I’m jobless, the only thing holding me back from going were my finances. No longer did I have to consider taking time off. It’s the thin silver lining I found in my situation.

This is Why I March. I march because it’s all I can do to express my frustration, anger and grief in an immediate, tangible and productive way. What happens from here will hopefully be steps towards a better life where I can be of good to other people in spite of the next administration.

 

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