I am resigning myself to not finding a job for which I have spent many years developing skills. It will be fine. I am thinking some of it is my age, and some of it possibly the gap in work history. Whatever. It’s not what I know, it’s who I know, and I’ve known that for a very long time. If there was someone inside a company who vouched for me, I would have a job for which I’m only minimally qualified tomorrow, even with a criminal history. That’s the American way.

Right now, I am more inclined to work on myself. Again. Lately I’ve been doing a little work on my shadow side. Of course I have no idea what I’m doing, or at least how to do it correctly, but I am willing. There are a few meditations that I’m doing, ones that encourage me to explore things I’m ashamed of, lies I’ve told, stuff I really don’t want to think about. It’s almost like making amends to myself, I guess. One of the meditations urges me to remember these unpleasant things, and then say to myself, “I love you. I’m sorry. PLease forgive me. Thank you.”

Hmmm. That’s not how I roll. Not at all. I reallly don’t know what I’m doing…about much of anything. My sleep study was totally a goose egg, because I didn’t sleep long enough to make a diagnosis. Lovely. All that anxiety for nothing. The doctor said she could get me a CPAP if I wanted it, but I don’t. So, I told her I felt that I needed to figure out why I couldn”t sleep. The last time this happened was right after my mother died, when I woke up every few hours, if I fell asleep at all. It’s kind of like that now, but I don’t exactly know what’s triggering the sleep interruptions.

I suppose the anxiety these days could be about not being able to find a job, staring down the barrel of having to pay for my health insurance premiums outright next year, without the ACA subsidy. That’s directly related to being unemployed, since I can’t demonstrate that I have an income equal to the poverty level. If I had an income, I wouldn’t need assistance from the ACA, now would I? I suppose it makes sense in government logic (yes, that’s an oxymoron, sue me).

So, people are irritating me lately. I liked it better when we all stayed inside and there weren’t so many cars on the road. It was quieter, and if you needed to go somewhere, you could get there effortlessly in just a few minutes. People weren’t quite so snarky and cranky, and nobody was fighting over fabric squares and shots. How far we’ve come.

There has to be more to life than being outraged about…stuff. Stuff we can’t do anything about. There is a lot we can’t do anything about, but there is still a lot we can do. Frustratingly, the yield is not immediate or sometimes, not even perceptible. We are not patient beings, but that is what is called for at times like these.

I’m tired of hearing about “resiliency”. It’s not resiliency if you have no choice but to take another breath, no choice but to survive. It might be resilience if you make a conscious choice to bounce back from disaster, but not if there is no other choice except death. Except mere survival, by instinct alone.

What choice do I have but to breathe, unless I have taken some chemical that paralyzes that function. If I do not make the other choice, to intentionally end my life, how resilient am I if my involuntary functions do what they are meant to do?

People talk about how resilient people of color are to survive even in the face of myriad circumstances that are designed to kill us. We are not bouncing back from disaster, we are surviving. I believe there is more to life than mere survival, and that’s where the rubber meets the road. Survival and living are not equivalent. If I am born again to a new life following near decomposition from disaster, then perhaps I might claim resilience. Merely breathing when someone has tried to beat the life of me is not resilience, it is survival. To survive in the face of disaster is not resilience, it’s strength.

I am strong. That’s a blessing and a curse. When others perceive of you as being strong, they don’t always handle you with care. They assume you’ll be just fine, and that you’ll go on no matter what they do. On a certain level, that’s true, but I have come to believe that I deserve far more than surviving callous disregard for my well being.

I don’t really want to be strong, or resilient. I want to be alive, I want to be worthy of life, I want to be capable of joy and happiness and beauty and love. I want to thrive. What good is resilience if you return to the same unsatisfying incarnation?

There will be leaves and blossoms once more, but there will also be more storms. Try. Fail again. Fail better.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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