The truth is, I’ve been sick for a long time.
I won’t list the symptoms, but I will tell you they are real.
There are people in my life who have long encouraged me to slow down. They have asked me to do something different. Some have even demanded I stop altogether. For my own sake.
Others have confused my struggle for my strength. Like I do.
Some know the nuances of me.
They understand the story of worth and work that lives in my family. They see the way old violences propel me towards new realities. Some can even hear me when I speak the grief and guilt of being so far from where I’m from.
Others have only felt the broad strokes of me. They have never seen the symptoms. But I can tell you they are real.
So what now?
What to do when the only prescription offered again and again is change?
What now when every doctor says, decrease your stress….it is harming you.
What now doctor, dentist, therapist, optometrist, spiritual adviser. What now?
Don’t you know this is a stressful world?
“Give your serving self permission to heal.”
Make yourself the subject of every love song.
Slough off the shame that comes with resting.
Forgive yourself for not knowing how to.
You have permission to go where it is easier.
You have permission to say no.
You need not prove yourself to anyone.
You do not have to earn your worthiness.
Trust that the work can look different.
Believe that justice doesn’t require your destruction.
Trust that justice can happen anywhere, any way.
This isn’t what they meant, when they said to put your body on the line.
Slowing down is not stopping.
You can’t be late to your own life.
But you can miss it entirely.
Trade the screen for sunshine.
Trade isolation for laughter.
Come to know the rhythms of your own body.
All the way.
You’ve been waiting.
And the world is waiting for you.
This reunion, it is the root of justice.
Know that you can do the work.
You can tell the truth.
You can take the risks.
But do it differently.
Do not sacrifice yourself on the altar of suffering.
It is a false god.
One that was never satisfied by the blood of your ancestors.
Choose something different.