Battling Depression and Racism.

Ooookay. I mustered up the energy to get chores done so we are no longer living in squalor. It’s kind of crazy how quickly a home can become cluttered and filthy when you’re busy, have pets, get packages delivered, and order takeout food a lot. All of that combined without getting a chance to spot clean will leave your place rekt in two days.

The good thing about letting your chores pile up is overcoming the initial “I DON’T WANNA!” and starting one thing. I sat in my papasan staring at my plants, knowing that they needed to be watered, but grumpily resisted for 15 minutes (about when my coffee starting kicking in, I guess.) Finally, I decided I might as well just do it since it pretty much could have been done by the time I finally resolved to get up.

Not wanting to put on a bra and pants to water the balcony buddies played a big factor in my procrastination. Luckily for me, I can just slip into my strategically purchased 2XL sweatshirt and a pair of shorty-shorts. Maybe it looks like I’m not wearing pants, but it doesn’t matter anymore because I can confidently assure anyone who might question me that they are indeed present underneath the top that I am swimming in.

Not wanting anyone to see me in the daylight delays me, too, but that’s stupid because I only have three plants to water out there. I’m back inside before anyone finishes walking down the block. You have nothing to worry about, Moody, you are still this neighborhood’s enigmatic night-creature. Also, that’s why they invented my favorite accessory: sunglasses! Gods forbid someone make eye contact with me while I have no makeup on.

Unfortunately for my workflow, I ordered dinner in the middle of writing this post, so not only did I procrastinate the reading that I promised myself I would start today, I also paused the post I was writing about my dwindling motivation.

I can proudly say that I did get all of my plants watered, and shrugged as I reluctantly rolled out the big vacuum to “just hit the living room rug,” but robustly hoovered every single room (and hallway!) in this apartment after invoking the Divine for strength.

I can’t say why I was feeling so tired, although I’m sure it has nothing to do with accidentally staying up until 3AM again. Tidying up the apartment in that state seemed dire, but completing one room gave me the momentum to just do the whole dang thing.

Again, to my dismay, a few other postponed tasks plagued my To Do list: washing my hair, blow drying my hair, and shaving. I am a feminist, so I must preface the next part of my entry by stating that I really don’t think that anyone has to shave (or wash their hair…) if they don’t feel like it. However, I personally shave my various appendages and crevices because I like to be slippery, smooth, and shiny, like a dolphin!

it me one year ago!

And you might not think that washing my hair is some huge task, especially considering I’ve managed to get my hair wash schedule down to one to two times a week. Part hair-health, part laziness… and the result is the loveliest hair I’ve had in my life!

That being said, it is not the hair-washing that is so off-putting, it’s the blow drying that makes it a whole thing. The caveat to having long locks is resolving to smooth it out with a blow dryer and Wet blow dry brush* (switched from the Verb blow dry brush.) I dread hair-wash days and often skip them until I can’t handle the itchiness any longer. (TMI!) Even then, when I am hot or tired or simply “ugh,” I pretty much skip the styling and only blow just long enough to keep the frizz and poof at bay. And it still always takes longer than I can stand — literally, I need to sit down after.

On the subject of sitting, I’ve finally switched to a safety razor* in order to cut back on plastic. I think I used to throw away about 14 disposable plastic razors every month. It wasn’t worth the waste, and it certainly wasn’t worth the money — the pack of Bic Soleil razors that I’d get every few weeks was only a few dollars less than a reusable safety razor. Not to mention razors are incredibly cheap, as well! It’s one of the smartest investments I’ve made, honestly, but heck is there a serious learning curve in the beginning.

It took me an undisclosed amount of time to figure out how to insert the razor into the chassis, which had nothing to do refusing the scan the QR code with the PDF instructions in place of actual instructions on the zero-waste packaging.

Then, I was so scared and confused about how much pressure to apply without hurting myself, I literally did nothing but scrape away the shaving cream on my legs, rather than slice away my hairs. I overcame my shame and tried again, managing to get most of legs, arms, and even armpits shaved well enough. I mean, no one is going to see me while I’m holed up in my apartment, so I didn’t feel that bad about missing a few spots. I also figured that if I didn’t get the hang of using it by the time my mustache grew back in, no one would be able to tell if I went outside because I would be wearing a mask. In case you’re wondering, I bought a second safety razor specifically for face-related shaving. Yes, I am a girl and I shave my face. I’m not that beautiful.

Now, I’ve somewhat got a handle on the shaving technique, and you wouldn’t even know I had a mustache! Just like you wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t write it on this public blog.

BUT, my legs are still a tricky-dicky, and sitting down in the shower has by-far been the most effective way to upkeep my unnecessary and unrealistic “beauty” standard. (And now we’ve reached the previously-stated related point about sitting, at last!)

With all these draining burdens accomplished, I am free to begin reading the works that I have assigned myself. After humbly completing my responsibilities, I decided to lay on my bed for just a few minutes and have a break. I put all my materials and equipment on the space next to me, preventing me from getting too comfortable. I stay as far away as possible, but cannot escape their warning: Do the reading you’ve assigned yourself or continue to live as a disgrace to your friends, family, and community.

Though it takes me some time to gather the last of my strength and roll over, I actually begin. My cats take turns sitting on my stuff, so I start with the book that I can reach for without risk of being swatted: How to be An Antiracist * by Ibram X. Kendi. Just the introductory chapter is enough to remind me why I decided to do this work in the first place.

When you have emotional disorders, everyday tasks that are simple for the average person can feel like scaling summits. Today was an excellent example of breaking down the barricades that keep you from being your best productive self. I’m not always able to force myself to just do the things, so I am genuinely proud that I managed everything.

I reflect on my personal victories and use them as a motivator to keep pushing myself. There are too many injustices in this world to stay immobilized by my fear and sadness, though sometimes I have no choice in the matter. On days like today, when I am able to overcome, I am happy that I dedicate my energy to educating myself about causes that matter.

We all have to play a role in dismantling unjust systems in whatever ways we can. Even with my readings, discourse, and donations, I constantly feel guilty that I’m not doing enough. Any victory, however small, is a step in the right direction, though. Today, I can at least say that I didn’t let my disease keep me from staying on my personal path of activism. I don’t think I’ve taken a whole day off from bringing up the issue of racism, but there have been days where I feel so sick that I do nothing. Doing nothing means I’m not doing my part in activism. Not doing my part in activism on sick days makes me compliant in racism.

Racism never takes a day off, I don’t feel like I can take a day off either. I’ve been better at not having “zero days,” and I’ve tried to make sure I read for even a little bit when I’m having a “bed day.” Now I want to challenge myself: try my best to make sure that I’m participating in my personal activism everyday. Read something, watching something, write something, re-read something, talk to someone, call something out, draw something, promote someone, donate to a cause.

On days when I feel good, I can stick to my intended goals. On days when I manage to overcome, I know that means I can find the energy to put in the work. On days when I can’t get out of bed — and it still happens to me from time-to-time — I know that I can still be actively antiracist in some way.

I hope my ups-and-downs are entertaining, but my message still reads coherently. We’re all fighting battles, some as small as learning how to use a new razor, some as complicated as trying to deal with chemical imbalances. The important thing to remember is that these problems become easier to handle when we have support and sympathy. And knowing this, we should strive to become more supportive and sympathetic ourselves, so that we can help defend the vulnerable people who need it most.

I can’t say for sure what kind of day tomorrow will be for me, or if I will be motivated to keep doing my “homework.” I can say that no matter how I’m feeling, I can’t let that stop me from doing something. Because the “somethings” I do (like cleaning, or preening) help me feel well enough to do the “somethings” that are more important.

Work towards good health, so you can work towards creating a fair and equal future for all. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is.

And so it is.


Featured photo items:

Duvet cover*
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee*
How to be An Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi *
Macbook Air Case*
Kindle Paperwhite e-Reader (with backlight)*

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