The Overwhelm - Part 1
Updated: Apr 20
The frequent response I get when asking people of color, “how are you doing?” is “I’m surviving.” It’s accompanied by a deep sigh, a head shake, and shoulders dropping down. I proceed to get more understanding of what is causing that response and never failing, it goes something like this:
“It’s crazy here. I’m overworked, underappreciated, and not paid enough to do what I’m being asked to do. I’m undermined and questioned about doing my job. White people are watching over me, making decisions that I don’t support, but love me when it makes them look good and woke. But I gotta do this until I can figure my way out. This comes with the work, everyone is dealing with a lot right now.”
Me: “How are you really doing then? How’s your health, how’s your family?”
“Oh, it’s not good. I’ve been actually dealing with some health issues that I need to take care of. I’m definitely not eating well or caring for my body like I need to. It definitely is contributing to me not feeling well overall. I’m stressed and not sleeping well.
Me: “What are you going to do about it?”
This may be a conversation you know too well. Maybe it’s your colleagues, friends, or family. For me, these are people that I love. I have seen them sparkle with laughter and joy. I have been in awe of their brilliance when they’ve single-handedly saved lives with their compassion and problem-solving skills. I have witnessed their genius gifts and the ripple effects it has left on those touched by them. I have heard their desire to change the world for their community. I know deeply their self-sacrifice for their families and those they serve.
And they suffer.
All the amazingness I see is shadowed over at their jobs. They are limited by those that are often intimidated by their brilliance or who believe them to be inferior. Because let’s face it - they’re often surrounded by racist, sexist individuals who’ve made it there by playing out white supremacy cultural characteristics.