The quiet, soul crushing stress of being a single Black Mother during a pandemic…

In the evenings, between the time I put up the dogs for bed and when my Future CEO is ready to be tucked in, I cave into the stress of internal worry about the pandemic.

I wait until my child is out of sight, then I ball my long legs and torso up with my phone in hand, and I close my eyes and try to cry.

Sometimes I am too tired to cry. I have been working, assisting with any tech needs for online-school, making breakfast, making lunch, giving snacks, feeding the dogs, walking the dogs, picking up poop, emailing work, emailing family, emailing friends, worrying about my Sarcoidosis, worrying about catching the Coronavirus, worried about work and fighting off the insane loneliness I feel doing all of this by myself.

Tired, I am so very tired. So I crawl into a ball in the left hand corner of the large sofa and I try my best to cry because my soul is so heavy or to sleep for a moment without dreaming because I know that at least for 10 or 15 mins no one will be calling my name. Or I pretend that I am being hugged and comforted so I can just unravel inside and be human. Sometimes I think, if I start crying, I will never stop. And I spent a decade after my Mother’s death crying privately and fighting with my depression. So even crying scares me now.

See, I know that America doesn’t care about me because I am Black American. Should I get the virus, when I seek assistance, they won’t treat me like a human being, or an American citizen — because my life doesn’t matter to 80% of the country. So I am doing my best to stay healthy and manage my Sarcoidosis. I am trying to keep my kid healthy. We are both at-risk individuals. I know that no one will want to truly help us if we fall ill to COVID-19. The fear hovers over my soul like a mist or a fog.

I have to stay healthy. I have to make sure I keep going, even on days where I cannot tell what day of the week it is, or days where I am so depressed because I am scared beyond reason — I still have to get up and keep going for my child. I don’t get to rest. ….because when Black American Mothers let their guard down, people hurt us or things fall apart.

And there’s the rub. The stress of constantly being in “fight or flight” mode and never being allowed to be human for fear of calamity. It is that very fear that is weathering my soul.

So between the time I put the dogs to sleep and tuck my kid in with a mountain of kisses and hugs, I crawl into a ball and try to cry. It’s the most human thing I think I can do.