When you can no longer run

Today I was asked “what do you want to do with your life”?

My answer: Make sure my kid grows up to be a decent human being who can support themselves and write things, preferably a book, whilst supporting myself with a job because I need health insurance.

I then followed up with “Lol my goals are completely practical and unsexy. [laughing emoji]”.

And this is where I am in life at 47. I just want to see my kid grow up and I want to write things, preferably a book. The reason why my goals are very simple is that I’m stripped bare. I have no where left to run. My desires are curtailed because all my energy is focused on my health and staying alive.

I can remember when my Uncle Thomas (RIP) called me when he heard about my divorce in 2012. He said “Erica, this is where you stand and fight. No more running, Erica. You ran away from Chicago to New York. You ran away from New York to England. You’ve left jobs and let racists people push you out. There is no where else to run. You stay down there and you fight.”

I remember tears streaming down from my face and I answered “Yes, Sir. I will stay and fight.” And fight I did.

My divorce crippled me mentally and financially. Luckily I’m a Black American woman who can flip on autopilot and with the help of my support system, I was able to navigate getting back on my feet. Some people aren’t that lucky. My Uncle Thomas was right, there was no place I could run to anymore. I had to face who I was. I had to face the dismantling of the lie I was living. I had to face that I had failed in love and marriage. And in the midst of all that “facing up to shhhh” — I had to stand and fight. The biggest fight wasn’t with the cheating husband or his classless mistress, although they took me and child through some very horrible, hurtful times. The biggest fight was within me.

I had given so much of myself to try and hold up a marriage that broke my spirit, that I didn’t even know who the f*** I was anymore. And I couldn’t run from that. I couldn’t just relocate my life because I was a Mother, with a beautiful kid, a house, a job, I had put down roots and I couldn’t uproot myself to get away from the “pain of believing in a forever that was never to be”. I had to stay rooted and do the work. It has been much harder than I ever imagine and I’m not finished. I think I was so deeply wounded that I will never be finished. Truly.

I stayed. I didn’t run.

So now, in 2020, year of the Murder Hornets and COVID19, I am faced with a huge health challenge. And all I want to do is RUN AWAY. I want to scoop up my kid, my dogs, pack some shit and run. As a Black American Woman, there is NO WHERE ON THIS EARTH TO RUN TO WHERE I COULD POSSIBLY BE SAFE.

Given that anti-Blackness and anti-Black American sentiments are global, the safest place for me emotionally, fiscally and mentally is here in America. So I cannot run away from my problems. Like my Uncle said, I have to stand and fight. Fighting Sarcoidosis, fighting a DVT, fighting swollen lymph nodes, fighting cysts in my breast, fighting the mental effects of isolation, fighting fatigue, fighting to be an advocate for my kid at school, fighting to volunteer and have my life have meaning… fight, fight, fight, fight. Yet, I can no longer run.

I just hope the spirits of all my ancestors are behind me as I pick up my shield and my sword and prepare for battle.