Hello Starlings, my communication and social posting have slowed and I owe it to my community to tell you why…  

So, before COVID I was a salon owner, a stylist, a community leader and servant, a part-time caregiver of mom, a fun-loving wife for Tim, young women’s mentor, and, an artist. Then the Corona hit the fan… So I added grant and loan application student, business pivoting entrepreneur, clinically depressed mess, and civil rights crusader.  

It is now the beginning of July and I have been open since June 16th. I have been in the salon 10+ hours every working day for weeks, and I’m already booked for another month of this. I am not complaining! I love my job and I love doing it for you! There is no place I’d rather be then behind my chair with you in it! 

But I’m under an intense amount of stress. See, on June 8th I was informed by my mother’s doctor that she was bleeding internally and that death was imminent… right before I was to open… IKR. So I had to start dealing with end of life plans and a whole new set of nurses, doctors, and social workers. Her health is declining really fast, but also kinda slow. See, I thought she would have passed weeks ago. That’s the way it sounded. 

But she’s still here, in my living room. Oxygen machine, catheter, barf bucket, “protective undergarments”, and all. I haven’t been able to get her in a facility for care. And my mom is going through some pretty humiliating and painful things right now.  A mix of COVID problems and the fact that our medical system in this country is built to punish the poor in the most demeaning and agonizing ways possible. The place of limbo where you can’t afford care but have too much to get help is outrageously huge. And the line is always, “I know it’s hard, but you’re just gonna have to do this in the home.” So, now I have added full-time caregiver, patient advocate, healthcare system navigator to my resume’. 

Notice that at no point did I drop any previous things. It’s always one more thing. 

I have spoken about the power of “no” many times. But there are times when the “no” is impossible.

I have said it, yelled it, cried it, but no relief comes. Like, seriously… what am I supposed to do? Let my business suffer? Leave my mom to sit in her own mess because I’m tired as fuck? Let my community obligations drop when we need a strong community more than ever?

I don’t know what to do. I have friends. I’m fucking popular. And they are amazing and doing what they can. And I love them fiercely. But I am still breaking. I need to get the system to work for me and my mom. But there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I’m doing my best not to despair… But it’s a fight every day. I cry every day now. I’m doing my best and it’s not enough right now. I’m terrified that I’m doing permanent damage to my body, I ain’t 20 years old anymore. I’m scared. I’m in pain. I’m riding a knife’s edge and burning several candles at both ends. I’ve done 9 rounds in the ring with the champ and I’m staggering bad. They should have called technical knockout ages ago… But Rocky is my mascot and Tubthumping my theme song. I’m pretty sure I can keep getting up. Just don’t call me with one more thing.

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