This article is long overdue, however, like everyone else, I had no strength to do even the things I loved during this global pandemic and civil unrest. The most important thing, though, is that I’m back and I feel ready to write. I’ve split this article into two parts: Confessions of an Empath being the bad parts of my quarantine, and Quarantine and No Chill being the bad parts of my quarantine with a good ending ?. I like to believe I typically indirectly give advice through my articles, but bear with me because this one is just me trying to offload. Maybe you’ll find that you relate, and maybe you’ll be able to give me advice (my Instagram is @fikemiaiye if you want to DM me some advice). However, I’m warning you...there’s a lot of unpacking going on here and there is no solution in the end because, frankly, I don’t know what to do about it yet.
Many times, I wish I didn’t care as much as I do. I feel everything - even the things that might not concern me or the things that can’t be helped (and so worrying about them would only be wasting my time). When George Floyd was murdered, the pain shook me to my core. Everything became hard to do. I started absorbing the pain from his and Breonna Taylor’s murder. Then, as I did more research, I absorbed the pain from understanding African American history better. After that came the pain of being black in America and being a woman in the world. Pains of those who didn’t have enough or never had a chance...pains of those who have been hurt by systems that were made to protect them. My anxiety and anger went through the roof, my insides and outsides both hurt.
It’s hard because it means that something is always taking a toll on my emotions. I don’t know how to separate the things I should care deeply about and the things I should settle on for just a few minutes. I know that I shouldn’t worry about the things that I cannot change or control, but then my pain or worry becomes anger or disappointment with those who can change these things. This then becomes determination and grit to become someone who can effect change but after a while simmers into intimidation by the fact that I am a young, black, African woman with no idea where to start. So I slow down and just go along with my day - unsatisfied.
I go through these feelings multiple times a week...sometimes multiple times a day and it’s honestly exhausting. There will always be people that I can absorb pain from but is that all I'm going to keep doing? I want to “make a difference”, whatever that means, and prove that we can lift every member of our community up while being lifted. But how am I supposed to be the change I want to see in the world if I’m always emotionally exhausted?