This year has been so wild. I can’t even get all of the words out to describe it. For the first leg of the spring, I took a break from blogging to take care of my mental health as Covid was running rampant in my state. We are mostly contained here in N.J., thankfully, but we are also still home, still social distancing and still following guidelines to stay as safe as possible as the summer season heats up and more and more tourists come down to the shore for weeks off and weekends just a short distance from where we live.
In all, it’s still very scary to me. I put my toe back in the blog waters back in May and thought it was OK for my mental health to come back. But then the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests around the world gave me pause again. It didn’t feel right to write anything trivial during that time, and it still feels strange to me to do it now.
I did attend one protest in my area early last month, but decided it was best I stayed home to do as much work as I could here to support the folks on the ground. For non-BIPOC, the most important work you can do is internal — you cannot be useful to the movement until you reckon with yourself — your own biases (unconscious or conscious), your privilege, and the systems that you’ve benefitted from (whether you knew it or not). It takes work, and this is a long-haul. Stay focused, be patient, and listen.
One of the many things I found so helpful was this resource from the University of Minnesota. You can find essential reading for racial justice here FOR FREE.
There are countless Instagram accounts with folks who have been on the ground and doing the work to educate about racism in America. If you can, donate to accounts that are providing this free education, because it can be incredibly exhausting and time consuming.
In addition to re-education, a more conscious effort to consume content from someone other than white cis men and women is imperative. Our feeds can so easily become homogenous, but a quick search for BIPOC creators in the industries you follow on social media will tell you that the real world is actually very different than perhaps what your feed is showing you. Amplify those accounts, read those blogs, take in new perspectives.
Black Lives Matter. Black creators matter. Black content matters.
With all of that said, I am back here writing again until I need a break. Breaks are OK. Taking care is OK. And being vocal about your mental health is OK. If you are feeling overwhelmed by 2020, I am with you. Take a pause if you must.