Weeks 11 and 12

6 Jun

I usually write a wrap-up of the week on the weekend, but we were away last weekend and things were so hectic when we got back that I didn’t write. So this is a two week post!

The last week of May (week 11 of the stay-at-home order) was really nice, actually. Monday was Memorial Day and we went to the coast and took a long walk along the beach and had a picnic lunch. The work week wasn’t too stressful for me or Mike, and Michaela was doing her thing with distance learning. Friday, I took the day off and it was pure bliss. Michaela ended up sleeping in so I had some quiet time to myself in the morning. I did some work, but not too much. We grabbed bagels for breakfast and I got a tea at a local, independent coffee shop. Then we piled into the car and drove to the mountains.

Mike had a two-day shoot in LA, so he ended up meeting us at the cabin we rented. Thank goodness he has camping experience! The place was exactly what I was expecting– pretty rustic–but we slept in beds, had hot running water and a toilet, etc. We cooked meals on the little two-burner stove or on a fire we built. We made s’mores. We hiked. We wandered through the woods. There were very few people at the lodge, but there was a couple who had two girls about Michaela’s age, and they got to play together a little bit, including taking turns swinging (the playgrounds are still closed here; it was the first time Michaela had ben on a piece of playground equipment in months).

When the trip was over we came back and jumped full force into work and life (week 12). Protests over the death of George Floyd (and Ahmed Arbury and Breonna Taylor, and so many other black people killed by the police) were going strong while we were gone, but I had limited cell phone service and was trying to disconnect, so I wasn’t following too closely. In one city in our region, there was some looting, fires, and vandalism. I ended up checking in with my team to do some work around that, but it didn’t go particularly smoothly (and that ended up taking up quite a bit of time on Monday and Tuesday.

I pride myself on being proactive, of seeing a need and filling it before anyone asks. When it came to communicating anything more than matter-of-fact “here are some resources to help you talk about what’s going on,” I really struggled because the fact is, it is exhausting to live as a black person in America.

It’s hard to walk into a store knowing I may not get service because of the color of my skin, it’s tiring to remember to get a receipt because I don’t want to get stopped for shoplifting. It’s painful to think about my brother getting pulled over for a traffic stop and having guns pulled on him (which actually happened, in front of our house, when we were in high school). In my particular corner of the world, it’s hard to be many of my friends’ only black friend. It’s hard to ignore the Trump-supporting crap my in-laws post. It’s hard to surf social media (which I have to do for my job) and see the awful racist stuff people post, the whataboutism, the well-meaning but tone-deaf stuff from “allies.”

So part of what was especially difficult about everything was needing to come up with some words to make it clear that the current state of things in unacceptable and that we have to do better…when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry.

I want white people to stand up for people of color. I want white people to take on this work and to say to their fellow white people, “knock this shit off.” It’s not about being colorblind (I want you to see my color! It’s impacted my life. And yours, too, whether you know it or not). It’s not about a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote about nonviolence (first, his protests were consistently met with violence, and secondly, he was murdered– an act of violence). It’s about examining the biases that are built into our systems and changing the systems to eliminate that bias. Period. That’s it. So yes, change your social media profile picture to a black square, but also DO THE WORK.

So yeah. That was a lot in the early part of the week. And still, too, but I’m trying to be better about recognizing my triggers and stepping away.

In other news, we got new carpet in our upstairs and new furniture, and I finally — as of last night — unpacked the last of our boxes from when we moved nearly two years ago. Hooray!

The coming week is Michaela’s last couple of days of school and she’s very sad. She was in our room this morning crying that this isn’t how she wanted her year to end. I feel really sad for her, and we’re going to come up with something to make it special. Because she deserves that!

Mike has been in the thick of things with virtual graduations. Since gatherings aren’t allowed, schools have been trying to figure out how to do promotion and graduation ceremonies. Mike has done virtual graduation videos (some pieces where they’ve had people do speeches and then edited it together into a full ceremony, some more like slide shows) for a number of schools across the southland. Some clients are more challenging than others, and he had one that has ben particularly difficult. Lots of stress. Thankfully that project is behind him and he can turn his attention back to other projects.

So now it’s the weekend and we can take a break. All of us slept until about 9:30 today, which was glorious. Mike and Michaela are making breakfast and I’m going to turn my attention to our taxes, which desperately need to be organized in order to go to the accountant.

Just another weekend in stay-at-home times!

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