I have struggled with which essay to post this week since I kinda wrote one in my fury two days ago and then decided to challenge myself not to make that one count. I have a few unfinished ones that I do not feel I have the energy to complete in order to post by my self-imposed deadline. What I find encouraging is that I am invested in the process of writing. I am thinking about it, I am challenging myself, I am scribbling every chance I get, and I am allotting time to make sure I post and don’t fall behind. That is more than I’ve done with my writing in a couple years. That gives me hope. Below is a essay-note that popped out about 2 weeks ago. I want to leave you with it for this week.
I met a woman today. A Black woman. She told me so much in the less than 20 minutes that we spoke. She was on medical disability. She was tired of being broke. Not having enough money to be comfortable. I was in much the same place except the government wasn’t cutting me a check. We shared so much in such a short time, it was exhilarating. Maybe I felt like someone she could confide in. I came out to her about my own disability without knowing what had her on medical disability. She almost did a double take and then asked as if to make sure: you said you suffer from Bipolar Disorder? I said yes. Then she said she did too. What are the odds? Two Black women in the same room. The only two Black women in a room of about 30 middle aged white women. It was surreal how much we had in common and all disclosed in such a short amount of time. I came out again when she asked if there was a special guy in my life. Even though I’m most assuredly squarely in the middle of the bi spectrum, I always find it important to come out as queer. When she said the word Queer was so harsh, I explained why I choose to reclaim its use for my purposes. We both agreed about how utterly exhausting it was to live with this disease. From the sheer energy it demands of us to function in society to the stigma and people’s attitudes. She told me as we parted that meeting me today was a blessing. I do hope so because even though I gave her my card and she seemed eager to connect, I haven’t heard from her.
Over the 11 years since my diagnosis, I’ve found that someone has crossed my path even if only briefly at a very crucial moment, whether it was in a moment when the suicidal ideations had gotten out of hand and I was on my way to execute a plan, or when the crying spells had worn me to the bone and it all seemed futile. Someone had either texted or reached in for a hug or just thrown a smile my way at that very moment and it has made all the difference. I don’t know her story or where she stood today as she came to this event, but I hope I was able to be that one interaction to keep her going one more day, and many more to come.
To the other Black woman in the room with my diagnosis. To shedding the “strong Black woman” image for 20 minutes to be real with each other. To everyone in the daily fight to live or (if desired) die with dignity. To surviving. To dying. To us who walk that fine line everyday. To those who truly get it and support us. #mentalhealth #invisibledisabilities