There's a theme that comes about when there's grief and shock: loneliness. It's overwhelming. No matter how many folks you are around the deep consuming feeling that nobody understands what this type of loss does is intense. It's a feeling not a fact. Those feeling's matter and so does understanding the loneliness.
It doesn't always stay. Yet sometimes it shows up and sticks around longer than I'd like. My loneliness showed up in specific ways because I did a lot of self isolation. When you have a particular status or role in your communities this gets difficult. I am a founder of two ongoing and powerful projects and organizations. I'm well known in my field, I'm a leader in the sexology field and one of the few women of color who have a comfortable space to hold in our field because IDGAF in the ways other or more green folks may in the field. I've paid my dues and I know the majority of white people in our field are not down to retain or support us so we have to show up for each other.
Then your momma dies and you can't show up for yourself. Even as I type this there is a major conference happening this week. I will have house guests with me for the first time since I moved! I have no food in my home because haven't gone grocery shopping. I haven't cleaned anything other than a few dishes, the tub, and toilet. And I'm already bugging out because I know folks will expect a particular experience with me, yet I'm not up to performing leadership. The fact that I have to walk around with clothes on is foreign to me!
That's why I quarantined myself for so long. It's rare when folks really understand what is going on or even try to. Everybody has their own ish to manage and when they look to you to support them it's a role reversal when you need their support and it's not in a professional way. Those relationships are important and when I think about how I isolated just enough to get by I am proud of myself!
During my first year of grieving I did the following:
1. Traveled more than I had at any other time in my life
2. Secured my highest paying consulting contract with the NYC DOHMH
3. Created and implemented consent trainings for educators in NYC
4. Wrote and completed a discussion guide for the NYC DOHMH Reproductive Justice video (published in 2018)
5. I presented at national conferences my curriculum and work I've created
6. Saved all my money
7. Quit my day job that had a toxic white woman running it who had founder's syndrom
8. Completed a coast to coast move
9. Co-created and implemented my first SAR (Sexual Attitudes Reassessment)
I definitely chose some lonely work and it was worth it most of the time. These bursts from conferences are nice, yet overwhelming at times too. Being a member of the Dead Mother's Club and welcoming new members in is rough. And it's also a reminder we are not as alone as we thing we may be.
Read post 18 here.