I’m Back?

It’s been a tough few months, right? I’m not saying today is particularly better but I have a few moments to myself to just unwind, so hello again WordPress – I have missed you. It’s been a shaky year at best, every person in our home has been sick at one point or another at varying degrees, and the future doesn’t look that much better yet.

The virus(es)

I began working from home during the first quarter of the year. It was exciting, and dare I say, brought new energy into my day-to-day struggles. I welcomed the renewed vigor that tackling the IT obstacles for my team brought to the forefront of my managerial tasks. It was relatively short-lived as everyone’s issues began to resolve themselves and the daily hum of complacency washed ashore at my feet again.

About three months ago, A developed a cough and a runny nose. As far as we could tell, she never ran a fever and the doctor said she was starting to get an ear infection. She was ordered Amoxicillin, Benadryl and SensiMist. Around this time, D started coughing, but no runny nose or fever until one afternoon it hit him all at once. My 62-lb five year old went down like a bag of bricks. His nose was draining non-stop and he had a horrendous cough – crying, whining and clingy. He ran a fever for three days but his Strep, flu and COVID tests came back negative. “Let whatever virus this is run it’s course, it typically takes about seven to ten days.” It was hard to see my robust, most-times verbal, healthy child so ill, frail and nonverbal again. And then, finally, I started coughing.

I was negative for COVID, but I developed an upper respiratory infection. So it was a round of antibiotics for me this time. That/those virus/es is/are still here though – my Dad is fighting his way through it now. A couple of days ago he looked like a used paper towel thrown on his bed, his breathing labored as he struggled to sit up and eat soup. He seems like he’s feeling better now, but my Dad will always say he’s fine even when he looks like garbage.

Protest

In the middle of all of this, George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight. I have seen the stills in the news articles but not the video. As a mother to a young Black boy, I cannot listen to a Black man beg for his life and call out for his own deceased mother. As a human being I cannot willingly watch someone die – excuse me, not “die”, be murdered.

Back in 2004, I went through MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) in Brooklyn, NY. I was an emancipated minor – or less than 18 years of age – and I was leaving for USAF basic training the following day. I was waiting to take one of the many physical exams (as required per my specialty code) when an E-6, surrounded by other active duty service members, called me over to watch something on his computer. I heard the exclamations, the expletives, and the hollering for the better part of 15 minutes and not one to disappoint, I walked over. The only warning he gave me was, “are you squeamish?” I shook my head, “No, Tech Sgt.” “You can’t tell anyone I showed you this.” He played the video of Daniel Pearl’s beheading. At first, your brain doesn’t know how to process the images your eyes are sending it – that lasts about five seconds. I stood and watched in silenced horror as the others watched it again, their initial shock has turned into more expletives and raucous laughter. I have already watched a man lose his life at the hands of others, I have no intention of doing it again.

It is refreshing to see people of all backgrounds exercise their constitutional rights and demand their voices be heard. Do I think it will necessarily turn a tide? I’m white-knuckling my guarded optimism for change. I have experienced blatant racism first-hand: as a child, an active duty airman, and most recently, as a civilian. Yes, I am a veteran but no one expects the short, bilingual, Hispanic mother of two kids to have served for six years. Jane Elliott (Blue Eye/Brown Eye Experiment) proved how easily we can fall in line with racism when, in fact, we are all members of the human race.

And in the midst of all the protesting and calls for justice, we are still seeing videos of police brutality and citizens calling the cops on Black people. Why? Does it mean nothing to watch them die over and over again? Playing chicken with their lives over innocuous actions has been America’s unspoken past time and now it’s finally under a microscope.

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