“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a a rage almost all the time.” James Baldwin said it and I feel it. I experience it. It’s not always related to being Black, but I have felt like this for quite a while. A few months at least. I am frustrated, angry, and just generally not very happy. I’m frustrated with so many things.
I’m frustrated with my career. I have about another year in this Ph.D. program. I wish I could be done sooner than that. There’s so much I’ve had to deal with during grad school and I’m just over it in general. I’m tired of extending the olive branch to people who don’t deserve it. The relationship with my previous advisor was unhealthy and I recently ended it. She discouraged me from publishing my master’s thesis and now that I have a new advisor who thinks I should publish it, I have to extend the offer for collaboration with her since she was the chair of my thesis committee. It’s the “professional” thing to do. I’m tired of professional meaning that people can exploit, discourage, degrade, and insult you while still benefitting from your work. It makes me sick. She’s part of the reason I needed to go to therapy 2 years ago. I’m tired of having to be the one to smile and nod in the face of people who care nothing for me and who abuse their power and authority. I’m just tired of being devalued and being expected to prostrate myself for people.
I’m frustrated with feeling like I have to shoulder the burden for multiple people. I’m only one person, but I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world. So much is needed and expected from me, frankly unfairly so. It’s gotten to the point that I get anxiety whenever my phone rings because it’s inevitably going to be someone asking me to do something when I’m already really overwhelmed. Too often I have had to bring myself away from the brink of breaking down. It’s rough. I feel like not too many people know/care about this. Me, me, me, me, me. I feel lost in the shuffle of everyone else’s problems particularly when asked to help with them. I feel overburdened and I feel like no one is/will mitigate that burden, particularly if they are adding to them.
I also am frustrated with just the general state of things. Relating back to my first point, I’m frustrated with seeing so much Black pain, suffering, and hurt only for it to be ignored, downplayed, and disregarded. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of finding myself in situations in which I have explain my perspective as a Black person in America only to have it challenged by people who have no fucking idea what it is like. I’m tired of these damn White faux-progressives and their damn performed liberalism that’s used as a tool to talk down to Black people and tell them to behave properly. I’m tired hearing people talk about things they know nothing about and having to challenge people about their erroneous assertions of reverse racism and other nonsensical concepts that allow White people to deny the advantage that they’ve had in this country since before it was even a country. I’m tired of being nice and trying to spare people’s feelings because they want to play dumb and be blind. I’m tired of being someone who possesses much more experiential and scientific knowledge of this area than the people I find myself in these scenarios with, only for them to try to employ half-ass tricks of debate and logical fallacies to tell me how I’m the one who is wrong or mistaken. As if their White opinion trumps my reality and years of academic study. I’m tired of feeling like the token/Black friend who has to tell people how things are because if I wasn’t a grad student as well, they likely would not have much of a reason to associate with me and I’m the only Black person most of them probably interact with past some hierarchial relationship in which they are on the higher level.
I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I’m unhappy. I share all of this for the comfort of some level of catharsis. None of this is up for debate or argument. I’m not backing down from what I say. This is how I feel in its rawest form. Anger and frustration laid bare in front of you. Also, do not use this as a means of projecting your own insecurities onto what I am saying. Basically, don’t come asking me if I am talking about you. If you really care, you wouldn’t ask that question in the first place. I’ve said my piece. Maybe I will be in a better place tomorrow or hopefully things turn around. I need it to because I need to be able to take care of myself and its difficult to juggle that with so many demands from so many people and so many pressures. I want to help, I really do. But sometimes I need help too, but it’s hard to ask for help when so many other people are asking me for the help. Maybe it will get better.