My birthday is next Saturday, July 3rd. I’m hitting another pivotal age that will move me into a new age category when filling out registrations, applications, or patient paperwork – 45. Aside from noticing how much my face and body has aged the past five years post-cancer, I’ve noticed the mandatory toleration of bullshit and then racist bullshit barometer that has been forced upon me since the first time I was called a nigger in the 4th grade in order to survive is gone.
Will there ever a time where I can bring all of myself into a room? How much of me can I reveal without getting hurt? How do so many white people not see the protective cloak I wear to help fend off the inevitable insults, microaggressions, full on racists remarks, undermining of me, and them trying to “put me in my place?”
I remember turning 25 while living in LA. By that point, I had become
A little jaded.
Had experienced first heartbreak.
Unhappy with career.
Diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
I couldn’t financially pursue acting the way I wanted because many unexpected and painful things happened while in LA that forced me to go the corporate route because I needed health insurance and somewhat steady income. I put my dreams on hold.
I remember turning 35 while living in Atlanta. By that point, I had experienced
Living through a terrible recession.
Lack of professional direction.
Being called stupid by my white female boss when I worked for an in-house agency.
Being told I’m brilliant by a white employer but unwilling to pay more for my expertise.
Letting go of pursuing acting.
More health issues and unexpected weight gain.
My hair on the left side started falling out.
More depression and anxiety.
My white doctors dismissing my symptoms even though I knew something was seriously wrong.
More anger that was boiling into rage.
Now we fast forward to soon-to-be 45 while living in Atlanta. Now, I continue to have difficulty navigating through life because of
Supposedly “surviving” Stage IIA invasive lobular breast cancer.
Lack of quality of life thanks to permanent damage stemming from 16 rounds of chemo, 8 surgeries, and 33 radiation treatments.
Unmanaged chronic pain due to fibromyalgia and chemo induced peripheral neuropathy and medically induced menopause.
Being told by two white women when I was working at a huge ad agency that I had to keep my health and work separate when I began struggling from side effects from taking Arimidex to help prevent a recurrence. They said this in front of everyone.
Being called by the other black woman’s name 2x by an older white woman, who was/is a tRump supporter, after being there for two years at the job I had before the pandemic. There were only two black women in the marketing department. We have vastly different looks and personalities.
Having my ideas stolen by white women in the workplace throughout my entire career and them receiving the credit and not being able to call them out on it for fear of losing my job because I needed the money.
Realizing how oppressed and degraded I had become after consistently dealing with the white fragility of white women and every so often white men.
Dealing with white women in certain cancer groups who have actually said, “race doesn’t belong in the cancer space” and “not everything is about race.”
Being trolled and targeted on Twitter by racists because I began speaking up about it more and more.
Palpable cracks in my soul after seeing black men and women being murdered at the hands of white people over and over and over and over again with no accountability.
Discovering white people who I thought were friends and who I trusted let their racial bias and racists thoughts show, which has destroyed my trust in a lot of white people.
Watching an insurrection happen LIVE and seeing those racists being treated with dignity and able to just go home afterward.
Palpable pain, self-hate, unhappiness, and rage continues to runneth over.
I honestly didn’t want to write out the flood of thoughts that have been whirling in my head since the start of this year. Writing it down makes it real. I literally have tears in my eyes as I write this, and heart is pounding furiously because I am just so fucking tired of having to be ON all the time and never knowing who I can trust anymore. Now that the veil of oppression has been lifted from my face, how do I continue moving forward without hate seeping into all the cracks in my soul that have formed during my soon-to-be 45 years on this hateful planet?
Will I ever develop the ability to move past…
and the rage.
Well, that remains to be determined.
What I can confidently say is I’m finally at a place professionally where my voice and ideas are encouraged, supported, and uplifted. I’ve never received that kind of respect before, and it feels strange yet deeply appreciated and comforting. I suppose miniscule steps forward are still steps to be acknowledged.
Until next time,
7 thoughts on “How Much of Me Can I Reveal?”
Such an inspirational piece. Your authenticity and integrity set your writing apart from other blogs.
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Thank you so much for saying that. What a beautiful and completely unexpected comment.
A dear friend from my work life was marginalized after diagnosis and treatments including radiation and surgery for stage 2B lobular breast cancer. They fired her and ruined her financially, psychologically….
lost all of her self esteem and she lapsed into a serious depression and almost killed herself. I talk her down off the ledge twice a month. She’s over 55 so that’s the magic number of “good fucking luck lady.”
“Your experience means nothing but (too expensive for us” and “you’re overqualified” and becoming the token woman in the job hunts that usually wound up hiring an internal employee who was chosen de novo.
It’s been 2.5 years and still no job. The unemployment department has fought tooth and nail. Still nada.
And she has a son who now lives 90% of his time with his father and his NPD wife as her ex left her basically on her own. Now her chance of recurrence is 60%. She’s alone, stuck on the outskirts of Boston – goes to Boston general because she cannot get a referral to Dana Farber. She’s gone from the heights of a career which I helped her get promoted to – and she’s and two others are only people who’ve kept in touch with me from a 28 year career in high tech that dumped me in the gutter at 48. The following year I was diagnosed with MBC. It’s all infuriating.
No one told me moving here to auburn the lack of diversity and the openly ANTI LGBTQ, Semitic, and anti liberal community wouldn’t dare not de politicize masking and vaxxing. I’m so unhappy you’ve had to live a life of deep wounds – out of the rubble we all pull ourselves up and dust ourselves off somehow, as you have as painful as it all is. You know we wildly agree on this topic. I’m glad you can vent in a safe place. I can no longer vent – its seen as too late for a late middle aged Jewish while woman to lament her misfortune without being called insensitive. So I stopped – it feels wrong but I’ve always been sensitive and was raised color blind with a half black half Puerto Rican younger brother. My father never raised me to see myself or anyone as better or beneath myself and that I could do anything if I worked for it regardless of my gender or religion. He was wrong
And rest his soul I hope he died of an inoperable brain tumor in 2013.
Keep the torch burning and light the night on FIRE – some of us have been left with a zipper for a mouth and I don’t have any different view of my life regardless. I’ll live as is necessary to give the women who haven’t been given a voice the stage. Of this I can be sure.
Since I couldn’t go back and edit and my spell checker and bad eyesight left a few typos please excuse it / Megsie you know I have continued respect for you
Thank you for putting this into the world. This is some powerful writing and I hope after the frustration and anger that you feel some satisfaction from sharing how you have felt and the BS you have gone thru. The irony I think is that while you didn’t have an acting career, the positive smiling put-together face you show the world belies your pain. So I’m really glad you are at a place where you can say-I am in pain and you will listen. Rock ON!
I’m so thankful you are in a job where your voice and contributions are appreciated. The difference must be palpable daily.
Your pain and fear and hurt and rage come through in your writing and while it may make some uncomfortable, I’m simply blown away by your courage in writing it, no matter how painful. You are making a huge difference in your willingness to say what others are surely thinking.
Love and hugs to you, my friend.