11:59 PM

Y’all, I’m not gonna lie, these numbers don’t scare me anymore. What loomed, brewed so heavily over my head, a quiet storm, has turned into a suggestion. And who listens to suggestions right? In fact, with the craziness of COVID, Imma let you know that it took me up until today to remember that I had to write this here blog post……for November. It’s December 16th and a Nor’easter outside as we speak. What’s considered mandatory, non negotiable nowadays anyway?

To begin, I’d like to specify and say that I’m alive, that I stayed that way to survive this semester. And it was tough. For one, by the middle of September, my consciousness got so crowded with anxiety that I decided to quit my job at Queens College’s writing center after a year and some change. I still have my final message flagged in my Gmail and remember the bitter sweetness of leaving my team plus the only means I had of supporting myself during the pandemic. Definitely not ashamed to say I got a much needed cry after pressing that send button other. But for the sake of preserving a semblance of mental equilibrium, I had to save myself from anymore responsibilities I had to juggle. I was losing my rhythm, my steadiness to keep up with what was once so basic. A routine that felt so much like a second skin pre-COVID, has turned into an old coat I no longer wish to wear, to carry in the crook of my arm.

And there’s only but so much time in the day where I can continue blaming myself for not getting close to turning anything in by 11:59 PM. It didn’t help either that I’ve gone months at a time without cracking open a computer to write like I’m writing, pursue my dreams as an artist, a creative like I intended to before the madness began in March. It was almost like I’d break out in hives if I saw a keyboard, pencil, paintbrush, anything pertaining to work. I wouldn’t even bother to to get the beauty sleep I deserved, or whether to control myself from picking at my face. Even my hair, my crown, was an aspect of my body that I allowed to go unattended, tangle and mat under a scarf, too tight bobby pins, too tight of a hair tie. But deep down, I knew I couldn’t stay in that pit forever. I had to not only hoist myself up with my own strength but I had to learn that it was more than okay to grab a hold of someone to get out and stay out of that dark place. And so I did.

Honestly though, I can’t tell you that I’m the same well oiled machine I once was, but I’m much better now than what I’ve described to you just now. Again, the semester’s over, we’re about to head into this new year, with COVID of course but I least I have my peace of mind in tow. I’ve also got my loved ones, my spreadsheets, my security in myself to know that 11:59 PM isn’t a time to constantly fear, but it also marks the beginning of the next day. And I’m grateful to be there. It’ll be December 17th, 12:00 AM soon.

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