To be completely honest, I have no idea where to start.
I feel like I have repeated that phrase in my head many, many, times in my life, yet even more so recently. Saying that in this moment feels very appropriate because…
1. I have been blogging way less frequently than I used to
2. So much has happened since the last time I wrote…that feels like a whole different world ago
Full transparency, I am really only coming to write in this moment for myself. Times are hard, but writing for me has always been very therapeutic. So, if you are reading this, I am glad you are here. However, I cannot really promise you this is going to be anything but gibberish in my head I am wanting to get out.
In case you are unaware, or missed it on social media, I like many of you (45 million to be exact) lost my job due to COVID-19. That number is really freaking scary. Weirdly though, when I got laid off, I (selfishly) found a lot of comfort in knowing that I was not the only one. I am the type of person who always has a to-do list going. Usually multiple lists, long term and short term. I am sure you have heard so many people talking about how it’s been good to forceably slow down when the world shut down. I don’t disagree with that, yet for those of us who always have to be crossing something off the list, that’s a real catch 22. I have kept my list going throughout all of this, but the lack of motivation and feeling of defeat comes no matter what you are or aren’t doing. I want to take a second though to speak for those of us who are staying at home with our only job being to take care of ourselves.
If you know someone who is unemployed due to this pandemic, they are either:
A. Losing their minds, riddled with anxiety, praying constantly
B. Completely chilling, playing video games, waiting it out
C. Doing their best to make it look like they are B, when they are really A
D. None of the above, probably in denial
The number one thing I want to tell you is this: do not ask a person who is unemployed in this current climate if they have found a job / if they are applying for jobs. Especially if you yourself have a job. This is none of your business, really, but more than that, it’s insensitive. It may be coming from a good place, but just no. God has a plan for each of us in this particular boat and we are all trying to figure out what that plan is. We really don’t need you to ask us that question we are asking ourselves a million times a day. It reminds me so much of when you graduate from college or high school and EVERYONE is like, “what’s next??”
“I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING AND IF YOU ARE SO CURIOUS WHY DON’T YOU SEND UP A PRAYER TO THE BIG MAN HIMSELF. MAYBE HE WILL SEND YOU THE ANWSER AND YOU CAN RELAY THAT INFO TO ME,” is what I want to say every single time, but instead I throw around the question like it is a hot potato waiting for you to seem pleased with the made up answer.
When I lost my job I swear for a good two weeks I ran around in a circle saying to myself, “I don’t know what I am going to do. I don’t know what I am going to do.” Surprise! Surprise! God provided. My mind-frame then became, “what do I want to do? what do I get to do?” I made a long list in my journal of goals and things I have dreamed of my whole life only to realize I do not know where to start with any of them. I told you that phrase is continuous in my life. Yet again, that’s terrifying, but… Surprise! Surprise! God will provide.
What’s even crazier for me to think about is the people who are in the same boat as me, yet are still somehow in a worse situation. People who are not on unemployment. People who do not have a support system. People who do not have a savings. I pray for those people everyday and I hope you will join me. I have learned that when you are unemployed you either have GREAT days or NOT GREAT days. There is really no in between feeling. Let’s all pray for more great days. Let’s also take a second to praise those sweet people working harder than ever in unemployment offices all across the world. Many have been pulled from other departments to work a job they are so unfamiliar with. Throughout my process, they were nothing short of kind and helpful despite the stress they must feel. The additional weekly unemployment benefits are set to end in July 2020. Last week alone, 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment. Now, healthcare workers (s/o to all our frontline heroes) are being laid off in the middle of their battle with this virus. There is talk of that additional benefits deadline being extended. Regardless, many are losing sleep over what happens next. We have a lot to be in prayer about!
My one reminder I want to stick in your head like bubble gum on the bottom of your shoe is as follows:
Taking care of yourself is productive.
I ran across a post that said this very thing online yesterday and I took it as a total sign because right now, that is my only job. It’s a big one too. It’s okay to be sad, overwhelmed with uncertainty, anxious, tired or unmotivated. Whatever you are feeling is alright. Let yourself feel it. Find the lesson. Things will get better. We have a lot to be thankful for.
I’m not knocking people stuck at home with jobs and their feelings, these are just my tips for us all as a dude who is worried about where the money is going to come from and how he is going to provide in the future. If you have a job right now, whether you like it or not, please thank God each day for that blessing. Trust me, it is a bigger blessing than you realize. Check on your friends around you… Many feel like this I guarantee you.
I also want to remind you to make sure you are supporting your friends in the POC community. I partnered with a group called @counterpropaganda (on Instagram) for last week’s episode of my podcast, Saturation. I hope you will give it a listen to learn more about how I am using my platform, the resources I am educating myself with and the ways you can get involved.
My best friend Stephanie and I also created this mural in our small town last month in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Check it out:
Take care of yourself and take care of your people. That is a job no one can take away from you.
Southern and Thankful