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Interpret My Maladies, Or What I Learned from the Super Bowl

Last week, CFC member, Moya wrote a very compelling piece about the way that women of color neglect themselves while they continue to give most–if not all–of their energy to others. Although I have never explicitly identified as an activist or a feminist–crunk or not–I could not help but nod in agreement as I read Moya’s discussion of the need for WOC to take care of themselves in a more deliberate and sustained manner.

Timing is everything. Moya published this piece on the first day of my own, personal TV timeout. Last fall, I very suddenly lost the ability to see out of my right eye. Although I thought I could blame the lack of vision on an old disposable contact, no one has been able to diagnose me despite the many hours I have spent in the doctor’s office. I have vacillated from feeling very scared to being very frustrated about the ailments (from an uncooperative calf muscle to back pain) that seem to only want to manifest on the right side of my body. 

I don’t enjoy putting my business out on front street like this, but sometimes sharing is necessary. Right now, I’m a very good example of what happens if one does not heed Moya’s words. Since the only folks with a diagnosis are those who represent my insurance company, I am left to conclude that this is just my body’s way of telling me I’ve been an incredible asshole to myself. And so, last week I left on a jet plane and spent seven days watching cable at my mama’s house. That Kardashian marathon did not heal me, but it was a nice distraction from the responsibilities I left in the City of Wind.

Habits are so hard to break. I returned to the city yesterday evening with absolutely no idea of how to fulfill this Monday morning obligation. I had deliberately avoided primaries and caucuses and #BlackTwitter during my week-long respite. I did my best to acknowledge any fleeting trepidation I have about the uncertainty that themes my world, but tried not to dwell there. If my body is simply a physical manifestation of my mental state, then I need to stay positive. And the combination of my own personal changes and tracking this screwed up world surely do not help matters. I’m sure the GOP will be just as racist, and the Democrats still won’t be much better when I get off the injured list. I hope you all will forgive me for not providing you with a dose of hateration this week.

So often, football explains life. Like any decent American, I watched the Super Bowl last night. At the end of the game a sportscaster was interviewing Eli Manning. The Giants, as they have most of of their games this season, trailed most of the Super Bowl. The commentator asked Manning if he was discouraged at any point during the game. Manning’s response was telling. Put simply, he said no, and added that the team just stayed positive and stuck to their game plan. His answer resonated with me. I believed him. Two months ago, the Giants were on the brink of not making the playoffs; fans were writing the team owner, demanding that he fire the coach. Yesterday, they won the Super Bowl.

Although by no means a professional athlete, I need to think more like the Giants, like athletes who have an incredible ability to believe in themselves when it makes absolutely no sense to have that kind of faith. I need to assess myself and my situation, and create a gameplan based on my strengths. I need to learn to believe even when it seems that I’m losing. (Boy does it feel like I’m losing.) And that requires that I, like Moya said, take care of myself first. That kind of self-care requires me to take stock of the responsibilities I bear and determine what I need to carry and what I don’t. I need to determine who and what is on my team; who’s there to help and who’s not.

It simple, really. Yet somehow incredibly difficult. But it’s all necessary. And with the year still young I publicly resolve to treat myself better so that I, in turn, produce something better here and anywhere else I may write.

I just needed a bye week. Perhaps I’ll need more. And if you need one or several, too, by all means, take them.

Thanks, Moya.