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Ok, so a friend contacted me and asked if I would proofread a book they were working on…part of a series of publications.  This is not exactly Earth shattering since I had proofread all of the previous entries—somewhat proficiently if I do say so myself.  So, this was just another chapter, so to speak, in the series.

To be perfectly honest, the series was an enjoyable one.  It wasn’t one of those boring topics that made proofreading difficult.  In fact, I so approved of the content that I wished I had written it myself.  So, proofreading it was right up my alley.

Yet, when I received this latest entry, something strange happened.  I read part of it, got a headache, went to lie down and then completely forgot about it.  And I don’t mean I forgot about it for a few minutes.  Not for a day or two or even three. I didn’t/couldn’t resume proofreading the book until almost a month later!

In fact, I not only forgot that I was working on this particular proofreading assignment but, I totally forgot about/lost interest in almost everything else I was doing around that same time regardless of the topic!

Unbelievable!  I mean, who does that?

Not me!

But apparently me?

I thought I had gone totally insane until I spoke with my doctor and discovered that, not only was I not insane, but that that response was typical, especially during times of high stress, during moments where we over-extend ourselves, when we’re eating on the fly and/or when we’re eating poorly!

And, boy oh boy, was I high stressed.  In fact, I was four for four on that list!  My doctor explained that I had had so much going on that I simply shut down.  My body and brain just shut down like your computer does sometimes.  And just like with your computer, it can happen right in the middle of whatever it is you’re working on…regardless of whether you’ve saved your work or not.

Were there warning signs, you might ask?

Yes, there were signs.

To be perfectly honest, there were many signs that I, in hindsight, totally ignored.

Not only was I overwhelmed, but I was tired—often very exhausted during the day. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was eating whatever I got my hands on and I couldn’t even remember when I had last had a good night’s sleep.

Truth be told, I was totally neglecting myself without even knowing it.  So, my memory, among other things, was suffering.  As a result, my brain protected itself by shutting down.

Isn’t that something?

For me, it felt both good and bad.  On the one hand, it was good to know that I had a backup system already in place to keep me from total destruction. At the same time, however, it felt bad to know that it could kick in without permission.  Although I suppose that’s the beauty of it…not letting me destroy myself by forcing one more task.

Mentally refreshed but a little freaked out, I made a vow to myself.  Next time, I would pay attention to the signs before the crash.  I mean, I would certainly not want to be driving or operating machinery when my brain computer just shut down due to overload.  Changes had to be made.

With that, I promised to take better care of myself. I started doing light exercises and stretches, making better food choices and getting proper rest and relaxation.

And what a difference it has made.

I’ve lost a few pounds, I sleep better and I feel better than I have in a very long time.

Thus my “brain collapse” turned out to be a win-win for me and perhaps for those who commissioned my proofreading services.

Oh, by the way, you’ll be happy to know that I did finally complete that job and other backlogged assignments without further ado.  I was lucky that the author was gracious enough to extend time for me to recover.

My advice: Don’t wait until you fall down to take care of yourself.  It’s unfair to you, to your family, to your friends and really to everyone.

I know it sounds cliché but, before making a vow to be there for others, make a vow to yourself and keep it. I think we can all agree that everything works out better when you’re your best self.

Can anybody hear me?

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When asked to define “home,” most people will agree that their home is where they are most comfortable and feel most relaxed.  In fact, they often volunteer unsolicited information about items within their home that maximize their comfort level.

From leather recliners to chaise loungers, everyone has that one piece of furniture that puts them most at ease.   Even with differing taste in furnishings, varying size of the homes etc., the dwellings still promote the same feelings of security and pleasure to the owner ​regardless of social standing.

Interestingly enough, during these discussions, most people never mention putting anything in their home that makes them feel uncomfortable or unappreciated.  In fact, even with limited funding, most people go out of their way to make their homes their sanctuaries.

That same need for security within your home is also needed when you exit said home for work or play and, when properly in place, promotes overall health/wellness.  And most people would acknowledge this.  After all, we have laws and rules on the books to protect people from “hostile working environments.”  However, this basic and often taken for granted level of comfort is routinely denied to black people in the United States everyday, resulting in a very different and difficult life for blacks compared to their white counterparts.

If it isn’t harrowing enough, not knowing if law enforcement will see you as a criminal today as a direct result of your skin color,  hairdo, or outfit, you have to contend with walking passed innumerable statues and shrines that pay homage to the slave masters (both past & present) of your people.

Blacks in the US have no choice but to attend institutions that bear the names of the same individuals who not only enslaved their people but who fought then and whose followers fight now to have them remain slaves in some fashion and listen to the cries and murmurings of those who wish to celebrate that legacy of barbarism under the guise of maintaining the integrity of history and tradition.

What’s even more amazing, if possible, is that this particular level of insensitivity has flown under the radar in a country such as the US, which claims religious, cultural and moral superiority over other countries with differing religions, gods, languages, etc. Yet, somehow, from members of Congress to ordinary individuals on the streets, so many people believe it’s okay for blacks to live with the reminders of these and other atrocities every single day.  Not only that, but if blacks bring these points up in any sort of conversation, those on the other side claim that THEY are the ones being persecuted for being who they are and that it is black people who are oppressing them because of their whiteness.

With all of that being the case, I don’t find it a quantum leap to conclude that black people are being told through situations—such as the excused, if not celebrated, murders of blacks by law enforcement officials, as well as the continued overlooked acts of daily cruelty, as discussed above—that the United States is not their home.  If it were, the individuals who run this country and who are in positions of authority in this country would own up to the truth about its history of flagrant mistreatment of black people.  They would make reparations to them, as other nations guilty of genocide and enslavement in the modern era have to their victims.  They would make every effort to ensure the comfort of ALL the nation’s inhabitants and not just a few.  In other words, they would do everything in their power to make sure blacks Americans would “feel” at home in America.

Not tolerated…and certainly not like they should feel grateful for the consequences of the enslavement that cut them off from their native lands and history.

But at HOME…right HERE.

The cultural differences of blacks would be nurtured and celebrated the same as other cultures of people within the US.  Perhaps there would even be areas of town set aside for the advancement and encouragement of black pride and business, which would be especially important for a group of people who arrived to the US on slave ships as opposed to other groups of people, such as the Chinese and Indians, who arrived in the US of their own volition and with their memories and histories intact.  To be clear, I’m not disparaging them.  I’m trying to make a point.

So, let’s think about it.

What is the underlying message to black people, who continue to be disrespected, murdered in the streets by law enforcement and forced to endure daily cruelty at work, rest or play?

What CAN it be?

America is making it loud and clear that this land is not your home.  If it were, at the very least, the same attention to detail currently in place to make other cultures feel at home when they choose America as their new home would be extended to black people who didn’t choose America in the first place, but had it forced upon them.

To recap, when you are at home, you feel welcomed…not alienated.  You feel at peace, not that little concern is being shown for the continued damage to your spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological and financial capability.

Can anybody hear me?