Every day, I wake up with the strikes against me, trying to push through them, to the other side of life.
I wake up with the full knowledge that today, someone will tell me I'm being irrational or emotional, even if they do not use those direct words. Someone will drape their shoulders in their privilege to reprimand me or cloak themselves in the dripping sorrow of fragility because they didn't like something I wrote. Someone will tell me I am too old, too educated, too outspoken, too diversified, too something other than just right.
Pushing through it anyway is the what I have to do, with a smile, and a pen.
I had to push through when told to create a portfolio, even though I had one, essentially, it being busy work, because they thought I was overqualified, over-age, and just plain over. I keep getting up.
My pen on paper keeps writing muses, thoughts, poetry, literary criticisms. Only to be told that I don't perform, even if they don't say it directly, no one of my sort "reads" poetry. They want the wow factor, the two snaps and a circle, the music and the spitting.
I walk among the world as a loner, at times, trying to find a place of solace and acceptance. My books are ever present with me, as are my writing tools, my camera, and my observation. Every day, I write, everyday, I keep stepping.
The other day, in one of my consulting gigs, I kept holding my tongue from saying just pay me already, just respect the value of what I bring, stop asking for more and more, without the compensation that would have been a part of it had I been hired on staff. But we bite our tongue because we can't be seen as desperate or angry or just having bills to pay.
Calendar pages keep turning, age keeps creeping, distance keeps growing, and we keep trying. Connecting with people who say they know people only to know they are using your connections to advance their own cause. Or the ones that want your input, volunteer time only, not worth enough to even pay for a cup of coffee.
But we must keep smiling because we can not be seen as human.
Every single day.
As a black woman.