I’ll start this off by acknowledging the fact that I missed a March post. As much as I’d like to berate myself for this, I genuinely don’t have the energy to. Plus I think we can all afford a moment of grace given the Covid-19 climate.
If there’s anything Corona has shown me, it’s that I dwell in the calm before a storm. I didn’t think the virus would hit as hard as it has or have the global repercussions we’re seeing. Part of that is my personality: I’ve worked really hard to not allow fear to be my default reaction. To the point where most of the time I genuinely think things will work out and be fine. This I think is a fantastic trait of mine. I don’t sit in a state of panic, nor do I float in a constant stream of anxiety. Now, take my words with a grain of salt. Our new reality hasn’t affected my general life too drastically, so I’m very well aware of the luxury I have to self-praise.
The other reason I was slow to grasp the scale is because of the people around me. For those who don’t know, I’m in nursing school. I’m set to graduate this December and I’m praying to God the devil ‘rona doesn’t delay those plans. Part of nursing school is doing rotations at hospitals- we call these clinicals. Of course, by being in the hospital I had heard more about the virus way before it became a constant cycle in the news. And even then, nobody was fearful. Of course, precautions were taken, but I never felt concerned about it upending our lives like this. We would even joke that we wouldn’t worry about the virus until the ER nurses started to. Then they did. All our hospitals have since kicked us students out so we’re not able to complete our clinical hours. This is the biggest hurdle to possibly delaying our graduation, but again I’m optimistic things will work out.
Again, I can have this gleaming optimist because although my day to day schedule has changed, I’m still able to go to school (online) and have always had the option of working from home (I work for a software company). Make no mistake, I’m not completely without worry. Within say 3 degrees of separation, I now know three people who have passed since lockdown. Two I don’t believe were from the virus, but one is a confirmed yes. As covid-19 continues to close in on us, we’ll unfortunately be hearing more and more of these stories. My sister comments that it’s been interesting to watch me progress from lackadaisical to now wiping down incoming mail. I also worry about the profession I’m training in and the absolute disregard for the safety of healthcare workers in this country. This is terrifying. This is the British sending soldiers to WWI with cloth caps instead of helmets. It’s telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when you only gave them flipflops. It’s recruiting only the color blind to act as pilots. It makes absolutely no sense, it’s absurd, outright neglectful, but most of all it’s terrifying.
As a black person, I should have absolutely no faith in this government. As an immigrant, maybe foolishly I do. Be that as it may, my wide eyed and bushy tailed glow is very rapidly dimming. As the virus spreads, we’re now getting stats on the people most affected. It’s black people. This sadly isn’t surprising. We live in a white America. An America where wealth is disproportionately distributed in favor of white people. With wealth comes things like having a second home to run to when your city becomes a Covid-19 hotspot. It comes with the perks of not relying on public transportation to get from point A to point B. It comes with being able to afford a post-mate’s delivery for your groceries. It comes with not needing to be a post-mate delivery driver during a pandemic.
My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t critically think, so for those who are gathering their rebuttals, use your critical thinking here. Of course there are minorities who can afford such, but statistically these numbers are disproportionately skewed in favor of white people. Another of my pet peeves is when people use minorities and black people interchangeably, so henceforth I’m speaking only of black people. The way this country is set up, black people are suffering and will continue to suffer the effects of the Corona virus more than our white counterparts. Racism has led to wealth, educational and stress disparities which ultimately affect socioeconomics and genetics. I’m highlighting stress and genetics because of hypertension, which black people are more likely to suffer from compared to white people. Racism is stressful. I don’t think I need to delve into the why’s, but the fact that black men are toggling with the decision of whether or not to wear facemasks lest they appear a threat proves my point. This video shows two black men being escorted out of a Walmart for wearing facemasks. Yup.
I’ve just had an epiphany as I write this. Perhaps my optimism is a coping mechanism. As I write this I am getting more and more stressed. I’m getting angry, infuriated, and honestly I feel hopeless. I feel all this even with the privileges I have, so I can’t imagine how others less fortunate feel. It’s exhausting. And so, I will hold on to the philosophy that things will work themselves out. Because if I allow myself to dwell on the fact that because of who I am there are many more hurdles stacked against me, then I risk chronic depression. Yes, for some people these thoughts will spark motivation and drive. That is admirable. I however am not wired this way. And so I make dance videos and I create Instagram characters. Because though I hold awareness, optimism, distractions and my joy are the shields I can comfortably carry.
Disclaimer: On my computer sits a folder of unpublished essays. They're hilarious to read back, especially the moody ones (I'll share one of them some day). The following was written 2 years ago. In true Omono fashion I've procrastinated this monthly goal of mine, but just in the nick of time, we've posted in February! (it's already March in London and Nigeria 😬 but small details). Either way, in these last few hours of February I present you: "The Devil".
"His name is Laziness and he has gripped me. Perhaps it's because of my night owl schedule, but I feel I don't accomplish much during my days. I sleep, eat, work, and drag myself out every now and then but I am not in a constant schedule that allows me to build upon the things I want.
So what do I want? There's a long list, but I've just read something that suggests I start with small goals. Regardless I will list all the things I would like to eventually accomplish
Real time: Look how much has NOT changed! 🙄Le sigh. March will be better.
I’ve had my blog for 8 years and only recently built a subscribe page. I know what you’re thinking: “What kind of useless blogger is this one?”. Trust me I’m thinking it too. Like a lot of things in my life, I’d been meaning to get to it but never sat down and actually put the pieces together. Then one day something snapped, and I decided it was time. I now have my first 20 subscribers! Granted you’re all friends and family I bullied into a follow but thank you for obliging.
There’s a certain level of fear that comes with having a set list of readers. I’ve only ever written when the spirit moved me, which hasn’t been very frequently (my mummy will say it’s because I don’t go to church). But now that I have a guaranteed set of eyes, I feel like I need a certain level of structure. With that, I’ve decided I’ll be updating this at least once a month. I went back and forth on whether this was too infrequent a schedule, then I remembered: Omono you’re a full time student with a part time job who is still trying to juggle auditioning, scheduling a relatively consistent (AKA 5x/year but it’s the most consistent acting job I’ve ever done so there) voice over gig, creating and organizing your dance videos, while attempting to maintain social relationships that extend beyond your cat. Chill.
So once a month it is. I’ve started brainstorming topics to write on in the coming months but would also love your feedback. If anyone has any topic suggestions (or just wants to say hi 👋🏾) comment below or shoot me an email! I really am looking forward to building my own community with this little slice of internet :)
Till next time,
This is gonna be a little all over the place, but there’s a thread so stay with me:
I didn’t get home till about 1am the morning after Christmas. I was part of a deep discussion at my uncle’s house and one of the things that stuck with me was this quote: “As I get older, I blame my parents less and less for the struggles of my life”. I’m paraphrasing, but that was the general idea and it prompted an audible oof from me. Now I’m not here to go into the traumas of my past, but I have done the most healing work on myself this past decade. As a result, my blood pressure is managed, my skin is (relatively) clear, I’ve jumped 2 full letter grades higher in emotional intelligence and I’m better at knowing what I like/don’t like/what I will/will not stand for. “Self-care” we call it. And yet I still feel so far off from who I want to be. Thus, my new decade’s (ok Omono calm down), my new year’s* resolution is to stop using “self-care” as an excuse to not start running the race of my life. Even writing this is making me uncomfortable. “The race of my life”, so dramatic! That drama prompts an eye roll, but really it prompts internalized pressure which prompts anxiety which prompts feelings of inadequacy, which prompts letting up on myself, which prompts the justifications I’ve started to call “self-care”.
Back to my parents. In case you didn’t know, I’m an immigrant. In case you didn’t know, I live in the United States. In case you didn’t know, the current president has bred quite the xenophobic climate. While I’m f̶o̶r̶t̶u̶n̶a̶t̶e̶ gattdamn blessed to live in Los Angeles, I am still affected by said climate. As is typical of many of us, the older I get the more I reflect back on my life. On the life I’ve lived, but also on the one I might have lived. I think often of who I would be if I never moved to the states. Or who I’d be if my journey here had taken a different path. And I’ll be honest, I’ve blamed my parents for what I called “the state of my life”. For the struggles, the stressors, the fears and so on. Very validly, I’ve had to self-care hard to overcome some of those hurdles. Not so validly though, I’ve begun using that label to limit myself. I said earlier that I wondered who I’d be if I’d never moved to the states. The honest to blog answer is that we will never know. But I do know this: I would not be afforded the same level or the same quality of opportunities that I’ve come across living in the U.S. I can decide to be an actress and very soundly pursue that dream. I can wake up, decide I want to dance and without much effort drive to a world renown dance studio. I can say I want to go back to school and enroll in a class that very same day. I can have a work from home job that allows me to live in New York for the summer. Like what?! And so I say no more self-care. Now that’s dramatic. I clarify: no more indulging* in self-care. Yes, I need to and will continue taking care of myself. But for the opportunities I’m afforded, and for the millions of people who aren’t even given a playing hand, it’s my duty to hussle. Let’s pray I keep this energy throughout 2020.