I wrote this on May 23 on my Instagram account:
“He told me when we decided to get divorced that I couldn’t take care of myself. That I’d see how hard it was without him. At first I thought I could do it by myself. But recently, I’ve started to believe it. Believe him.
I don’t make any money blogging, despite what my feed showcases. Oh, how betraying the internet can be. Fake it till you make it, right? I’m a struggling artist. Have been for a while now. Waiting for my big break like the rest of them. Trying to maintain an indie blog talking about real shit like social justice and feminism isn’t what businesses want. They want the fake Instagram bloggers. Which is fine. I’ve made my bed and I’ll lie in it.
What really irked me today was that I have about one month’s worth of savings left and have been searching for jobs for the last two months. I have two masters, but I’m still unemployed. On the verge of partial homelessness, I sat in the car and thought about life real hard. How the fuck am I divorced, jobless, and highly educated at 30 ???? Tears filled my eyes and I thought back to my ex: You can’t take care of yourself without me… You know how life just beats your ass and your left stunned? That’s me right now. Wondering what’s next. How my story ends. Begins. I wish someone had the answers for me. Just tell me what to do. Ya know? Do y’all feel me, though?”
At this point, I was fed up with life. I was cooked and overdone. I wanted people to stop looking at me like some kind of special person and see me for who I really was. An overly educated Black girl with no parents, divorced, and no job. A fat girl with mental illness. Someone who floated around with no direction. Yup, that was me. Is me. Still me right now.
I was sitting in the car on that sunny day, looking at my depleting bank account. Checking my emails to see if any of the 100-plus low-grade jobs that I was clearly overqualified for had sent me a message back. Nothin’. I’d had one interview a few weeks ago, but that was unsure. She was still “fleshing out the details of the position.” Unfortunately, my bills or rent hadn’t cared about the details. They needed to be paid. My uninsured body hadn’t cared about the details. It needed annual checkups now. My hopes and dreams hadn’t cared the fuck about the details. They needed nourishment and funding now!
As I always do, I lost my marbles. The strain of not having a family to support, help with anything weighed on me like a slab of marble. The embarrassment of having to apply for food stamps, walking into the unemployment office for “job assistance,’ and making an appointment with a volunteer health care agency weighed heavily on my chest, my ribs as to where I couldn’t breathe.
Then I remembered what my ex told me as we were getting a divorce: you can’t take care of yourself without me. You’ll see how hard it is out there.
Was he right? Had I been to overly-confident about my abilities to maintain a job and pay my own bills? I mean, to the naked eye, it seems as though I have it all. Seems as though I have the ability to take over the world. My face is beat and my outfits are amazing. I have a following. People love me. I’m the fat, Black girl who’s supposed to change the fashion game. It doesn’t appear that I’m on the brink of not being able to pay my rent, or put gas in my car or food in my stomach.
The internet isn’t real. It has real moments, but it isn’t real.
I’m struggling to stay afloat. That’s the truth. I have one month’s worth of savings left. That’s the truth. I have no plan of how I’m going to do any of this. Truth. Two credit cards. Almost maxed out. TRUTH.
I’m ashamed to admit that. To say it out of my mouth. I have two fuckin’ master’s degrees and some work experience, yet I’m treated in the work world like I only have a ninth grade education.
Same day while drinking a slushee, I burst out crying in the front of my friend’s house. In the car. Alone. I hate when people see me cry. I know. I’m weird.
As a Black woman, we pride ourselves in maintaining this strong persona. We can’t let them see us weak. We can’t ask for help. Don’t let them see you down.
As a writer, I pride myself in being transparent. It’s how I built the foundation that I do have. I like sharing intimate moments with people. Especially people who get it. People who want real and appreciate that life isn’t snapshots of Instagram posts, but broken-down cars, and fucbois, and weight-gain, and bad ass kids.
Ain’t nobody perfect. Whether their profile says it or not. I don’t care how many filters they place on their selfies.
After, I posted my cry for help, people started to reach out in droves. I crocodile cried again. Y’all know that ugly ass frog-face cry? Yep, that was me.
My inbox blew up with people wanting me to know to not listen to my ex or my inner demon. People that were Muslim talked about patience. People who weren’t Muslim talked about hope and faith. A few individuals even asked for my PayPal info. I told them to hold off a few weeks (cuz ya never know, maybe a job or two would call me back). A few didn’t care and sent money anyway. *Inserts Frog-Face Tears*
I was so overwhelmed by the love. The hundreds of comments and likes. Strangers from different states offering to speak with the HR at their jobs and that they’d even put me up in a room if need be. It’s more than I’ve even gotten from my own blood relatives that see me struggle every day. Women shared similar ‘struggle-bus’ stories of when they got divorced, had their dignity stripped, and was now starting over. From scratch.
My heart swelled. And if you know me, I’m not an emotional person. Well, I try not to show it. But these strangers, these followers rejuvenated me at a time that I needed upliftment, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on. They say that I was the one who gave them life on a daily basis. I believe it’s the other way around.
It’s now Ramadan. I’m writing this with a hunger migraine. I’m cranky. And my day has been filled with filling out job apps and researching crowdfunding sites so that I can continue to write, be an artist, I guess.
One thing I learned today was to be humble, be grateful for the things you have, and never lose hope. Who knows what tomorrow will bring for me? Maybe I won’t be broke for long. It’s up to me to have hope and keep grinding and be better in this life and for the sake of the hereafter.