Friday, May 11, 2007

Running on Empty

Black people have a problem when it comes to being satisfied. I like to call it the Shine Theory. It’s the whole idea that we have to just keep going and going until we drop with the idea that we have to do more and more until someone kisses our ass and validates everything. That's why we get burned out so early in life. I have that same need but I don’t know why. Two weeks ago I was at a Human Services Data Conference. My director gave a speech about the challenges we have faced in our work since Katrina. During his presentation, there was an entire paragraph about my perseverance and dedication to my job despite of all the personal obstacles I faced. More than one hundred strangers that I had never met gave me a full minute of applause. For the first time since January of 2006 when I started driving back and forth from Jackson Mississippi to New Orleans someone finally gave me some damn credit. That was a great feeling. Once I left the conference and got in my car, I felt the fatigue and stress all over again.

I’m a man and a father. I want to be responsible. I’m trying to make sure my family is okay but I am out of gas. I need a damn break. It’s been hard to take anything longer than a day off because I am literally single handily running my program for the organization. I am the staff. I have this habit of taking on more burden than I should. I think that somehow that reflects on me and my name. The same premise applies to my work and personal life. What usually happens is that I end up working really hard and putting out lots of effort only to end up with the same old bullshit circumstances. My credit is still fucked up. My savings are still low and my air conditioning is still broken in my car. What am I getting out of expending all this energy? The only thing I am getting out of it is a potential stroke and a drinking problem. This is a theme that is not talked about enough. Black men don't really express just how many things they make concessions for in life that never get recognized. My daddy always told me that a man is going to do things in his life for people that no one is going to acknowledge. That just comes with the job. It's just like at the end of Good Times when the Evans got out of the project and the show went off without anyone of them ungrateful bastards mentioning how James used to work 5 jobs at one time to feed the family.

When I start thinking about it more, I realize that I deserve a break. I don’t believe in bragging on myself but I am one hell of a man. Since Mother's Day is Sunday, I am going to give my mama her props for treating me as such since I was born. I’m just saying that if you get all the men you know together and tell them that one day they will wake up with all of their personal possessions gone and their family basically homeless. Then, you will get no help from anybody. You will have to drive 400 miles a week to work, sleep on an air mattress for a year and live out a suitcase after 30 years of being comfortable. You will have to deal with nearly all of your family and friends being gone, never being able to have a funeral for your grandmother and try to find an overpriced place to live at the same time. Then when you get back to the city, you will be surrounded by a bunch of selfish motherfuckers that act like they don’t care or understand what all of your effort means to where they are now. Tell them they have to go through all of that without smoking crack, missing a day of work, or killing a nigga and we’ll see how many of them can get a 60 second ovation from their professional peers. I know I am not the only one, but that won’t be a long list of motherfuckers either. The Lord knows I am a man that is highly flawed. I am also passionate, loyal, dedicated and held mine down through everything just like Jon said did during his speech. That's why after talking with him today I am going to take me a leave of absence. I think I have earned that much. This is as real as it ever gets for me.

I think I’ll go help Drew Brees build some houses or get on the next Lil Wayne mix tape with my Lower Nine dedication Freestyle I have been working on. I might even go on a one man family crabbing trip. Whatever I do I can assure you that it won’t be stressful. Just remember that if you have problems in the next ten days and you need to talk to someone, Cliff is not available.

This is as real as I can keep it.

We will now return to our regular blogging schedule.......................


Another Conflict Theorist said...

HELL of a post!!!

If you decide to drop by the DFW area let me know.

E.J. said...

At least know you got someone else in the same damn running-out-of-gas boat