I remember after hearing about Alton Sterling this summer, I told a co-worker I was tired. She asked me, "Are you getting enough sleep?" and I had to tell her that it wasn't that kind of tired. I was simply tired mentally & emotionally because for some reason or another, the news about his death was different for me. I felt it in a deeper place and I couldn't understand why hearing the new struck me the way it did.
I had heard the term Racial Battle Fatigue several times, but never fully understood it. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this article written by Sam P.K. Collins where they basically broke down every aspect of what I was feeling back in August.
Racial battle fatigue becomes a life-long experience that transcends generations. Black people in American workplaces struggle to navigate majority-white work environments and often anticipate cultural clashes, especially if they are one of the few people of color in top-tier positions. Such stress can go beyond the confines of the office, crippling a black person’s marriage and social life.
In essence, being African American is tough. We are constantly taking in everything around us while having to navigate both personal and professional struggles. While I can't say that everyone's journey is tough, I would challenge folks to think about how they are feeding into this while challenging my Black/Brown family members to be mindful of when they are "tired".
Keep in mind that it is more important than ever to figure out ways to substantiate your self care and your wellness. I speak very openly and honestly about seeing a therapist because in the last few month, I have been able to manage my own fatigue with their help.
What is also important to highlight is how we can't let others tell us how to feel in these moments where we are fatigued. Like one of my mentors told me years ago, we have to own our truth even when it makes others uncomfortable.
Be tired. Be frustrated. But don't let that keep you from being the best person you can be. When folks ask me how I am doing, I say "I'm maintaining" because I recognize how Racial Battle Fatigue is affecting me during this time in my life.
So again, take care of yourself and remember that the struggle is always real, even when others might try to make you believe that it is not.
To read the full article on Racial Battle Fatigue and ways to maintain, go here! Remember, knowledge is power!