I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
Still on a break
I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay now (I'm okay, now)
But you really need to listen to me
Because I'm telling you the truth
I mean this, I'm okay! (Trust me)
- My Chemical Romance
Last week’s hiatus was due to me staring down a deadline for a script I’m working on (a self-imposed one tbh but those are the only ones that work) and this is week’s is due to emotional exhaustion. Daunte Wright. Adam Toledo. Avoidable deaths that are unavoidable under the confines of white supremacy. A numbness sets in and the news slips in and out of your mind. You donate. You post about it. You talk about it on your podcast. You don’t talk about it with your friends because you’re on a writing exile and also what else is there to talk about your friends. The pandemic has become a never ending mundane cycle of conversations and arguments and realizations and emotional catharsis with the same people and that’s exactly how another person murdered by the police feels. Ad nauseum as a visceral emotion has left me ad nauseous.
Despite what Frank might suggests to my followers and some friends who scrutinize my newsletter as if my openly discussing pain and grief is an actual gateway into my emotional state, I don’t usually mire myself in depressive thoughts. On occasion I have but I have found it much easier as a writer to mine those moments for my writing rather than be a person who is an eternal martyr. I love life. And it is a peculiar feeling because many of the artists we have loved in the past have had a taut relationship with life. I think of James Baldwin who wrote about suicide in Another Country — an act he attempted on his own many times — and drew the ire of poet Etheridge Knight for writing about an act she did not believe black men committed.
We of course know that to be false now and I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than to write I am a strong person who very much finds joy in survival. Pain and suffering is a given with life, particularly with black life in America but when I write about trauma I write about it to explain how music and television and film and art and all forms of pop culture are what save me.
I’ll be back to Frank sooner than you know it.
“I’m into survival.”
- Nancy Thompson, A Nightmare on Elm Street