“She Went to Use The Restroom and She Never Came Back.”

| June 17, 2017 | Reply

Thanks to the numerous strides made in politics, medicine, sports and entertainment, wider opportunities have presented themselves for girls and women. In 2016, for example, The Dallas Wings became the first team in North Texas to join the WNBA franchise. Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar became the first Somali American Muslim legislator elected to office, and performer Lady Gaga heightened awareness for victims of college campus sexual assault, contributing music (“Until It Happens to You”) to a documentary about the crisis, The Hunting Ground, and standing on-stage with sexual assault survivors at the 2016 Oscars.

Women business owners have created million of jobs in the United States and more women than ever are graduating from college. Despite the violence and inequities still plaguing us, we’ve accomplished feats, individually and collectively, that many once thought impossible.

Capabilities aside, however, two facts remain unchanged: One, we owe gratitude and respect to the powerful women who preceded us, since their achievements made ours easier to grasp. But no matter our age, or which generation we hail from, none of us can ‘do it all.’ We can ‘lean in,’ ‘pay it forward,’ ‘go high,’ even all three…..but there is truly no way to successfully juggle every aspect of life and not drop the ball somewhere.

We live in a complex and computer-driven world; our professions, our families and our social networks make constant demands on our time and we ladies tend to put those duties first and our own needs last. Then, after too many fast food meals, too little hours of sleep and a couple of missed well-woman check-ups, we scold ourselves, find ‘an app for that’ and resolve to do better another day.

But sometimes, a new day never arrives.

The day I put this column together, for example, I woke up to check the newsfeed and one of my friends shared a sad status update: one of her supervisors, a woman no older than myself, suddenly passed away from what they’re guessing was a case of cardiac arrest. “She was on a plane traveling to our corporate office, went to use the restroom and never came back.”

Stunned and saddened, we expressed our condolences. Many exchanged stories of other women who passed on far too soon; peers, parents or others who tried living up to unrealistic expectations and, eventually, buckled under the burdens. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, coronary heart disease is the No. 1 killer of adults in the US and one out of four women die from heart disease. We can’t always control all the factors impacting our hearts, but the main one we can monitor is stress. Doing too much for too many is bad for our health. Period.

It can be a challenge for women to admit, even to themselves, that they need to fall back. We want to be someone people can rely on, so we go to every practice and chaperone the field trips. We want our partners to feel appreciated, so we run the errands and cook from scratch. But if we are operating on fumes, how much longer before we stall….or conk out?

A phrase spoken by the late writer and womanist Audre Lorde stated a message that all ladies should heed: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” In other words, putting ourselves first isn’t selfish, but necessary to safeguard our mental and physical health.

Reducing stress levels can happen in multiple ways: letting the gossipy girlfriend’s calls go to voicemail, or taking your name off the “chaperone volunteer” list. It can be an elaborate spa day or a juicy novel with “Cookies and Cream” on the side. Being ‘dependable’ or regarded as ‘a strong woman’ is fine, but no one is immortal. Prioritizing ourselves at the top, rather than the bottom, is the best way to enjoy what happens in-between.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: DMN Briefing Columns, Physical, Mental and Emotional Health

About the Author ()

Motherofcolor.com showcases the writings of an intelligent and socially savvy wife, mother and journalist who explores a variety of topics (culture, politics, race and gender issues, etc.) with a unique African-American/womanist perspective.* *COPYWRITTEN CONTENT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (c) . "Melody Charles," "Chocolate Mama & "Le[e] L[e]e Symone" are writing alter egos/pen names*

Leave a Reply