I wanted to start a series that allowed Black women to share their feelings and experiences during COVID-19. It’s no secret this virus is killing Black people at an alarming rate. While watching the news I noticed the absence of Black women’s voices.

We are being hit hard and from every angle, some of us feel alone and feel like nobody understands. It’s my hope that this series will bring us together.

Each installment features a Black woman, I ask the same three questions to each woman featured, and after they answer they share their day.

There is no format to how their day will be shared, some will read as a venting session, some will be poems, and some will read like a list of daily activities or a journal entry. These entries are meant to be a safe space where Black women can freely express themselves.

ENTRY 2:

Date: April 11, 2020

Name: Tamika Burgess

Age: 36

Location: California

Occupation: Teacher

Sharee: How do you feel today?

Tamika: I’m feeling good today. But each day is different. Sometimes I think about my finances, what life will be like in a few months, a year, two years… In general, how will my life overall be affected by everything that is currently happening?

Will the virus just go away, and life will return to how it was before? I highly doubt that, but I can’t get consumed with what I think might happen and what I want to happen. I try to remain positive and focus on other things to keep my mood positive.

Sharee: What have you learned about yourself since the quarantine?

Tamika: If I occupy my mind, it will have no room for fear, anxiety, and worry.

Sharee: What do you hope changes once the world is up and running again?

Tamika: I hope the health consciousness and cleanliness rules that were are adhering to, and kindness toward each other that we are displaying become the norm.

A DAY IN THE LIFE ENTRY:

Dear Journal,

Today is April 10, 2020. Week four is about to roll into week five, and the ending date has been changed, again. The Mayor of Los Angeles, CA extended the “Shelter in Place” order from April 30th to May 15th.

MAY FIFTEENTH!

This is not how I thought things would go…

I am a homebody, so in the beginning, I wasn’t mad at the idea of having two weeks off from work. I had planned to finish revising my manuscript, research content for my newsletter, Es Mi Cultura, and read a few books.

I have been doing those things and more, but by the middle of week two I noticed a slight wave of fear was starting to come over me. Going to the store for essential items felt like I was breaking the law. If I touched anything while outside of my house, I felt itchy and immediately had the desire to rub or scratch my face. When I would go on my evening walk, and passed people on the sidewalk, I feared they had inadvertently given me the virus and I would go home and give it to my family.

The Sunday after week two, I was watching church online and the pastor’s message was about living in fear. Perfect timing! What I took away from the message that day was that as long as I am doing my part (staying home, social distancing, washing my hands, sanitizing, and as of last week, covering my face), I shouldn’t let fear cripple me, and have me shivering in a corner.

In an effort to do that, I stopped watching the President, Governor, and Mayor’s daily updates. I understand they are important, but all they did was pour water on my seeds of fear. I also made it a point to skip overall social media COVID-19 posts of death tolls, conspiracy theories, people sharing their symptoms, and any other information people posted and deemed “helpful.”

Those changes along with daily prayer has me at peace. But I am also human, so I understand that fearful thoughts are always going to loom. Even though I block out a lot of COVID-19 talk, I make sure to share any feelings I do have about it with my friends and family. This is important because if I let my thoughts of “what if” spin around in my head, my fears will return and become stronger and stronger.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BLACK WOMAN DURING COVID-19: TAMIKA BURGESS

As of now, here is what my typical day looks like:

9-9:30am: Wake up, pray, check email, scroll through Instagram (all while still in bed)

10ish: Get out of bed, make green juice/eat breakfast

11ish: Chat with fam, respond to emails, shower

12-ish: Revise manuscript, contact my literary agent about any questions I have or any updates she may have for me

1 pm: Lunch, Instagram (even though I try to set a specific time for this, I’m on it all throughout the day).

2 pm: Read, watch a movie, listen to music, free time, YouTube, nap out of boredom

4 pm: Depending on the weather, go for a 30-40 minute walk outside and listen to a podcast or music

5 pm: Look for/order/cook dinner

6 pm: Finish up what I’ve been working on that day, if necessary, prep things I plan to work on the next day

7-9 pm: Chat online, the phone, text, eat snacks, maybe watch 5-10 mins of the news (just to get updates on what I need to be doing to help stop the spread of the virus)

9 pm: TV, stream, binge something, Instagram

12 am: Time for my favorite show, Martin!

1-2 am: Fall asleep

My schedule has been working. But I also make sure I don’t get too busy and end up burning myself out. I remind myself that everything is subject to change, it’s all suggestions.

If I want to stay in bed longer, or all day, it’s okay. If I decide to go run a mile first thing in the morning, (yea right, LOL!), that’s okay too. I base my actions on my mood at that moment, making sure to take advantage of having this kind of flexibility.

At this point, I’m praying for the day when all of this is over. I know this situation has and will continue to change us, and nothing will go back to how it was before. So, if this is the new normal, I’m thankful that I’m adjusting to it without having to sacrifice my sanity.

Yours Truly,

Tamika

NOTE:

If you are a Black woman and want to share your day, fill out the form HERE.

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