COVID-19 Journal Entry- Six Months In.

It’s been hard to sit and write a blog post lately. Not for lack of discussion topics. Murders. Shootings. People still thinking BLM is an anti-Blue life movement. The DNC and then the RNC. Michael Moore’s dire warnings to the Democrats to energize the base. To visit freaking Michigan. If there is one thing I will give to #45 it’s that he doesn’t like to lose and he knows how to energize a crowd (racism and white supremacy will energize a white supremacist crowd to be clear).

We reached 6 million cases. 183,000 deaths. To put that in perspective 618,222 soldiers died in the Civil War. Worcester, MA had a population in 2010 of 181K, estimates today are 183K same with Brownsville, TX. So an entire city has died.

2,977 people died in 9/11. We went to war after 9/11. Because of 2,977 deaths. Where is the war for our 183,000 who have died? Where is the fight for those lives we have lost? Who led the war after 9/11? If you don’t remember let me refresh you- the freaking White House did. It was George Bush at the time. He started a war with Iraq (which yes makes no sense because Iraq wasn’t actually responsible for 9/11…but that’s a different story). Our current white house sits back and makes no statements about 183,000 deaths. No outrage. No grief. But he wishes Ghislaine Maxwell well. So that’s nice. Let’s wish the pedophile well while your citizens are dying.

So many things. The suicide rate hasn’t been counted yet. The most recent data available is from 2018 when it was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Our suicide rate has risen 35% since 2003. I can tell you from working in mental health that suicides are on the rise. People are suffering. The isolation, the fear, the job loss, the evictions, isolating with homophobic and transphobic families…all the things. Any one who was trying to hold on by a thread is losing it with the pandemic.

I don’t feel the desolation of depression but I feel sad. I miss my best friend who lives in Florida who I do not know when I will be able to see her again. I feel sad for my friend here who has to re-vamp her October wedding into something different and not at all what she hoped for. I miss my extended family members who live out of state who we normally see during the Summer. The boys have gone so long without seeing some of our relatives and it blows. I crave a way of life that I’m not sure we will ever have again. Mental health is hard on a good day. Working in it during a pandemic is honestly unlike anything I ever imagined.

I’ve heard of 5 suicides in the last two months- relatives of friends or relatives of my clients. I can tell you that’s more in such a short time span than I have ever heard of before.

Two members of my extended family committed suicide- both significantly pre-pandemic- and I say this only to point out that I know all too well the scars that suicide leaves on families. Every suicide should be added to the pandemic’s death count and every grieving family member should be just as outraged at their death.

I was prioritizing front line workers like nurses and respiratory therapists but now I find myself prioritizing other mental health professionals. I’ve had more and more reach out for help. I am honored to be trusted with their care and also incredibly saddened that our profession is front lines more than any one can understand.

In many cases we are people’s only lifelines and we are struggling to stay afloat ourselves.

We are six months into a pandemic that has impacted our country far more than it needed to. We are six months in and 183k deaths deep. Our suicides won’t be officially counted for another two years. But I promise you they are here and they are rising.

This is why writing a blog post seems daunting. How do I write about our most recent parenting mishap…many of which exist…and can be broken down into one sentence- we are burned out and I reached a low when I fought with my 4 year old because he wanted broccoli but I made chicken nuggets. Yes. You read that right. I eventually sat on the floor and took some deep breaths and realized that what I thought would be a special treat was not what he wanted and why would I argue with him about wanting vegetables? Especially when we actually had broccoli in the fridge and it took me only ten minutes to cut it and steam it and serve it. I admit. Parenting low. He got the broccoli.

Another day was bad and he slammed his brother’s finger in a door. Long story. But at the end of it I went in as he was falling asleep hugged him, told him I loved him and that I know he is a good boy. He started to cry and said, “Even though I slammed his finger in the door?” And I said yes. Because even good boys do bad things sometimes we just have to learn from our mistakes.

On top of the every day stress of pandemic, election nightmare, mental health crisis related to pandemic, hurricane, tornadoes, etc. we are still trying to parent and be married and I’m trying not to dread the coming Winter. When I’m sure we will see a resurgence, I’m sure we will go on lockdown again, and who knows what else. I’m sure 2020 will come up with something fun though.

To anyone struggling please reach out for help. Things appear bleak and feel heavy but there will be an end to the pandemic. The 1918 flu ran the same timeline as COVID. Look it up. It’s actually almost exactly parallel. And by end of 1919 the restrictions and outbreak eased. We are six months in, likely six months to go. Please vote. Please vote for an administration that will lead us out of a pandemic with science. Let those 183,000 lives not have been in vain. The virus does not discriminate. But our current administration does.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255


COVID-19 & Kittens

Quite frankly I’m disgusted with white people. What’s fascinating to me is that my posts about BLM and anti-racism are the least viewed by my Facebook followers. Y’all eat up the posts about homophobia when my family is discriminated against. But BLM seems to be lower on your totem pole.

I had to title this something about kittens to get you to read it. Granted; there will be kittens. But first, to all my white followers, step it up. Just because you have one Black friend does not mean you are not racist and/or benefitting from white supremacy.

Look to your right and your left. Who are your neighbors? Are any of them Black? Look at your text message list. Who in your last ten text conversations is Black?

Back in April I asked a therapist I know professionally how their Black clients were fairing during the heart of the riots because I had seen several of mine just by chance that week and it was heart-wrenching. They responded that they didn’t have any Black clients. I remember being taken aback. Like oh. Okay. Weird. And now awkward. And why don’t you have any Black clients?

I still don’t get it. I can make conjectures but they aren’t pretty.

We adopted two kittens. I submitted applications to four shelters. The websites said it could take weeks to hear back. I heard back in 48 hours. I got a call Saturday morning and was told there are two kittens available. We arrived as our messy family of two lesbian mom’s and twin four year old boys, and walked out an hour later with two kittens.

No one questioned our income. No one asked to do a home visit, though all the applications said that was likely. They saw our zip code, our whiteness, and boom. Two kittens. I received calls back from the other three shelters Monday morning. I am not naive enough to believe the same would happen for a Black family. That is me benefitting from a society based in white supremacy. LEARN. Stop looking away. And if you read my posts about kittens. You should freaking read the ones about racism.

We are many many weeks into COVID. I don’t want to count because it’s depressing. I am dreading Winter with kids as the isolation of COVID mixed with long Winter months of being stuck inside. I dread the inevitable resurgence and the loss of childcare again when our preschool closes. Too many of my clients have lost commercial insurance and are now on Medicaid or are uninsured. We are only five months into this. And we have an administration who doesn’t believe in the USPS or in healthcare for all. So this will be a fun Winter.

But the stock market is good. So we are all fine right?

I needed to do something normal. Something fun. I needed my sons to stop feeling sad after losing Rajha in June. Because it’s a regular discussion about Rajha being up in the sky with Poppy (my dad) and “Banana” (My Nana). The boys are only four and they have known so much loss and witnessed me experiencing significant loss.

They now have Scooby and Ginsburg. Scooby Doo and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I had to explain to two clients who RBG is. Because Ginsburg likes to sit on my shoulder during sessions…leading to the inevitable introduction.

They were young straight adults. I smiled and said, you’ve never had a Supreme court case impact your life have you? Then I described the day they ruled on gay marriage and how that impacted my life. I told them the Supreme Court rules on LGBTQ rights and how important that Court is to my right to existence.

The least we could do is name a kitten after our favorite judge. I forget sometimes how differently the hetero’s live. Without fear. Without knowledge or awareness of the rights of minorities or the lack thereof. COVID hasn’t changed anything while at the same time has changed everything.

But now we have kittens. Which makes life just a little better.

Do I love Biden and Kamala? No. Do I think they will be better than the current ass sitting in our white house? Yes. Vote like your life depends on it. Because so many do.

I’ve touched on a lot of topics here but the take home message for white people is to do some anti-racist work. Because you need it. Your avoidance of my BLM posts is evidence that you think you know it all or don’t care to know more. Either of which is bad. I don’t know it all. I still do the work. And to any 20 something straight people….google “Supreme Court Justices” and learn something.

#COVID-19 · politics

COVID-19 Journal Entry- My Son Got Stung By a Bee…and all the drama.

Both my sons are dramatic. I mean I don’t know where they get it from. (everyone who knows me personally is side-eying right now). I wouldn’t say I’m dramatic. Sometimes. It depends. Sometimes I am. Very. Dramatic. But in crises I’m usually chill.

My son stepped on a bee. Leading to a bee sting.

They are both dramatic in different ways. There is one son who would have been able to rationally discuss the stinger now sitting in his foot that needed to come out. There is one son who is not rational with anything related to boo boos. Of course that was the one with the stinger in his foot.

He literally walked around on it for hours before even admitting it was a problem. Then when he did admit it was a problem he didn’t want it fixed. He wanted to live with the stinger in his foot in harmony forever. But it was already looking mildly infected.

I grabbed the tweezers and grabbed his foot. You can imagine the screaming that ensued. Before I even actually touched his foot with the tweezers. He wouldn’t let us soak it first, and because he walked around for hours on it there looked to be some pus already building up. Enter the sewing needle; sterilized. Yeah I had to pop it. We don’t go to the doctor in this house when you live with a former ED nurse and former EMT.

He didn’t actually move during all of this. He stayed still. He just screamed. His twin brother was horrified. Running around in circles directly behind his brother screaming and flapping his arms; not distracting at all. After the pus came out we really needed to soak it for me to get the actual stinger out.

So we soaked it. He let us because I think he didn’t want us coming at him with the tweezers. We all took a breath. His breath was hitching as I snuggled him and Spider-Man from the 80’s (his choice) was on the screen. My other son was sitting with us devouring some fruit snacks saying, “Mama I think you should bring him to the Doctor. I think dat’s a good idea.” I gave him the choice. You let me try and get it again after it soaks or we wait until morning and you go to the doctor.

He held up his foot for me. He started screaming again but I had put the needle away so it was only the tweezers. I squeezed it with my fingers and then easily pulled that stinger out. I inspected his foot to make sure and it was all out. No pus, no stinger. I felt pretty damn good about it. But literally for the next forty-eight hours I had to hear about how I “hurt” his foot and that he understood it was to get the stinger out, but I still “hurt” him. He looked at me with such shock at the betrayal.

Okay but I got the stinger and all the pus out. Saved us a trip to the doctor during a pandemic and with a high deductible health plan it was all worth it.

We were trying to reassure him at some point and my wife and I both told the sad tales of our own bee sting experiences. It’s a double whammy because you get stung which sucks, but then you have to get the damn stinger out. Double sucks. It’s like a rite of passage.

I remember thinking that this felt like such a normal moment. That normal things still happen. Even sucky normal things. Kids still get bee stings during a pandemic. Parents still have to pull the stingers out. While my son screamed and my other son yelled at us for hurting his brother it was a moment of insanity but also normalcy.

Then it feels insane that a normally insane moment feels normal.

I often wish we had cameras in our house to capture some of the insanity that occurs. This was definitely one of those moments. His brother flapping around in the background yelling to bring him to the doctor was hysterical. He also then sat next to him and tried patting his leg like I was doing and patting his back. Considering they often emphatically say they are not each other’s best friend it was nice to know they do care about each other.

I think one of the worst parts about the pandemic is the loss of normalcy. To accept this chaos as our new normal doesn’t feel right. So we hold out hope for the old normal. Even though we know realistically it is so far out of reach.

Then I go down the rabbit hole of it’s only out of reach because we have people who believe we sprang from the Garden of Eden leading this country. Science has no value here and I work in a field based in science. I attended a University that when I go to conferences, the presenters quote literature published by people who trained me.

I feel so angry at the lack of leadership that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. But then I try and tell myself to just be grateful for this normal moment even though it’s a sucky normal moment for my son.

You see why we are all losing it a little bit?!

I can vouch for the fact that we are all losing it. I’ve never been this busy as a practitioner. People who have been stable for a long time are not anymore. New patients left and right. People losing it because they are losing family and friends to COVID and they can’t say good-bye.

Biden finally picked a VP. Within an hour #45 referred to her as a “nasty woman” for reasons that are unclear to me. But he wished Ghislaine Maxwell “well”, he said, “I wish her well,” a suspected child trafficker and child abuser he wishes well. The VP nominee with a stellar history and um no child abuse record…he calls nasty. He wished a child abuser well. That has gotten below my skin more than anything else he has ever said. And he’s said a lot.

I theorize he said it because one monster recognizes another. It’s like the lesbian head nod. Except between two perpetrators…one of whom is our F-ing President…it’s a level of fucked up that causes such a visceral response in me that I can’t describe it. Utter disgust is part of it though.

2020 is better for me than 2019. My Dad died in 2019. So COVID. Elections. Mental Health Crisis. Horrific Presidents and hundreds of thousands of deaths still seems more manageable to me than coping with the grief of losing my Dad. I’m not sure what that says about me as a person I don’t like to analyze it too much. At surface it means I loved my Dad and I miss him. So much.

When I was popping the pus bubble I remember my Dad putting some horrific stinging pink stuff on a cut on my knee when I was young enough to be seated on the kitchen counter. He tended to escalate when I escalated so he wasn’t yelling but he was anxious as he dabbed it on and I screamed and cried. He hated to see me cry. I’ll never forget that. The smell of the horrid pink stuff and his face as he dabbed it on looking horrified and determined at the same time. I laugh now thinking about it. And cry. So many normal moments I miss and crave.

Never in my life has a bee sting felt so right.


I mean 2020 has us all fucked up. Don’t judge.

The boys jello jigglers melted in the heat. I’m pretty sure the stinger was in his foot already.



When Will You Rise Up? Black Babies vs. White Babies and the Statistic that Hasn’t Budged since the days of Slavery

IMG_9042I saw 15 clients today. I’m in the midst of business ownership hell due to external circumstances and I had to cancel my hair appointment yet again last week. No color or cut since…I don’t know when. “A while ago” as the boys would say.

But I can’t get this statistic out of my head. And as much as I don’t want to be staring a computer screen again right now here we are.

I finished this book over the weekend, “The Peculiar Institution”. It was over 400 pages written in 1958 by Kenneth Stampp. In the other anti-racist books I was reading they kept referencing this one. So I decided to go straight to the source. It’s incredibly objective. It dismantles every single proslavery argument systematically, logically, and with evidence and sources. Needless to say I was impressed but also saddened that this was written in 1958. 1958. And literally the same shit still gets said. Slavery was abolished in 1865 in the United States. It was abolished in England in 1708. Yeah let that sink in.

I don’t think I learned that in US History. Or that the founding Fathers were mostly slaveowners scared of England outlawing slavery in the USA. The Revolutionary War was about more than independence. It was about maintaining a free labor force. Follow the money. Always.

The one astounding fact that got me in this book though; in over 400 pages, was the infant mortality rates estimated by the author of African Americans versus whites in the Ante-Bellum South. The infant mortality rate was roughly slightly more than double for African American slaves than for white people. In other words twice as many Black infants died as white infants. He guesstimates that this was due to poor pre-natal care, intense manual labor up to day of delivery, and malnutrition, and as mentioned in this passage Tetanus. Which we now have a vaccine for. Ah hem. Vaccines save lives.

This figure struck me because I was vaguely aware that the infant mortality rate of Black babies in America in the year 2020 still is roughly double to that of white babies. See this website for the source from The Office of Minority Health. Infant mortality rate in 2017 was 11.0 per 1,000 babies born for “non-Hispanic Black” and it was 4.7 per 1,000 for “Non-Hispanic white”.

So literally. Since the days of slavery we have not as a society been able to prioritize the health of infants of Black women to decrease the rate of deaths in Black infants.

That’s fucked up.

Now I knew this statistic, that’s why it rang a bell for me while I was reading the statistic in a book from 1958 guesstimating from the 1800’s. I have been taught this statistic in my nursing school classes and it is often cited in literature (scientific journals as well as popular media to display the racial disparity in our country). But I was never taught that this rate, the percentage of Black babies dying being more than 50% of white babies- No I was never taught that has been the case since the days of slavery. I guess I should have thought that through in my head. But I didn’t. Privilege. That’s privilege. That’s my white privilege showing. Yours too I bet. Now the number of infant deaths has decreased in both races. Obviously 11 and 4.8 per thousand is better than the estimated 58 per thousand in whites and over 100 per thousand in Black people in the 1820’s and 1830’s. But that percentage gap- more than half- more than 50% more Black babies die than whites- that hasn’t budged.

Again. Fucked up.

I say this to all the white people reading this: If the fact that the disparity in the deaths of babies between races has not changed since the days of slavery- if that doesn’t make you feel rage deep in your toes rising into your belly and shame and grief and at least a basic understanding of why there is a movement called Black Lives Matter then you need to walk away.

You need to look yourself in the mirror and you need to ask yourself why the deaths of babies being doubled in a race different from your own since the days of slavery doesn’t encompass you with rage and shame. Why do you not see your privilege now? And if you can see it if you can feel it then what are you doing so in another year, not another hundred years, then what are you doing to prevent babies dying? What are you doing to advocate for Black Lives. Because make no mistake they are more at risk than white lives.

Now I’m not talking about the police. I’m not talking about gun violence.

I’m talking about babies. Again- to all you pro-lifer’s…why are you not sounding the alarm over these disparities of infant mortality rates? Where is your white lady outrage over the deaths of these babies?

Because I feel it. I felt it deep when I read that. Why hadn’t I learned about this in my US History classes? Why hadn’t I learned this in nursing school?

Why hadn’t I ever had to read this book in any of my schooling? Why did I have to read biographies on Jefferson and Washington which painted them as heroes instead of slaveowners seeking independence from a country that outlawed slavery in 1708.

And why can we not prioritize the lives on newborns? Why have we not been able to decrease the percentage disparity since the days of slave ownership?

Black Lives Matter. This is one statistic. There are unfortunately many more to explain why they need to matter more than they do.