Silenced

I started writing this blog anonymously for two reasons, the first being that I wanted to prove a point to my husband and secondly, having that anonymity allowed me to be a bit franker than maybe I would have been. But in truth, I was always candid. The point I wanted to prove to my husband is that my race matters. And before you I lose you before you think, here’s another Black woman pulling the race card, I encourage you to please read on. I’m not pulling the race card, I’m not going to be that “angry Black female,” I’m going to continue being me, just Black, for just this moment. I know that after you read this, you probably won’t follow me and if you already do, you’ll probably click unfollow but it’s a story I need to tell, even if no one is listening.

When I first started blogging, I went by the name Scattered Wrecks. At the time, I didn’t have a headshot, so I didn’t post a picture. No one knew anything about me, other than I was a new writer. My blogging career took off very quickly in the sense that my writing was accepted on other platforms and my submissions to anthologies were published. I started writing a book and attached a face to my blog. Then it all stopped. My husband (a White man), would make every excuse in the world as to why this happened. Every excuse except the obvious one.

Then again most recently in a course for my M.F.A., I had to write about if I’ve ever felt silenced in the classroom. My essay wound up being about race even though I had not intended it to be. Because, I’ve never felt silenced in the classroom, but I’ve always felt like my work wasn’t taken as seriously as my White counterparts. I’ve felt like I’ve been passed over for opportunities that I earned through hard work. But there’s no way to prove it, and you’re not going to get someone to say, “Yeah, I didn’t take her submission seriously because she’s Black and I know she’s going to be late to meetings, lazy, and not hand in work on time.” Yes, I said it because it’s the stereotype that most people have regarding Black people. I’m here to tell you that that isn’t true. I show up early if I’m on time – I’m late. I work 20 times harder than the White woman sitting beside you because I’ve had to, to get where I want to go. And while I know this to be just the fact of life that I’ve had to live with, my husband saw the world through his experience, doors forever open, ready to accept him when he’s ready.

In fact, it took the Trump campaign for him to see the world through my eyes. A world where the color of your skin matters in everything you do. But this isn’t a post about Trump or even a post about why my career isn’t going in the direction I once hoped. I have no one to blame for that but myself. I got dismayed. I was defeated. I gave up, temporarily and let pessimism seep in.  Until finally one day I came out of it with a new motto, “be so good, they can’t ignore you.” One day, I will be the best writer you’ve ever read, and everyone will have to sit up and take notice.

So what is this post really about?

Yesterday, I felt defeated. Again. I found a different doctor, one I had hoped would be the answer to my ailments or at least the beginning of them. It’s a holistic practice, and the hope was that maybe, perhaps they would listen. I wanted an appointment with the Doctor, but they told me I had to go through the nurse practitioner for the first appointment. That’s fine, and I set one up. The nurse practitioner did not listen to me at all. I was even nice enough to write out a list of my symptoms when they started, and the severity, all to make the appointment go quicker and I thought to save her time. Time is precious after all. Most of the doctors I’ve been too, appreciate it. It saves them the time of having to ask me a bunch of questions. She didn’t even read it. She ordered a bunch of tests, which I expected, a few of which were not covered by my insurance which is also fine used to that as well.

It’s what happened after my appointment that has me defeated because it was how I was treated. After we talked about my career and what I do, after I told her about writing for Huffington Post, and novels, and pursuing my M.F.A. She tells me about the tests and that they’re expensive and insurance won’t cover them. I say, “Okay, how much are they?” She says, “Seventy-five dollars.” I say, “That’s perfectly fine get me the kit.” The nurse comes in with the kit and explains that the nurse practitioner wants to do another test it’s almost three hundred. I say, “fine get me that kit too.” Then she proceeds to repeat the price a couple more times, like I didn’t understand the cost and to also explain to me that I shouldn’t take the kit if I’m not going to do the test. I assure them that I have every intention of doing the tests and that the price is of little consequence to me. What I wanted to say was, “My husband makes at least five times your salary do you think I’m sweatin’ a three hundred dollars test, I have purses that cost more than that.” But I didn’t. I just sat there and let them harp on about the test cost. Then I sat in my car and cried because I know they aren’t going to treat me there. I’ve been through this before.

This morning, when I was up at 4 am because, insomnia. I thought about the Black community and how I read somewhere that most Black people don’t go to doctors. The media would have you believe that it’s out of fear, but I doubt that’s true. It’s because we don’t want to be treated like we don’t matter. We come to doctors when we’re sick when we’re at our lowest point, and the very least is the expectation that I’m going to be treated with some compassion, I’m a human being that’s in pain, and I shouldn’t have to be Oprah to get some respect. I shouldn’t have to be mega rich to have your undivided attention. But as I sat there in the waiting room and watched as my White counterparts got treated to bottled water while I sat there thirsty, I can’t help but think, will I be denied healthcare too on top of everything else? I’m paying for my insurance, and yet, I’m not worthy of treatment. The thought of that makes me sad, it makes me feel defeated, and I must wonder, what’s the point?