Empress & Her Spectacle: Burnout or Turnout
I keep having surreal experiences at my current job, I say current because in all truth I’m pretty sure that I want to be in an environment that supports mental health and doesn’t drive me to tears at the end of each workday. While conversing with my best friend, and co-host on Ambiguous Anthology she told me about the BuzzFeed article that named millennials “Burnout Generation.” Now I had the chance to read it, but there was a subsequent article that further hit home the idea. Follow up on the article “This is what Black Burnout feels like.”
I work under the assumption that I’m not good enough, and if I don’t do more, I won’t get anywhere in life. It’s a nagging feeling that I’m failing at where I am supposed to be in life. What does 24 on the cusp of 25 looks like for a Black Femme with an unused bachelors look like? For now, it means working 8 am to 5 pm questioning the use of my time if it is as they say significantly undervalued. Walking into a place day in and day out only to be greeted with the energy “you’re not enough” drains everything I have. More often than not, I’m working through lunch breaks because I feel like I need to compensate since I’m an administrative assistant who doesn’t drive or have a car. The pinnacle of overworking is it takes a toll on your physical health.
For however long ago in early 2018, my damn wisdom tooth chipped. Sure, I had mouth pains that made me want to slam my face in my desk, but I kept working. Forgetting that I needed the energy and time to take care of myself. I finally went to the dentist, because the pain was too much. I sucked up my fear and found out I’ve had an exposed nerve this whole time. When my dentist listed out all the possible pains I would experience being in that state I felt like I was going through a tinder checklist. Seeing my tooth in real time further hit home, I had pushed myself too far with no care. Sacrificing me, for an hourly wage. Living like this is normal for me. It’s what I witnessed growing up under the care of a single mother who didn’t have the support she needed.
I think to myself this is what living should be. How do I break this mentality? Working myself till my human parts don’t work no more is robotic and scary. I’m more than a capitalism machine trying to survive. When does life become fulfilling instead of draining? Reading about what Black Burnout looks like reminded me that there hasn’t been an end to our burnout as a community yet. We’ve been in the thick of financial stress, educational woes, and surviving the aftermath of generational trauma. I just can’t believe I finally saw an article putting to words a feeling I’ve had for a decade now just now in 2019.
Have you ever felt this way?