It’s fine. I’m fine.

Last week was a doozy for me. My pressure has been elevated for days. A situation in my workplace rocked me. I spoke with a few other friends and they shared similar sentiment. We were also saddened to learn of a loss by suicide for a local middle schooler. It made me reflect upon how much we individually carry and the load of burdens we mask without so much as whispering a cry for help, a cry to be seen, a cry to be heard. As I sat in the nail shop Friday, attempting to infuse a bit of self care and relaxation to combat my week, I noticed a sticker on one of the lamps. It read, “It’s fine. I’m fine.” Yet how often have we heard this or dare even uttered such words, knowing full well that we are spewing a lie? On many days, that is my response. I don’t wish to add to what others are barely managing. However, this week was the exception. Several days, without anyone’s prompting I said, “I am not okay with “this.” To another I simply said, “Pray for me.” And to someone else, we laughed and sang, “Knuck if you buck.” Through it all, it was good for me to release and ask for what I needed in the moment. In my vulnerability, I was affirmed to not dismiss my internal mental acrobats that typically invalidate what I face as a consequence of the intersection of my womanhood and Blackness. I wouldn’t trade my identities for anything. As the saying goes, “I love the skin I’m in,” and concurrently, I can detest the treatment of our pain for a very long history of dismissing what hurts, questions and antagonizes our ability to just show up.

I am reminded of 1 John 3:13 which reads, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” This passage continues and refers to believers who’ve accepted the call to follow Christ. I would suggest the hate amplifies if you are a believer and a Black woman. Not Bible, but in 1964 Malcolm X said, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” During my week as a result of what I was navigating, I experienced Brother Malcolm’s expression. But wait, just a few verses earlier in 1 John 3, we were admonished to love one another. It’s hard in these streets to love what is unkind to you, which brings me back to “It’s fine. I’m fine.” We have no idea the extent to which someone awakes to disrupt someone else’s world; how out of the way they go to study your actions so that they may dismantle you for what they perceive as their right. Because we truly do not know what is happening to someone in the physical, coupled with the lies and tricks the enemy throws in their mental cavity, we must assume intentional steps to “unpack the fine.” I am not suggesting that we go around acting as though we are licensed professional therapists; to be sure they are trained with knowledge and competencies that surpass our inquiries, but we never know what we may disrupt in the space between the enemy’s toils and their clinical appointment – if at all.

And you know, we might not be fine, but we can be “not fine” in community with one another. I can hold your hand as you hold mine. I can hold space with you in silence, in chatter, walking, brunching or tearful embraces. I need you here. I need you to walk out what God has called you to do. Sometimes we have to move broken, limping, crawling and even incrementally, but God desires us to get “there” and we don’t have to do it alone. In the beginning, God was intentional about man not being alone. So in partnership with one another it can be fine and we can be fine – in the most authentic way. Genesis 31:49 reads, “The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” May the Lord keep you in times of fine and in times of fake fine, but may you be compelled to check on me as I check on you, and may we both be honest so that we can get what we need. May we not succumb to the lies of the enemy who would have us to believe that no one cares and no one has time. We can make time for you to be here to be better than fine. Check in and let me know how you really are.