I am not the poster child for healthy coping right now.
What’s crazy is that I used to pride myself on all of the different things I’d do to cope — journal, go for a walk, sit by the beach. I’ve been doing all of those things, but nothing helps. All of that used to help with other things, but this is a whole new category and so I have to create a whole new set of coping skills. Honestly, am I coping? Not really, but I’m trying.
Communicating with friends who look like me and understand what I’m going through has been a big one. Even though it may not work, I’m still journaling, trying to process my thoughts and allowing myself to feel the emotions that I’m feeling. Telling myself that it’s OK to feel what I’m feeling and then just going from there.
To put words to it, I've been feeling this back and forth between depressed and angry, depressed and angry, depressed and angry. And that is not healthy at all, especially with the fight that we have going on. We have a long journey ahead of us and it's going to create burnout. If we aren’t careful, it's going to create all of these different things that aren't going to help me or us in the long run. But that’s the best way to explain how I’m feeling, intermittently depressed and angry.
And then of course, the fear. The fear that I have about bringing Black children into this world. I have always wanted kids. Everyone close to me knows that I want babies and I want lots of them, but recent events got me to the point where I started crying about it. I can't bring children into this world if it's still like this.
It’s inhumane, it’s not fair. I remember those conversations that my parents had with me when we first moved to Long Island, when I first got my license, when I first started hanging out with groups of white people. I remember all of those conversations, and I don’t want to put my kids through that. They don’t deserve that kind of fear. Obviously, regardless of the future, there are going to be conversations about how they are different and stuff like that. That’s just reality, but that fear that they shouldn’t be feeling? It’s not right.
They deserve to be kids more than anything. Not fearing for their lives because they’re Black. If the one thing that I get to decide is whether or not to bring kids into this world, I won’t do it if the country doesn’t change.
Marsha Augustin, 23, is a medical student in Farmingdale, N.Y.