Ma'am

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Today I’m not looking so great. In fact I look how I never thought I could look…worn down, like I’ve given up on life. I felt it as I struggled to find comfortable halfway decent clothing I could pull over these 25 extra lbs of depression weight, complete with the bloated hormone-induced tummy I’m carrying this week as an accessory. I finally settled on anything knit that wouldn’t squeeze me too tight just so I could make my Target run.

I knew it for certain when a wonderfully sweet caucasian sister with a baby strapped to her back called me ma’am while I was in Target. (I don’t get ma'am-ed a whole lot by grown women.) I was a little taken aback given that she looked to be about 35 years old. But then I thought about it as I walked away. The way I’m looking and feeling right now, I’d probably call myself ma’am.

I usually don’t look-or feel- like I do today…like I have been lately. For the last few weeks I’ve kept my hair twisted up in what I’ve come to affectionately call my ‘slave braid.’ It’s named so because it means I’m too busy slaving at church or at home to care for my curly fro. My uniform of choice as of late has been whatever fitted knit pants (a small step up from leggings) I can put my hands on, a shirt long enough to cover my *$$, and a blazer or jacket of some sort to look like I tried. I haven’t even bothered with makeup except on Sundays and I can’t even tell you where my earrings are. Anyone who knows me knows that ain’t me!

I recognize I am not myself. This hasn’t been me since the days when I was stuck in the house writing from sunup to sundown trying to finish my dissertation. This isn’t who I want to be, but I can’t seem to get off the roller coaster that leaves me feeling relegated to being her. I’m keeping up with meetings, ministry assignments, phone calls, texts, emails, smoke signals, pigeon carriers, and everything you can name under the sun required to serve God’s people and fulfill my senior pastor’s vision. This in addition to keeping up with dishes, laundry, cleaning schedules, household bills, income taxes, quality time, being an active listener, and having the right spirit (translation: not having a pissy attitude) so I can keep the peace at home. And it’s not being busy; it’s feeling that what I give isn’t good enough. But this is what I have to do to keep the balls in the air and everybody happy right?

I feel privileged to be actively engaged in meaningful ministry. Three short years ago I wasn’t. I feel privileged to live the lifestyle I do (complete with the power couple false narrative). I know women who would love to take my place. But if I can be real, all of this “privilege” is exhausting me. I’m exerting so much effort trying to show all interested parties (including God) I’m grateful, that I’m not showing that same love to my own self. The irony is that those on the receiving end of my efforts don’t feel I’m doing enough. Meanwhile pieces of me (the book I want to write, my ministry outside of my church home, preaching opportunities, travel, social life, etc.) have fallen by the wayside and I don’t know how to recover any of it.

A change…a shift…a reordering of some sort is in order. I just don’t know what that is or how to get there.