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Our Southern City Cocoon

Can I present you with my truth? It is not popular, pretty, or peaceful...

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

I am blessed to have "survived" 2020, so many people did not, and so my heart is beyond grateful. It seems as if the days of quarantine are behind us & so I pray that the deaths, the illnesses, and the isolation are also coming to an end. After almost two years, I have traveled to see my grandma, family and have seen some of my closest friends. And it seems like the reunions are going to continue.

That said, the LARGE part of me that LOVED having my little family tucked into our little Southern city cocoon is a bit heavy. Mike said it best at a get-together this weekend, "Shelby would be happy with a bag of Sour Patches, a dark room, a rainstorm, and Law & Order." The only thing he missed was "with him and the boys resting an arm's length away."


Before COVID, Mike traveled every week - two to three days a week. I was in GA with only one other family member - that had to spend the weekdays in Alabama. I worked a job that required 50 hours a week - most of those days from my home office (aka a desk in my bedroom). My sweet baby would cry and play for hours in the middle of each night, leaving me little sleep. Depending on the day, I would grind or cry through it - but I quickly learned the painful lesson that most, if not all, black women realize (professionally), we are to be strong, consistent, and holders of others' pain. My ancestors' stories, history, and my elders taught me that early - we are to carry others' burdens, lighten their load - we are never to take or want. Black mamas are working mamas and to be anything else is to be a "burden" on society, a "burden" on our partners, or to "not be contributors" to society (i.e., take on the burdens/serve others). And so, I continued to surpass ALL goals in my job, I continued to "apologize" for moments of emotional "weakness," I went deeper into isolation, and I tried to smile and tell everyone (but my mama lol) that everything was okay.

That's when I took a Sabbatical.

And that's also when Shalom & Polepole was born.

I was beyond wearied and had to reassess my life's circumstance and flow - what worked for me in the past was no longer working. I had been practicing slowness, but with outside forces surrounding me - often, my pace was hurried, or slowness was such a form of resistance it was draining.

But even without work, I tried hard to prove my worth. "TRUST ME, WORLD, I AM NOT TAKING...I AM CONTRIBUTING."

That's when COVID hit. Mike no longer traveled, my boys had nowhere to go, and I no longer had anything to prove. Once a lifestyle of opposition became commonplace - most folks were moving slowly & savoring good moments. We were in a global crisis - the only focus was survival and loving on our people. Yes, there was hype in the beginning about all the things you can do, but as the days grew longer...folks stopped talking about the businesses, the weight loss, the hobbies, and the extras...

And so... things are opening up & Mike just mentioned his new travel schedule for the fall, I am officially working outside of the home, and my babies are in the activities once again...

The feelings of urgency, haste, proving oneself, and "contributing" are moving closer, and I am beginning to miss having my little family tucked into our little Southern city cocoon.




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Renee Yancey
Renee Yancey
Jul 22, 2021

Covid and the on going pandemic ( it ain’t over) but I am slowly moving into “ normal”. Vaxxed and still masked. ( inside stores and around groups of unknown people inside.) . who knows who is vaxxed and it’s a personal person so I respect that… my kid isnt vaxxed so we still mask.. I am ok with declining activities Sometimes but enjoy when I can visit and see fam and old friends. The rush to “ be out and about” has wained for us lol…. Covid made us all slow… lol and I kinda hope the rat race and run around Doesn’t come back

Aug 03, 2021
Replying to

I do too!!! Yes and with the variants - it’s so important to be vigilant. ☀️

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