A couple days ago, my wife forwarded me an article that was posted by a Facebook friend of my mother-in-law. (This is the same “friend” I mentioned at the beginning of my second blog, “The Flaming Divide: How the POTUS Perpetuated the Racial Conflict”). The article my wife sent me is titled “What I’m Doing to Get My Black Ass Ready for the Next 4 Years”, written by Ijeoma Oluo. Although you can read it yourself, I’m going to cover the gist of it for you.
First, as a writer, despite her anger at the election results, Oluo states, “I cannot just sit at my computer typing ‘fuck’ over and over again; there is work to do.” She then lays out the detailed list of her action plan and the things she will now do differently instead of living her life as she has been.
Her article has subheadings for eight different sections, and the first is: “I’m going to the doctor.” In this section, she explains that she is an overweight person with a chronic illness who always avoids going to the doctor. But now that her “safety net” of Obamacare is going away, she knows she cannot put off getting a check up anymore, just in case she loses her medical coverage. She also informs her readers that, should they be overweight, they can refuse to step on the scale at the doctor’s office and refuse to discuss weight with the doctor (after all, what business is it of a doctor to know a patient’s weight?).
Under “I’m meeting with my children’s schools”, she explains that she met with the administrators at her children’s school and has opened up the lines of communication with them to ensure her children felt safe and were empowered.
The next subheading is “I’m strengthening ties with my community of color”. Here Oluo explains how she is communicating more, in person and online, with her community of other people of color to strengthen her bonds.
Under “I’m reaffirming boundaries with allies”, she explains that she must encourage people who are looking to her for help to help themselves, to do their own research. She also says, “My altruistic reserves must go first to those less privileged than myself and that means I need firm boundaries in place with privileged allies.” Basically, she won’t let her allies overrun her with their needs.
Next, under “I’m identifying programs”, she states how she is finding out which programs can best help her, in case of need, as well as which programs she should support in the upcoming years.
In the sixth section, “I’m prioritizing my mental and physical health”, Oluo explains how she is starting up a fitness routine and is going to buy “real food” for her refrigerator. She is also going to work from her office rather than from her bed, and she will also restart her meditating routine.
For “I’m making lists”, she explains that lists (such as her article) are “empowerment on paper”, so she is making lists for everything in order to organize and prioritize her life.
Finally, “I’m seeking out positivity every day” is rather self-explanatory, but she explains how she will remain positive through “the rapid transformation of our government from a racist white boys club to a REALLY racist white boys club”. She also caringly shares her concern for poor Kanye West, because: “I’m for real worried about him you guys, let’s check on him, he’s still our people”, which is very thoughtful of her and definitely brings about positivity.
So, with a “We’ll get through this together”, she concludes her article.
Now, I would like to comment on her list of preparations for the Trump presidency and commend her on her personal life-improvement choices. First, it is fantastic that she has made an appointment with her doctor, especially since she has a chronic illness and is overweight, despite the fact that she avoids the doctor as much as possible. Avoiding the doctor with a condition like that is like putting electrical tape over the “check engine” light on your car so you don’t see it or think about it. I’m glad she is motivated to take action to safeguard herself medically now, which she did not do prior to the election.
Along the lines of going to the doctor is her vow to exercise and eat better, which will definitely improve her health and make her feel better, which may result in less of a need for her to have to see the doctor, which she doesn’t want to do anyway. As well as taking steps to improve her physical health, she is re-establishing her meditation routine for mental health improvement. All of this will increase her overall wellness. Even the simple change of her work location – from her bed to her office – will contribute to this self-improvement.
Not only is she going to focus on her personal wellness, but she is also opening up lines of communication that were not open (or at least as open) before and build relationships. Communicating with her children’s school is huge. Having taught for twenty years, I have seen how many parents know very little about what goes on with their kids at school. Very few parents communicate with the administrators and teachers, except at the end of the semester when they realize their kid has a 34% with only two days before grades are finalized, and they want to know what their kid can do to bring the grade up so she can still be eligible for cheer and so they won’t have to pay for summer school or online classes. But besides that, most know nothing of their kids at school, and surprisingly few return phone calls or respond to emails. Many don’t even have updated contact information in the school’s system, so we cannot get ahold of them, period. But good for Ms. Oluo for now actually communicating with her children’s school.
She is taking the same steps with her community as well – forming stronger bonds, helping others to be responsible for themselves, and dedicating herself to aiding those who cannot help themselves. With her lists, she is prioritizing and organizing her life, and she is seeking out those organizations that can help her in the future, should she need assistance. She is truly planning ahead now and establishing security. And, by writing about it, she is obviously encouraging her readers to do the same.
So good for her. These are some fantastic life changes. I just have a few questions.
Why was she not doing any of this before? Why did it take the “safety net” of Obamacare being in danger for her to get herself to the doctor, to start exercising, and to start eating better, especially considering her disclosed condition? Why did it take her children’s fear caused by the election results for her to communicate with their school? Why did it take an unwanted change of government for her to strengthen the bonds with those around her, to seek more positivity, and to get off her bed and organize and prioritize her life? Could it be that eight years of the Obama administration lulled her into her life of complacency?
There are people who make a living (many quite a good living) at helping people to improve their lives, as this author vows to do. They are called “life coaches”, and some charge hundreds of dollars per hour to provide the motivation for people to make positive lifestyle changes that will improve their lives. However, with the results of the election, Ms. Oluo was given this motivation without spending a dime.
So, if you think about it, along with real-estate tycoon, entertainment entrepreneur, and president elect, Donald Trump can now add “life coach” to his resume. And this service came without even a government-funded program.
Now if we can just get some help for poor Kanye.