Do you know 2 in 5 adults in the US have experienced anxiety and mental health disorders in this pandemic? Of this, 36% of people have difficulty sleeping? 32% have difficulty eating?
Too much, too little.
Do you know I only gained 12 lbs my entire pregnancy? Do you know I've lost 34 since giving birth? Doctors say the average woman gains 30 pounds during her first pregnancy. Doctors don’t know shit.
And your “you look great” doesn’t make me feel much better.
It took me 42 hours to birth my daughter. Do you know I cried for at least 20 of the remaining 72 hours we stayed in the hospital after her birth? 30% of the happiest moment of my life was spent sobbing. I think I slept at least 8 of them.
Do you know I’ve lost 2 family members during this pandemic?
Do you know I’ve lost 6 friends?
The Washington Post says 1 in 4 adults have struggled with suicidal thoughts since the pandemic began. I’m fortunate I haven’t been one of them.
I know you knew none of this and I don’t expect you to, but I do expect you to care enough about yourself that you care about me - or even pretend to listen after you ask how I am doing. I have had one-night stands that have cared more to ask how I felt after they fucked me over.
Babe, let’s do some math.
I am your lover. That’s two of us now.
I am your sister. That’s 3.
I am your neighbor. 4.
I am your father. That’s 5.
Which two of us are the unhappy ones? Which one of us is not worried about bridges being burned but rather which bridge to jump off of? Do you have courage to do that math?
I’m sure you don’t, but listen, I’ve been really brave with my math out of necessity. I’ve learned what $500 a month for groceries living in a single mom household meant at an earlier age. I learned we couldn’t afford mistakes.
I know the price of my college tuition was worth leaving the ghetto. I know that having a 6-letter white name does more on my resume than the name of my father.
And I know all of my life I’ve been fighting not to be a statistic.
I will not become a statistic.
Bree Bailey (she/her) is a NYC full-blown bibliophile. Her poems reflect on growing up, falling in/out of love, and family. Bree is great at air drums and decent at poetry. Bree’s poems are forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic, and All My Relations, among others.
Find her on Twitter at @thebreebailey