On Monday, I sat down at my desk and got out a blank piece of paper. I had been procrastinating writing an article, but it was my day to publish one on here so I couldn't wait any longer.
I stared at the paper, trying to think about what I could write. After a few moments, ideas began pouring into my mind: I could write about positive and negative coping methods, an early Father's Day post, a part two of how the coronavirus has changed how we all grieve. No matter how many ideas I thought of, however, I was unable to put anything on the paper. I just stared at the blank page, doing nothing.
After about 20 minutes of thinking of more ideas, daydreaming, and still writing nothing, I put my paper aside and realized that I just wasn't going to be able to publish something that day. Normally, I wouldn't have thought anything of this. Whenever I feel burnt out and unmotivated I try to take time to myself and take a little break, so I don't write a bad article just so I can say that I published one that day. Except, this wasn't the first time I did this. I had been doing it for a few weeks now, and had been publishing one, sometimes two, articles a week instead of two to three.
It didn't make a lot of sense why I wasn't able to produce as much content as I had been previously. I was a lot less busy than I had been even just a month before, and I was able to come up with lots of ideas when I sat down to work. The lack of motivation I was having reminded me of after my dad's death, when I just couldn't make myself work. But, my dad had been gone for awhile, the anniversary of his death wasn't near, and there was nothing big coming up involving his death. Yes, there were days that I did get extra upset about his death, but it didn't normally last this long. Why was I randomly feeling this way?
A few days passed before I identified the source of my problem. I found it out when I was sitting with my mom while she was reading the news. We sat in silence for a few minutes, both doing our own thing, when she started telling me what she was reading about the protests for George Floyd's death and Black Lives Matter. As she told me about the horrible things happening, I began to feel more and more sick. It is 2020 and people are still judged and discriminated against based on the color their skin. How can anyone think that is okay?
I realized around then why I've been having a hard time writing. Like after my dad's death, the world is so overwhelming right now. Then, it was because I had to deal with my grief and normal teenager things, but now it's because of the injustices people of color face daily.
Normally, I try to stay away from politics on this website. I believe that all teenagers, no matter what political party they identify with or beliefs they have, deserve to have a website where they feel safe and understood. Equality should not be political, but it is. More than I believe that I should stay away from politics on here, I believe that black lives matter. Everyone should be equal, no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, or anything else they are.
If you are feeling upset right now, let that anger and sadness inspire you to do something. If you are under 18, talk to your parents about what you can do to help the black lives matter movement. If you are above 18, please sign petitions, go to protests if you are able to safely, vote, and use your voice for change. No matter what color your skin is, help fight against discrimination and for equality. Your voice is important, and can inspire change.
That said, also know that it's okay to take a break from the news and social media right now. Yes, we need people fighting for change right now, but you can't fight if you're exhausted. Take time to yourself, get off of your phone, and make sure that you're okay. If this is triggering your grief, take care of yourself. It's okay to have bad days.
I apologize for the lack of content recently on Teenage Grief Sucks, and I am working on writing more and creating a more consistent schedule. Thank you to everyone who is fighting for black lives matter and for justice for George Floyd, and if you are protesting, please stay safe. While the world seems to be so bad right now, please remember that there are good things too. If we all keep fighting, things can get better, and the world can change.
If there is anything that I should add to this post, please leave a comment or Tweet me @teengriefsucks. If I offended anyone by anything said here, please let me know so I can make a change. I apologize if I did.
Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Photo by The New York Public Library.