Recharging My Battery

Submitted on Aug 12, 2018 by  MzGee1966


Have you ever been so tired that it was hard to put one foot in front of the other?

Have you ever been so tired that all you wanted to do is sit quietly and not have to deal with anything?

Have you ever contemplated walking away from the HIV arena?

If you answered yes, you are not alone. In June of this year I was feeling all of those things. I was tired and couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I was thinking, I've been doing this work for 16 years and not too much has changed. At least that's how I saw it. I was feeling like my battery was on zero. This happens from time to time and I knew it, but this time felt different. I was testy, sad, and physically tired. I put a post on social media using a curse word; everyone will tell you I try not to curse on social media. I felt so guilty for feeling like this. I asked myself, what's really going on? Needing some me time is understandable, this felt bigger.

I've been here before, just not at this level. In 2012 right before I graduated with my Masters in Social Work, I was feeling burned out. Even during that time I didn't think about leaving the HIV arena, I just got a job doing something different in HIV. I knew I was still needed in the field. I felt a little guilty for feeling that way back then too.

It took a moment for me to realize this was different from burn out; this felt like my battery was depleted. I felt empty and no amount of rest seemed to recharge my battery. I tried talking to my therapist about this feeling, but I found myself not being able to fully describe what I was feeling. I just knew it felt strange.

I was afforded the opportunity to attend AIDS2018 in Amsterdam. My initial thought when I was presented with the offer was I'd go to the conference, fulfill my obligations and be done with it. As time progressed to me leaving I started to get excited. I knew I'd see my Comrades from the African continent, get to love on my sisters of Transgender experience, and partake in one or five protests.

On the afternoon of July 18th I embarked on this trip of a lifetime. It was exactly what I needed. I was able to learn new information and new programs (DREAMS). I met so many new advocates. I walked everyday (it felt so good), ate fries with different dipping sauces, got honest with myself, and made sure I watched out for the bike riders (y'all don't understand how serious they are on their bikes).

It was during this time that I felt my battery recharging. I began thinking about the things I could bring to the table, like making sure Young WLHIV would get similar opportunities. It would be so impactful to have our young women and young women from the Continent of Africa, to learn from each other. I was able to bounce ideas off of other people and presented with my amazing sisters Tiommi and Dawn. Every day I could feel my battery recharging more and more, and then it hit me. A person doing amazing things recharges my battery and there were a lot of amazing things happening in Amsterdam.

All of this felt like self-care to me even though I did not do any of the things I tend to do for self-care. I didn't light any candles, soak in a hot tub, binge watch Chopped, or cook a pot of Gumbo. I allowed myself to explore the city. I even went to the Red Light District, I was not impressed…lol…reminded me of the French Quarters here in New Orleans. I felt so alive in Amsterdam and before I left my battery was fully recharged.

It's really important that I stay in tune with my body; mentally, physically, and spiritually. I know now if my battery is ever depleted, I will place myself in spaces that allow me to recharge my battery!

Submitted by Lovinglife101

Every time I see your smiling face, every time I hear you share, you recharge my batteries and for that I am grateful.  Thank you for giving yourself so generously to others.  Love you my sister.

Vickie L.

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