Fighting the good fight is exhausting. Being on the right side of justice isn’t enough to achieve justice. I have to work twice as hard then fight those who disagree with my definition of justice. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a minority woman fighting this fight.
When I was 9 years old, my mother explained the “consequences” of being a minority women in America. Although my mother immigrated to the United States from India in the early 90s, she faced a lot of discrimination. Honestly, I was terrified when my mother told me all the hardship and struggle I will face. It made me question why my parents left India. Then, I thought: I would probably face a different set of struggles in India. Since my mother told me this, I’ve always felt like an outsider. I didn’t know how to feel when pledging alliance to the US Flag; I didn’t know how to answer questions about my nationality; I didn’t know how to explain to others that I don’t celebrate Christmas; and, I didn’t know how to navigate in this world.
I chose a field that I love, but it doesn’t love me back. Here is what I mean: I know I am good at my job, but I don’t see people who look like me in it. That doesn’t mean I stop loving the job, it simply means that I feel un-welcomed. Sure, you can say that times have changed. Jim Crow is abolished and the Internet allows us to learn more about other cultures. But, have these actually fixed any problems?
Minorities often deal with daily microaggressions. Although I have my mechanisms to help me cope, they still bog me down. I have to make the time to deal with it and to mentally fight their effects away. Plus, I have to do all of that while doing my job. It’s an added task on my never-ending to do list.
It’s funny that people expect me to accept this treatment. To be clear, I didn’t chose to be a minority. It’s not like I was in my mother’s womb going: I want to be a five foot tall, brown skinned Indian woman, with a high pitch voice and big front teeth. I didn’t chose a harder lifestyle. Instead, society and history determined my lifestyle before I was even conceived.
With all these thoughts and experiences, I find myself constantly anxious, sad, and stressed. But, more importantly, I am exhausted all the time. And, I know I will be exhausted all the time because I have to continuously deal with the consequences of being a minority woman.
So, “simple decisions” like where to live and who to complain to aren’t simple at all. At least I get to constantly remind myself about my strength, resilience, and capabilities. With these characteristics, I can fight for others and their rights. But, fighting can be exhausting. Although, I’m fighting the good fight, I find myself constantly tired.
Therefore, I’m always exhausted. Whether it’s dealing with the unasked consequences of my gender and race or certain aspects of job, I’m always exhausted.