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Heat Rain

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

I have a love/hate relationship with summer in the South. I always set high goals that are not achievable; I sweat all day and everyday, and find myself stuck inside at the hottest part of the day because of the rain.

From my southern upbringing, I have always called that part of the day “heat rain”, but after talking to my parents today, the bewilderment on their faces makes it unknown as to where I could have gotten that from. In asking others, some call it: gully washer, squall, summer rain, heat storm, afternoon showers, the best time to take a nap and that bullshit (especially when you’re caught in it). Basically this summer has been days and days of heat rain— moments that have been too much heat to bear that all I want to do is sit by a window, cry with the rainfall, sync my heat beat with the thunder, and even take a long nap.

 
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Odie the Cat sleeping on a porch in front of a sign that reads “Welcome to the Pope’s” as he awaits the incoming rain storm.


 

To enter into a positive note, and give some personal updates to you all, I am officially moving to Columbia, SC— you know, South Carolina through and through. Colleen, my partner, myself and our cat Odie are sinking our feet into the midlands and planning to be landlocked for a solid two years. She’s taking a bite out of grad school and I’m excited to be alongside her during her journey. Colleen is a first generation college student, I am happy for the radical decision she is making to work towards a career in higher education (student affairs). As thrilled as I am for her, I think this summer has been the first time I have hit my post-grad lull.

Finding a job is beyond hard, frustrating, and difficult!

So, this summer since our road trip to Maine, I have spent most of my days sitting on the computer (or my phone) scrolling through Indeed, LinkedIn, and any other place I can think to look for a job in our new city we’re calling home. It’s really hard, mostly because I want to be invested in something that is meaningful to me. We are in a new city where we only know four or five people, most of whom I am related to. To be honest, I’m picky and want a work environment where I can be my full self and not have to wear the traditional hetero/cis mask(ulinity).

So the search continues, and when I come across the perfect job, I realize it’s based in New York, Oakland, or Washington, D.C. After that I go into this deep rabbit hole about the lack of funding for LGBTQ and pro-Black non profits and organizations in the South. At this point, my coffee is either finished or lukewarm, and I start questioning if it’s acceptable to have a mimosa on a weekday or if I should settle on a beer. Then the cycle repeats, more coffee, more searching, some scrolling, and more internal (and external) fuming; except the second or third time it’s followed by distant thunder and I know what is coming next.

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|HEAT RAIN|GULLY WASHER|SQUALL|SUMMER RAIN|NAP TIME| .THAT BULLSHIT.

During these moments, I ask myself the same question everyday. How do we untie our self worth and value from capitalism and capitalistic efforts?

I couldn’t seem to come to my own conclusion to this answer, so I asked my best friend and comrade who told me:

“By bringing your self worth back to yourself. When you let capitalism dictate your importance, you never achieve anything… capitalism is competitive and the finish line is always moving so you end up trying harder and sacrificing more.”

After that exchange, I still had no idea what she meant. The work grind continued, just as it had everyday I since returned home from Charleston. I was devastated by all of the rejection I had gotten thus far this summer and was so close to giving in and giving up. One day mother asked me if I could move one of her plants inside. It was pouring, but I obliged and walked outside. After only being outside for a second, I came into the house soaking from head to toe.

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Then it hit me.

Yes, I am unemployed and living with my parents this summer, where I sleep in my childhood bedroom that contains all the ever present memories of being socialized as female. Yes, I am misgendered when extended and immediate family members are around (practically every day). Yes, I keep getting email after email about how there are other candidates who are better suited for a job. No, I’m not okay, but that’s okay.

I finally understand the answer to the question I posed to my friend about my self worth.

My self worth is rooted in bringing the plants inside and getting myself soaking wet. It’s immersed in spending time with my family after being away for years. It’s anchored in my mom’s joy that this is the longest visit I’ve had in six years. It comes from my nieces who know they can call me for a play date anytime they need me and I’m less than ten minutes away. It’s rooted in seeing my siblings and I build and grow our relationship with each other and their contentment of me being in the same city as most of them are.

Knowing that I love myself and that I have family, my lover, and my friends who love and support me, gives me so much hope that something will come along. I’m utterly okay in not being okay, in hearing and reading “After assessing all of our applicants’ qualifications and credentials, another candidate was selected for the position.” every other week and only having 6 dollars in my bank account.

Because whatever we do in life, whatever we feel, what ever we sense, know that our self worth is so much more than the normative structures in our capitalistic society. We are rich in so much more than what our bank statements, piggy banks, money drawers and random employers and job recruiters tell us. Through all the overdrafts, email updates, and concerns raised, shit will make sense soon.

It’s a matter of letting the summer rain do it’s course, cool us down, soak us to the bone, and give us time to reflect, cry, cheer, or nap.

If we don’t let this rain storm do its course and succumb to devastation and anxiety, then that is Southern Harm.

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