It was a couple months ago that I realized my complete and utter dependency on my group chats with my friends to get me through my days.
I woke up in the middle of the night, staring into the dark, eerily greeted by anxiety. I tossed and turned, got up, grabbed some cold water. Laid back down, prayed, “Heavenly Father, rest my mind.”
I tried counting backwards, reciting some affirmations, but it was useless–my mind had already wrapped itself around a twisted thought and my eyes wouldn’t shut
I reached for my phone on my dresser and sent out a 3:00am text to my girls, “Anyone up?”
It didn’t take long for my phone to light up and bing back. Someone was up. Someone was here. I’m not alone.
With our busy professional lives, my ability to have full on conversations with my besties has dwindled substantially. We laugh at the days where we had the energy to talk for hours on the phone like they were something of adolescent fantasy. Now as super adults, we’ve grown exhausted from the fluorescent glow of open office settings and mass transit smells and “always on” smiles, so we come home, take off the day and hoard ourselves up in sweet silence.
Except in group chat. There’s usually a whole party going on in there from the solitude of my room.
Our constant meme swapping is a much needed mental break from this life. Like, seriously, where were we before memes? The well-timed simplicity of their comedy snaps us out of our heads and into something funny–if only for a moment. And nobody memes better than Black people. Perhaps the emotional weight of our lives makes the victory of Black comedy that much sweeter. Black people are hurting right now while simultaneously being hilarious af.
And when we aren’t memeing, we are praying. Or suggesting a new podcast to listen to or a new book or movie to read. We talk through the absurdity of the latest headlines and come up with new nicknames for #45. We get to work through the emotional toll of seeing black men and women constantly killed at the hands of police with understanding. We are also given room to mentally tap out and dive into the latest fabricated reality tv plot line with no judgement.
We are sharing “what our man did” and “what he didn’t do” and coming up with military-level strategies for how to pull a b*tch up out of that mess. We’re sending outfit photos and new hair ideas, because the crew’s approval is a must, and asking if this IG photo is a good one to post.
And while I recognize talking to my girls in my group chat isn’t a replacement for professional therapy, it sure as hell keeps the demons at bay until I can make time for an office visit.
Something as simple as a simple “I understand” or “I’ve been here” from one of my sisters is enough to pierce the bubble of isolation.
Because feeling alone, unseen, unheld, untouched and devalued is the cross many Black 20/30 somethings carry in silence. And with few safe spaces to be completely unarmed in this world, our digital chats provide that solace.
Our group chats are lit. And I mean that in terms of the excitement and laughter they rouse up in us, and the literal light and comfort they bring at a moments notice.
Thank you all, for always listening.