What do I write about when I’m too tired to think? And is it a waste of time for me to even try to write tonight? Let’s look to history for the answers.
In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer gave a speech about her challenges as a black woman “existing” in the Jim Crow South and how she was beaten relentlessly for trying to register to vote. She told the audience that she was ”sick and tired of being sick and tired.” So did she give up the fight for equal rights and the fight for African-Americans to vote? Hell naw. She forged ahead, sick and tired as hell, and fought for social justice until she succumbed to breast cancer in 1977.
64-year-old Diana Nyad was the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida. That’s 53 hours and 110 miles – without a freaking shark cage. It was her 5th attempt at this feat. The 5th. She endured sharks, life-threatening jellyfish stings, severe dehydration, massive sunburns, chronic seasickness, delirious fatigue, and hundreds of naysayers who told her to give up trying. They told her it was crazy. They told her that she was too old. They told her it was impossible. Did she stop trying? Nope. She pulled a Dory (from Finding Nemo) and told herself to “just keep swimming.” Then, on September 2, 2013, she strolled out of the water, exhausted and successful.
I don’t remind myself of these things to beat myself up or feel guilt. I do so to remind myself of the willing spirit. When the flesh is weak, sometimes, I need to call on my fierce spirit to pull me through, even if it’s only to produce 295 words. That’s 295 words of power. That’s another essay done. Tired and all.