History is a funny thing. It’s behind us by definition, but it also never leaves us, even when we willfully shy away from it. And there are times you can feel the weight of centuries taking up space, intruding on the present, a physical force that quickens your heartbeat and cools the blood rushing beneath your skin.

A few years ago, I found myself in Washington DC for several months for work. I’d never spent much time in our nation’s capital, and I decided to make the most of it. That meant an aggressive schedule of museum visits and as…

Image Source

When I was in school, there was little I looked forward to less than the dreaded group project. Teenaged me operated beneath a relatively simple directive: get all schoolwork done and behind you so you can move on to the things you actually enjoy doing, like hanging out with friends or reading for pleasure. That’s not to say I wasn’t also a habitual procrastinator, but it helped that neglecting schoolwork wasn’t an option. The crackdown from my folks would have been swift and all encompassing if I brought home poor grades, so I chose to simply handle my business, even…

Image Source

The beauty part about working from home is that you never have to stop working!

Seriously. It. Never. Has. To. End.

Before we dig in, let’s set the table: I’m extremely privileged to have a job that allowed me to work from home, burrow into a cocoon of safety with the folks I love most, continue to pay my bills, and generally keep my head down while a pandemic raged outside my door. Believe me, I don’t take this for granted.

Now that I’ve put that out there, I can start on the rest.

I worked from home long before…

Image Source

Last week, I watched an angry white mob storm the heart of our nation’s capital in an attempt to subvert the will of millions of voters. These people came armed, not just with weapons, but with an innate sense of entitlement endowed by their skin color, a certainty swimming in their blood that they could livestream what they were doing with no fear of repercussion. I watched in horror and fury as the foundation of our fragile democracy trembled beneath thousands of angry footfalls, unsure if it would hold after the last four tumultuous years.

In the wake of this…

Image Source

What can I say about 2020 that hasn’t already been growled between gritted teeth by someone, somewhere on this planet? It’s certainly been a year that defies simplistic definitions. A time warp. A lengthy, shimmering interlude between one moment and the next. A dumpster fire. An extended period of forced, yet not altogether unpleasant calm. A struggle. A hazy, indeterminate dream state. A nightmare. Never ending. Lightning fast. Upheaval incarnate.

In other words, it’s been one hell of a year.

Living through a global pandemic wasn’t something I had on my Bingo card last New Year’s Eve, and the year…

Image Source

I’m pretty anxious about the upcoming election. That’s both the understatement of the century and an accurate description of my current state of being. I spend my day ping ponging between nausea-laced despair and regular despair — despair zero: all of the flavor without any of the pesky calories. If I’m awake, I’m worrying about a few hundred things at once, each one enormous, the cacophony beating along the inside of my skull.

And, yet, I still feel hopeful for some reason.

This is despite being a Black woman at this moment in America.

This is despite all evidence to…

Image Source

First, let’s set the table.

Yes, I am that person that interjects with white women whenever someone mentions that it’s been 100 years since women gained the ability to vote. And if I don’t interject, I’m definitely thinking it. That might cause some folks to roll their eyes, but that doesn’t make my clarification any less true. We can celebrate an achievement while also pointing out how that same achievement fell well short of enfranchising the diverse range of women that lived in America in 1920.

History is a funny thing, isn’t it? Especially in this country. Instead of learning…

Image Source

In 1776, a group of wealthy white men officially declared independence from a tyrannical monarchy. This collective of learned individuals stated boldly:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.

More than 200 years later, many of us are still waiting for the full realization of this cherished ideal, our ears straining to hear freedom ringing from sea to shining sea. The great American fairy tale — that we were all in chains…

Image Source

Words come easily for me. They always have. No matter what’s happening in my life, no matter how upset, furious, or forlorn I am, if I sit down in front of the computer or a sheet of blank paper, the words come. And there’s release in that flow of words, a siphoning off of pressure, of pent up emotion, that has comforted me since I was a young girl scribbling in my journal. This release of words makes gathering my thoughts possible. I can sharpen them into a point and then attack whatever’s ultimately upsetting me. Or I can turn…

Carly in her element. Lizards and squirrels beware.

A few days ago, I stood above my 14 year old rat terrier Carly as we waited on the veterinarian to come with the series of syringes that would end her life. While she looked up at me with absolute trust, completely oblivious to what was to come, I struggled to reconcile my love for her with the sense of deep betrayal I felt running parallel to that love, because I knew what was about to happen, and I had chosen it. She had no way of knowing why we’d left the house to take a short drive to the…

Tess Martin

I’m a writer, runner, functional introvert, and herder of cats. Find me at www.theundercoverintrovert.com or on Facebook @ theundercoverintrovert.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store