Photo by Wellington Sanipe on Unsplash

The not so quiet part of living

Jeffrey Rousseau
3 min readMay 30, 2023


When I visit a doctor, one of the questions they ask is my favorite; “Do you have anxiety?”

I always laugh because I understand the purpose of that question for care providers is to determine suggestions for mental health. But for the split second of silence, I think about how useless that question is. Because I’m Black and I live life in the US.

Do I have anxiety? Well, I don’t know. Let’s run down the list. Society hates my comrades, family, friends, and kids, and it damn sure still hates me. So…yes, no, maybe?

Now I have time in therapy to barely make sense of what doesn’t make sense. But once again, I’ll try to give words to it.

Some (most) days, more so than others, feel like a constant test. Can I get angry at everything before I clock into work about some real shit? The answer is most often a resounding yes. It’s a personal choice to acknowledge it. Or compartmentalize it enough to be able to get out of bed.

Guess this is the part where I cue a song that kind of speaks to some of these feelings :Dreamer Isioma — Fuck Tha World from the Princess Forever album.

So when I get “do you have anxiety” I close my eyes and think about my state and life for my peoples out here:

Rolling back birthing people’s options
Anti LGBTQ+ rights
Book bans
White-washed Black History in public schools
Migration crackdowns
Open carry

Oh, and did I mention a bill passed that blocks public college DEI programs from using state and federal funding? You know, just more code for, we don’t like you, coloreds, over here. No state is a “utopia” for marginalized communities. But it’s another thing when elected officials slide the state further into being a beacon for fascism.

Keep in mind; I haven’t even brought up those not-so-little reminders of life. — Jordan Neely, Tortuguita, and a mass shooting yesterday, that wasn’t even 30 minutes away from where I live.

These are the things that remind me that life isn’t some pretty little picture. The kind that will remind us how society operates. Now, keep in mind I do stay stuck in a new cycle. Reality just reminds you what it is. So yeah, I could be minding my Black as business and then…well things — some of the sources of my anxiety.

Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

The funny thing about living is that there are things outta your control. You can live as best you can, and I’m trying certainly — I love museum crawls, local music festivals, and small cafes with my books. But some of my hobbies and hanging out with my people won’t stop me from thinking about bigger things — Active therapy and keeping my head on a swivel does help though!

The truth is my anxieties fall along: people need more power. So I have to think about how I can help my community. What can I do? What can I contribute in my way locally? Because a lot of shit is unjust and at the whims of the powerful.

Then my few seconds of thoughts are over, and I say, “Nah, doc, I’m good; I don’t have anxiety.”

That question stinks by the way.



Jeffrey Rousseau

I bat for PoCs, marginalized, equality, inclusion & geekdom. I'm warming the bench until coach subs me in.