“What if school, as we used it on a daily basis, signaled not the name of a process or institution through which we could be indoctrinated, not a structure through which social capital was grasped and policed, but something more organic, like a scale of care. What if school was the scale at which we could care for each other and move together. In my view, at this moment in history, that is really what we need to learn most urgently.”
–Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals
I don’t want to work. That is not my job or my purpose. It never was. My purpose here, on Earth, was never and will never be to work for them. To ask that of me is a blasphemous ask. Why should I devote my earthly time to stressing my body my boundaries for them? What have they done for us? What do I get out of this transactional relationship? Will money heal me?
Money is just imaginary numbers and plastic cards. As imaginary as I am to the white man. Zeroes and ones. Rules I had no say in. That’s no reason to stress. To work myself to the bone. That is no reason to push my body past limits it should never know. It is not natural for me to work for you this way. Not natural at all. Nature says I should eat and sleep. Lay up in the sun until I’m tired or need my next meal. Nature doesn’t say clock in at my 9 to 5. Mother had better plans for me than that. To work is not why I came to planet Earth. I didn’t come to earth to buy stock, collect a paycheck, and hustle. That’s not why I’m here. To devote any more time to working would be a crime against nature. A crime against myself. A crime against you. So, I’ve decided I won’t work. I can’t. I don’t want to. That’s not why I’m here and I know it.
In 5th grade for career day, we were told to write down what we would like to be when we grow up. I wrote down, “not homeless”. In 7th grade, we were asked to research our dream job. I told them I’ve never dreamed of labor. I save my dreams for beautiful things. The labor of love, engulfing myself in leisure. I’m not lazy, I just know there is no room for a job in my programming. A job was never Mother’s plan. When I speak to her at night she hums jazz and lullabies. There is never any mention of work. I was not put here to work. That isn’t my purpose and it never was. I simply won’t do it anymore. I’m tired. I’m tired of working to earn numbers just to give them away. I’m tired of waking up to be owned by a faceless entity. I’m tired of being tired just to do it all again. I’m out of energy to utter “yes sir”. I’m out of energy to work overtime. I’m out of energy to grind and hustle so I can stop.
See that’s the trick. It never stops. Cyclical work in a world made for just that. I’m always watched. I’m always on. I’m always working and when I’m not they’re working me. So I’ve decided to divest. Take my share and leave. To quit. It’s not working for me and it never has. So I’ve decided not to work for it. Decided against work for you or anyone else for that matter. My body and my soul can’t take it anymore.
I have grown weak simply watching the struggles of those before me. Auntie working late, homies working the corner. Three jobs just to keep a roof over my head. Master is still master regardless of what you call it. Mother didn’t want this. Mother never said to work. Mother tells us every time we rest our eyes it is not right. That more never got us nowhere. Where is the love in more? There is no freedom at the bottom of the barrel. Or at the top when it’s filled with ads and algorithms. The barrel is lost. I feel lost. I know you feel it too.
There is no content, satisfaction, or truth in striving towards the impossible possible. The lie of the grind. I’m not a machine. I don’t want to be “human” either. I don’t want to love what I do because if it’s for them it can’t be right. In this system, it can’t be right. I’d rather go left. Support the girls and sleep.
Call out of work. Tell them you’re sick because you are. And money won’t ever heal you. Let Mother heal you in return for your love. Break the bands that keep you intact. Down with the clock. Down with time. Body should keep score not watches. Clock out at the sound of the bell. Quit. It’s time for me to quit denying the knowledge in the undead. Put scamming and Venmo to bed. I quit. I will not work or be worked. That’s not what I came here to do. I will not check my email and my grammar and my tone. I will let body decided when it is off and on. Turn them off. All the way down. When they talk tune them out. Listen to the star*s two*step. That’s where the truth is. That’s past the cash. Past the bands. Do you know your place in all the beauty in and around you? I do. And it’s not in a cubicle. Not in double-taps and endless scrolls. Not in my 4:30 am shift. So I quit. I will no longer work for anyone else but me and mine for me and mine. To sustain us. Not to get guap but take back time. Make up for what is wasted. Mother says tap out. Mother has been teaching me sleep is prolific technology.
I don’t care if I wake up late. I want to sleep in forever. I want to sleep in until I say otherwise. Let this earthly body do what earthly bodies do. Hibernate if I choose. Devote my body and time to my leisure, not their work. Give time to those around me out of love, not for paper. Learn to communicate beyond numbers and screens. Learn real truth. Isolation is one of his tools. Mother says share.
Put yourself in my shoes, bet your feet stink like struggle and strife. Like generations told there is such thing as a come-up. I don’t wanna be president I don’t wanna be a rapper. I want to exist. They don’t want me to do that. They want me back broke looking down. Paying my bills and buying more bags. Can I leave this realm if I spend enough? Drop enough cash and go? It may look otherwise, but the answer is no. Still boxed no windows, no sleep, no love. Paying off a debt that you don’t owe.
It’s time I get paid. Not in money, but in sleep. Let me and my people lay our heads down and close our eyes. Tell them to pay me in sleep. In the time that’s been wasted on pushing towards a false truth. Mother gave us truth when we got here. Listen to the sound of your eyes closing. Take on dream as reality as it is more real than anything at work. Make your own real in rest. Share it with your auntie and uncle. Shout it from the mountaintops. Put a beat behind it and sing. Sing of the beauty in sleep. Sing against work as I do in your tune. Quit.
I quit being on time. The only thing I want to be on time for is my funeral. The rest can wait until I’m ready and rested to give energy to those who need and deserve it around me. I will no longer pay to wake up to buy transit to work to buy transit to come back and feed myself and go to bed to do it all again. What is the point in that other than to sustain an unhappy life? Is that not what we are all doing? What we have to do so that they give us the tainted necessities we need to survive? Mother already gave us everything we need to not only survive but thrive. We just need to take it back. Take back the time we never chose to give up. Take back the job applications and scholarships. Say no to all of it. It won’t get us anywhere.
Watch me lose the binary. Break the code. Jump into my bag and out of theirs. Learn how the word “no” tastes on my tongue. “No, I can’t be at work today. No, I won’t work for you.” Sounds like freedom and sheets brushing against my leg. I can hear the bills and banks burn to ashes. Cupid shuffle my feet across false borders sharing love. Sharing love of the word no to you and yours. I’m here to spread news that the days of labor shall come to an end. The days of saying yes to it all are over. I’ve decided to let my body rest. I’ve decided to put myself first. I’ve decided to quit. I’ve decided to invest in the word “no”. Just as you should. No work. No job. No money. It all means nothing. You know it and I know it. I don’t want to work. That is not my job or my purpose. It never was. My purpose here, on Earth, was never and will never be to work for them. I would much rather sleep and finish dreaming.