A Day On, Never A Day Off

Jose Vilson Jose

Some news: my manuscript is officially turned in. Outside of a few edits here and there, I’m confident that this draft is the draft and every draft from here on after will be the grammatical equivalent of shooing away really tiny fleas.

After the editing process proved to wring my deepest thoughts out like a sponge, I was asked by numerous people, including my editors and fiancée. My initial response was, “I’ll try.” I don’t know what days off are. In the back of my mind, I’m still nip-and-tucking my manuscript, writing and rewriting the piece. I was already working on the acknowledgments before I was prompted to do so, and asking my endorsers to write their hearts out about the best book they’ve ever read by a teacher who’s actually staying in the classroom.

On a day like today, I’m reminded that there’s no such thing as a day off, only days on. We might celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and life on Monday, but his life constantly reminds me that it’s harder to take a day off when days on mean so much. Every day I wake up, get ready for work, lesson plan, grade, teach, listen to kids, and hope to inspire, anyone really. Plus handle my responsibilities at home.

I don’t know what a day off actually is.

In no way do I think my work is comparable to King’s, either. He’s had many more sleepless nights, and fought for the rights I currently have. It goes back to standing on the shoulders of giants and knowing that, if men and women like him, Ella Baker, Sojourner Truth, Malcolm X, and so many others who saw civil rights as a means of uplift and not deification (more later).

If I stand on those shoulders, I ought to develop shoulders strong enough to help the next generation. Thus, no days off. Only days on. I might take a breather, but it’s always with that in mind.