I spent all my twenties and half of my thirties with a buzz of random sorts. Anything I could get my hands on to take me away from the world and the shit-ton of trauma that I didn’t want to face. So, feelings are sort of new for me. With America in its current state, I have thought about running back to the depths of that empty, unconscious existence. But, even the worst emotions are better than feeling nothing.I have been at a loss as of late. Being a white woman, it is hard to know what action (or non-action) is important to take during this time. So, I have resigned to learning, watching, and listening. I have created space to take it all in. I have taken a few days to process and to contemplate what I can do to be helpful in the plight of our nation.
Before I form an opinion or chastize, I always like to take a moment to take a deep look inside myself. Watching our leadership during this catastrophic year has brought so many contemplations. I see the inability of our leader to view any perspective other than his own. A few hours of introspection has shown me that I’m not so different. I have lived a large part of my life only honoring MY interpretation of the world.
Our experiences shape our perspectives. With billions of people on this Earth, no one has the same experience. I am not great at math but I am pretty sure this equates to billions of differing perspectives. Huh- I thought mine was the only one. Turns out, there are more ways to view a situation than you can count.
In light of this embarrassing self-discovery, I have spent the last few days trying to take in as many perspectives as I can. Hearing the voices of the family members of the black men and women that have lost their lives to police brutality. Seeing the photos of and reading the names of those individuals is gut-wrenching. It is a harrowing list of names that is unbelievable in its length. Listening to the stories and experiences of hate that people of color have been forced to endure. Not only listening but trying to feel these individuals from the heart of my soul. What has surfaced is nothing short of nightmarish, I cannot imagine living it. Troves of injustice against people of color. Every. Single. Day.
If you have not done so, I urge you to immerse yourself. Try to understand what these families and victims have had to endure. Read the names of the men and women along with the minuscule reasons for their loss of life. Imagine their circumstances being yours. If your perspective does not shift to understanding, at the very least, you are a part of the problem.
My heart hurts for any human that is not treated with dignity and justice. If I had one wish, I could single-handedly destroy separation, hate, and bigotry. But this isn’t a fairytale. This is real life.
Being that I took a decade and a half off of feeling emotions, I tend to sit with what I am feeling for a while. First, so that I can identify what it is I am feeling, then I have to figure out what to do about it. As a privileged white woman, my overwhelming feeling currently, is guilt. Now, my rational brain tells me that this feeling is silly and unfounded. I can no more help being white than I can manifest a billion dollars this instant. Yet, I am not quick to dismiss this feeling. My head tells me the guilt isn’t mine, but my heart tells me that I need to feel everything right now. The good and the bad.
The heaviness of the situation requires that we all feel it- the pain, despair, anger, guilt, resentment, fear. All of the feelings are fair right now. We should all be allowed to feel whatever it is necessary for healing, free of judgment. Judgment from ourselves or others.
For me, there is power in the feeling of guilt. The discomfort of guilt has been a major transformer in my life. For many, many years, I felt guilty for the lack of closeness between myself and my family. In trying to get rid of that feeling, I was forced to confront the situation. Being born into a family full of addictions and trauma does not require that I stay. It is okay to show kindness and love from a distance. We don’t have to stay in an environment that is unhealthy, even if we are born into it. The same way that you do not have to harbor hate in your heart, because you are born into it.
If sitting with the feeling of guilt is the least that I can do for humanity, I will sit and surrender.
However, I am going to release the guilt because it is not all that I can do. I intend to educate and start conversations that ignite love and peace. I am from the south, I know how ugly racism is. The fear and hate that racial divide stems from is something that is taught. Trying to break the cycle of trauma that you were born into is the work of a lifetime. My child will not have the burden of breaking that cycle, as I did many years ago. He has only been taught love and compassion. It has been an easy job, he was born with a tender, sweet heart. What are you teaching your children?
America is an intimidating and dire place right now, rightfully so. Rioting and racial divide, all on the coattails of a pandemic. These are very heavy themes for humanity. It evokes so many emotions, greater than sadness or sorrow, deeper than melancholy. Hate and anger for some. It all feels very apocalyptic. It is necessary for us to feel utter discomfort to be pushed in the direction of change. In our own lives, discomfort such as depression and shame means that it is time to move on to something better for us. What is happening in our country right now is no different. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Who we are internally is mirrored in the world. What is in your heart? What are you reflecting into this world?
As a privileged white woman, I don’t have much to offer. I don’t have a platform that allows me to reach the masses. I don’t have any tangible experiences to draw from. I have never felt discrimination.
But I see you, I hear you. I can educate and I can empathize. I can listen, learn, and take it all in. I can be certain that I stand for justice and unity. I can be sure that my vote in the political arena is in alignment with the changes I want to see in the world. I can support local businesses owned by people of color. I have done the work to fill myself with light and love, which is reflected in this world.
Of course, I didn’t write this for white women only. I do not stand for separation, only unity. I wanted to get your attention. Because EVERYONE needs to be paying attention.
Respect our differences.
This is my prayer for us.