Lately I feel as though myself and many other people have been engaging in very hard conversations, some ending in triumph and others ending in fragmented emotions that seem unresolved. No matter how my conversations end, I still walk away embodying some level of fear and guilt and those feelings take me down a dark abyss until I reach the center of a black hole. I hover in that space for quite some time and finally get the inspiration to take a deep breath and find some sort of glimmer that reminds me of all the love around me. One of the sources of that love is the continued and sustained activism of so many young people that makes this movement feel different from many of the other movements I’ve watched from afar the past decade. Their actions remind me to love and forgive myself, then love and forgive others, then love and forgive the world.
You all know I continue struggling with the accident. I often feel like there are two forces of destruction that will forever eat away at me: how can I engage in activism today when I have a death hanging over my head? Will people judge me for everything I say and constantly remind me of 2018? Then I think about the sheer death that COVID has brought across the planet. Then there’s the exposure of years and decades and centuries of racism that I’m now intentionally engaging to inform myself of what I need to do to be a good ally. Then there are the days I want to wring so many people’s necks because they aren’t listening but only want to instigate hate speech, destruction, and terrorism. Then I’m reminded I’m a destroyer because I destroyed lives. As you can see, this cycle of mine probably won’t end for some time. This cycle represents much of my fear and guilt, my reflections on past codependent relationship, my struggles with not being able to control others’ actions, and my inability to be able to stand up for everything.
All of this is to say that while I’m a ball of ever-changing feelings, I’m also doing my best to learn how to be a good ally, how to engage the spaces I regularly occupy, and how to support the spaces I previously didn’t occupy. I’m learning how to own my family history and my mother’s biracial identity that was an unspoken secret for many years. I’m learning how to stand for the complexity I represent. I’m learning how to stand for the complexities I don’t represent. For so long I’ve lived with the fear and guilt that people were whispering the worst things about me, which ironically fed my fear and guilt more. I’ve had to reconcile with the behaviors within myself that inhibited me from taking responsibility because I was too busy looking at the actions of others, and I’ve learned to love the people who’ve done that very thing to me. And I’m leaning into the potential that the current global challenges are presenting to us all.
There are so many days when I’m exhausted with myself, my fears and guilt, my ego and overthinking and I force myself to move forward so I don’t keep falling into emotional black holes. Sometimes I listen to music and practice deep breathing, other times I give myself space to feel empty so I can reach some sort of peace that encourages me to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. I come back to my children and my loved ones who give me peace and support, I acknowledge my fear of losing those wonderful blessings, then I fight to protect my own blessings and the blessings that every person should enjoy. I’ve stayed in my head and my own way far too long. Today I choose collective action and life over destruction. I choose compassion over a lack of empathy. I choose equity and equality over racism and turning a blind eye. I don’t want all the internal things I previously felt to turn external and harm my loved ones. I want to gather people and find ways for us all to stretch further and learn from one another as we remain six physical feet apart to protect our communities from COVID. We have time to get this right and we can figure it out together as we learn how to support one another. These are the communal steps of the movement I’ve begun engaging in as I continue reading and learning about the continued actions I can take and teach to my children as we learn to be great allies who’ve seen the hatred my mother experienced as a person of color who passed her entire life.
I share a lot of my emotions because I hope it will inspire important dialogue for any readers to have important conversations within themselves and among their loved ones. But I also share because I become freer with every emotion and thought I own and use my agency to determine how it will show up in the world. And with my sharing, I am learning so many specific actions to take to heal myself and to help heal communities that have borne terrible burdens for far too long. I encourage you all to keep reading and expanding your horizons, but also intervene when you see injustice happening. For those Asian Americans who are being negatively profiled because the president weaponized COVID against them, call out harassment you overhear. For those Black and Latinx Americans who are having guns pulled on them for living their lives, accost your fellow weapon-holding citizen and remind them of Black and Latinx humanity and life. For those international students who are facing deportation because they pursued their education in America, call your local elected officials and demand they step up to protect them. These are small actions we can take every day. I hope you take them with me and teach others of the importance of taking them as well. We can no longer collectively turn a blind eye as we destroy ourselves. We must engage in the movement because the issues won’t stop emerging and we can’t stop addressing the injustices we see and hear.
And as you’re engaging, please find those healthy actions you need to take to care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. We can no longer turn to substances. We can no longer use dependents as excuses for not taking hard looks in the mirror and treating our bodies right. Take it from me, glasses of wine won’t make injustices go away but engaging in healthy dialogue then taking a moment for yourself to reflect and be loved before you go back out to implement what you learned will. As the world changes, let’s make it the best we can for everyone.
Until next time ♥