I’d like to talk about connections.
I mean the connections we have with others, and ourselves.
As humans, we crave these connections, even if they aren’t personal.
We read books, and connect with characters, we watch movies and fantasize about being one of the stars. Being a part of the team, taking no shit, kicking bad guys in the face.
We form connections with other human beings, gaining greater perspective through listening, caring, navigating this thing called life, together.
It feels like those connections are drifting these days. People seem more caught up with semantics, than actually listening to one another.
Let’s face it – people have always been cunts to each other.
Recent events in Charlottesville have left some in shock about the existence of real hate, and the re-emergence of neo-Nazis.
“Shock” wasn’t a reaction I had the luxury of. I’ve been aware of this kind of racism my whole life, which prompted me to write this:
For me, and many other folks of colour, these current events trigger a lifetime of feelings, developed during a very deep, long-term exposure to trauma.
What some people are choosing to learn about racism now is an insidious thing most people of colour have dealt with most of our lives.
Recently, well-meaning folks have been reaching out to ask me if I’m OK.
I’m letting you know:
I am not OK.
I wish I could say I was, but I am not OK.
I wish I could give you a snappy, witty response, but I am not OK.
I am an absolute mess.
If you think that seems a bit melodramatic, you should probably fuck off.
Recent events have triggered memories of real, personal trauma.
And the steady news barrage of the murders of people of colour are reminders:
There are other people out there that would happily kill me, solely based on the colour of my skin.
Sadly this is not a new revelation. Almost every person of colour knows the unsaid guidelines, or “fine print”, of being a P.O.C..
So, I’m letting you know: I am not OK
And I’m not going to pretend to be OK.
So when you ask me, or people who may be feeling/dealing with similar experiences, please be prepared: They may not be OK either.
It is not my responsibility to educate you as to why I’m not OK. Nor do I owe you my energy to make you feel better.
If you ask me if I’m OK, care first, and mean it.
Recent events reveal the deep seated truth of racism in North America, and dealing with that goes way beyond repeating affirmations, staying positive, or taking your vitamins.
I need to talk to a professional about the real, deep, fear I am feeling, and what feels like my inability to recharge and heal.
The fact is that I can be murdered a thousand different ways, on a thousand different days, and my murderer would most likely go free.
If we are “connected”, and are “in this together:, I want you to know:
I care about your feelings, but I care about myself and my well-being more.
My mental well-being is important. I need to address what I am feeling with a professional, so I can be strong for the fight. Because fighting to be equal is incredibly exhausting.
I liken it to running a race where some people are kicked in the tits, while others are given a head start.
I won’t be OK tomorrow, or the next day. I don’t know when I’ll be OK, so please don’t have expectations of that being anytime soon.
What can you do for me, to help us move forward?
Approach me with sincerity.
If you are reaching out to me because you have no other friend of colour, you can help me by examining in your own life why that is.
You can help by listening and understand that if you are acknowledging this pain — a pain I carry heavy, and am not OK with — you can help me by doing your own work. Carry your own load, and don’t expect me to carry mine while making your burden lighter.
Are you still with me? This shit is complicated right?
You want to connect, but don’t know how. Everything you do feels wrong, and you just can’t seem to find the right way to be “socially responsible”, so let’s strip this all the way down.
If you feel the need to connect with me, treat me as a human, and not as a delicate other.
Treat me as a human who is feeling overwhelmed with pain, and not as a device to make you, your business, or your ego look/feel good.
Are you OK? is a big question about a complicated, unresolved problem that stirs up a lot of internal shit for some people. Being OK will take honest time, patience, and work to move through.
Let me be clear:
This article is not about YOU.
It is not intended to make YOU feel guilty.
How YOU feel is up to you, as well as how you take this perspective and move forward.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. If you are new to my page, and are curious about what it is I do, and why, you can read more about that here.