This… is… NOT… an easy post to write.
Cool, cool, cool. Great way to start right?! Well, it’s real. It’s authentic. And, it’s me.
I didn’t have a blog during the summer of 2020. I wish I did. It probably would have helped me in so many ways, but we’re here now, so let’s look to the future and not in the rear view mirror.
BUT WHY AM I UNCOMFORTABLE…????
That is the real damn question.
I’m going to share something incredibly vulnerable in hopes that it will inspire or help someone else on their journey. I know people are still talking about being an anti-racist or being a part of the Black Lives Matter movement, but I just don’t SEE IT enough. I don’t see it enough in so many ways and it truly breaks my heart and hurts my soul.
I’m NOT saying I’m perfect, I’m not. I’m still here, learning, reading, watching and just trying to figure out exactly what I need to do and what space is appropriate for me to be a part of.
I have a lot to unpack and I won’t do it all in this post, but what I have always known and felt in my core, in my truest and most authentic self is this: when my gut wrenches or I feel sick/uncomfortable, I’m either about to do something VERY right or VERY wrong. There has never been an “in-between” for me.
I have ALWAYS had this insane, incredible gut instinct and far too many times (mostly in my younger life) I would ignore it. Over the last 5 or so years, I have really embraced it and listened to it. I know that “feeling” I get and I let me gut guide me in my decision making.
Today, I experienced something incredibly uncomfortable and something that at my core felt wrong and that I needed to address – not necessarily because it was my space to, but I knew no-one else would. I even waited to see if anyone would bring up this extremely awkward and uncomfortable thing.
I want to be vulnerable, but this is not my story alone so I will give as many details I can without giving away the entirety of the setting/people/etc.
I had to speak up about racism and genocide in front of a group of people that I know, like and trust. Even though I trust these people and cherish each one of them, my voice was cracking, I couldn’t find every word I wanted to use and my thoughts felt disconnected. I’m sure I’m exaggerating and it wasn’t that bad but it felt that bad.
The reference was to a song that I asked multiple people of different backgrounds and races about, prior to the meeting. I googled, I did my own research and I scoured every source I could think of to make sure I had a valid argument.
I had a good argument, but I could have done better.
I believe this is a common thread between many people who might fit my description. A woman raised in the south with tons of bigotry, racism, hate, religion and fear of what people might “think” if and when I speak my mind.
I did my best, but when my voice started cracking and my argument seemed to fall flat, I choked and couldn’t find the words I wanted to use in the moment.
It was so hard.
I stood my ground and did not back down, even though I felt like I was “less than” in the moment. I just kept saying “I did my own research with people I trust. I know what my gut is telling me and it’s telling me this song we have chosen for this event has racial undertones and propaganda messaging. I just FEEL IT.”
And that is one of the biggest issues I’ve ever experienced when talking to men versus women. Women feel things. Men are more analytical. I am not going to get into a drawn out argument about the sexes here, but there is valid research about this and it just shows in every single interaction I’ve ever had when I’ve said “I feel strongly about…[insert experience/verb here]” and 99% of the time men need more “analytics” or “research”.
All that to say, this experience inspired me. Even though it was really hard and uncomfortable, I grew through this interaction with people who I respect and we were able to have a really thoughtful and respectful conversation. Sadly, something I believe is rare in our current climate.
I’m not some woke white girl, I know that, but it felt really good to later be validated by a bystander who did not know the entire circumstance and for them to say “I had the same initial reaction.” THAT right there folks made me feel REALLY good. Even though I had a shit-tastic day at the end of it I was validated and it really made me think “HUH. Maybe I should use my voice to speak up when others can’t.”…..????
I’m here to tell you… take up space, girl. Take it up, own it, be it, live it. Do whatever YOU need to do to uplift others by using your voice. It may be shaky, it may be disconnected, it may FEEL like you have a thousands blankets on top of you and no one can hear you, but I assure you… I assure you that someone will. And this is your time to use your voice, now more than ever, to help someone who can’t. It may seem counterintuitive, but when we use our privilege to help others, rather than tear them down, we start a chain reaction that cannot be stopped. By inspiring just one person you are manifesting positivity and changing the “norms”.
I hope you are inspired by this and use your voice for good.
I hope you found this story inspiring. Its extremely difficult to talk about things like systemic racism and all the parts it plays in our lives – whether we have realized it or not. I hope you find the courage to step up for someone that can’t, to be the inspiration that someone needs, to show up and help when someone can’t.
Do you resonate with this? Have you experienced really difficult situations where you had no idea what to do or say? Drop a comment below and let me know!