Yesterday I told my therapist that I feel so extremely guilty that my trauma from dealing with constant racism for 27 years and watching my family and the people around me navigate racism, stops me from standing up to harmful white people. I feel guilty for not protecting myself and others and for instead protecting white peoples egos. I feel guilty that my fear of them harming me physically and emotionally without repercussions stops me from saying what needs to be said. My fear of being told I’m wrong, being too sensitive, playing the race card, keeps me quiet.
I feel guilty that my defence mechanism is to leave my body. I feel guilty for “leaving people behind” when I leave my body when I’m triggered.
My therapist asked me what I think a black woman’s work is, in this world right now.
I paused. For a long time. With tears streaming down my face, I took a slow deep breath, I closed my eyes and said “our work is to exist”. This answer surprised me because of the shame and guilt I feel. But I knew it was the right answer for me. I have trouble existing. Growing up in such proximity to whiteness has brought me many privileges but has also simultaneously been one of the most confusing prisons for my heart and soul. I have never been safe to be myself in this body because of my proximity to whiteness. My personality has never felt safe to be, because of my proximity to whiteness.
It’s good to remind myself that I’m doing enough just by getting up everyday and breathing. To all BIPOC out there trudging through the murky waters of daily micro aggressions, harmful conversations and fearing for your safety, PLEASE Keep existing as you are. Keep healing. Whatever that looks like for you.
I will too.