Self Reflection-Empathy

The Paris attacks were a tragedy. When I read the news, I immediately thought that the violence was sadistic, senseless, and barbaric, but…. to my own dismay, I found it hard to have empathy for the victims. Despite wanting to feel compassion, every time I read an article where the author expressed outrage and called it an act of terror, I immediately got angry and thought about how these same journalists refuse/d to use the same language when reporting the sadistic, senseless, and barbaric murders of unarmed black and brown people by the hands of the amerikkkan government.

But after stepping back and evaluating my feelings, I realized that I should not be angry at the victims. They were not the ones who wrote those insensitive, dismissive articles about the domestic terror against black and browns in america. Who knows, one of the victims could have been someone that was on the front lines of the blacklivesmatter movement.

Now, I am happy that these attacks are being internationally acknowledged and mourned. That is what the victims deserve. I realize now that wishing that their pain is dismissed and ignored just because that’s what is happening to black people is not going to help anybody. I guess it was just a classic case of feeling miserable and wanting the rest of the world to feel the same. Misery loves company.
I stand in solidarity with Paris and send love to the victims’ families and friends.

My first steps

I’m not sure if anyone’s going to read this, but I can’t care about that anymore. I just finished reading about the threats to Mizzou University students and learned about another black baby murdered in cold blood and felt so overwhelmed. I’m here because I know I need to write. I know I need to share. I’m not sure what these words will do, but it is my only tool at the moment and I have to seize every opportunity I’m given to enlighten and enrich. I can not afford to hide from the violent, bloody reality. My silence is literally killing me.

I [very recently] became conscious about navigating the world as a black, queer woman. The transition has been difficult–not because life was easier when I was ignorant (some things were easier and other things were harder), but because I was suddenly realizing how backwards the world was. I started writing because I was interested in sharing my story, but also because I wanted to influence a change of mind and a change of heart in the my readers. I was passionate, but also naive and impatient. I felt empowered when I gained a lot of positive responses to the thoughts I was sharing on Facebook, but after several weeks, I saw the interest declining. I was devastated. Did people only care because it was the “trendy news topic” in their faces at the time? I mean… how could you not care about black lives? Why aren’t you concerned about the lack of affordable health care? Why wasn’t anyone there for me after I shared my story about abuse? Those were the sorts of questions that ran through my mind. Then I began to doubt myself and thought what was the point. Who was I, a college graduate without a job (who did not major in Afam), to share my opinions about race? I got really discouraged about the movement as a whole. So much so, that I deactivated all of my social media and withdrew from a lot of people that I care about who have supported me. I realize now how self-centered this was. This movement isn’t about me gaining attention as an individual person.. it’s about fighting for the liberation of all oppressed persons. I realize now that this way bigger than me. Now I don’t care who likes what I have to say anymore or how many comments I get. It’s actually probably a gooood thing that my opinions are not popular since society is backwards as fuhhh.. Not having a popular opinion means that I am critically thinking about my environment and challenging the status quo. I’m just gonna keep doing me and sharing my truth. I just want better for humanity, y’all.

a reflection

Self-care and taking time for yourself is important and I have gotten very good at it. Or so I thought… This week my anxiety levels have been extremely since the news headlines about the Baltimore Uprising started circulating and I have made sure to take the time I need to center myself and relax, but…. I know that I’m taking more time than I need. I have 2 exams that I need to study for this weekend. Typically, my anxiety levels are pretty high around exam time and I think that I am using the uprising as more of an excuse for myself. “If I don’t do well on the exam, I have something to blame.” I have also been using it as an excuse to keep people distant from me. “Oh, I did not get a chance to hang out with people that love and care about me? It’s because I’ve been distracted by the Baltimore Uprising.” I’m using excuses to protect myself. If I fail and if I end up without friends, I have something to blame… Lol… Aw man, I don’t want to live my life like this anymore though. It’s definitely not serving me. Alright, I’m gonna try again, y’all. Logging off of social networks and getting back to work.

bigotry hurts everyone

The last few weeks have been pretty rough for me, with last night being particularly hard. Over the last few months, I have done a good job at minimizing the amount of news that I consume. I used to be informed about politics and global issues, but as negative articles about blacks began appearing, my mental health started deteriorating. After both officers that murdered Mike Brown and Eric Garner were acquitted, I found myself displaying symptoms of depression for about a week. I felt isolated, alone, and very angry. The feelings intensified after my brother came to visit from New York. My Brother is diagnosed with Schizophrenia, lived in foster homes where he has been subjected to abuse, and has had a very difficult life overall. All of these experiences have made it difficult for him to assimilate into mainstream culture and sometimes he will “act up” publicly. My biggest fear is that the wrong cop will encounter my brother and blow his brains out for being black. Everyyy time I see a story about another black male being murdered I see my brother…. How fucked up is that? So… naturally, I have tried to limit the content I read, but I’m finding that I cannot escape from the stories. They appear all over my Facebook newsfeed, in reddit, and in everyday conversations. I can’t hide from them. I was at the gym trying to improve my self-care game when I saw a news story [on CNN lol] covering a #blacklivesmatter protest and they used the words “enemy forces” to describe them. Lol, like what? How are we the enemy?…

I have no words to describe how confused/angry/sad I’ve been. Last night, I did not spend any time doing the studying I needed to do for my midterms next week. I was so anxious by these stories that I started reading articles about what has really been going on in Baltimore and then I found myself reading about other forms of institutional racism like this one about “professionalism” in the workplace. Although I did not mean to, I spent hours reading. I was craving this content. My anxiety decreased after each article, so I can tell that it was something that I needed–I am not used to reading stories that describe women, people of color, and people that are on the LGBT spectrum as humans.

Even if I do not do well on my exams next week, I am not going to worry about it. Maybe if I did not have to worry about my brother being murdered all of the time, I would not be as distracted and do better on my exams. It’s just so crazy… the media and these politicians think that they’re helping themselves by slandering the image of blacks, but what they don’t realize is that everyyyy time they murder and spread their bigotry, they’re not only killing the lives of one person, they’re killing the dreams of thousands. Thousands of people that could have found the cure to the cancer that they’re going to contract in a few years. Thousands of people that could have been the next scientists to discover a way to reverse the damages caused by global warming…

my very valid black rage

I did not expect to be writing a second post so soon, but there’s been a lot on my mind. I shared a little bit about some of my frustrations as a victim of abuse, but I did not share all of my frustrations. I have been  angry about the silence I have been subjected to as a victim, but I have been just as frustrated by the way that black people have been portrayed in the media.

Okay, let’s really take that in….. I have felt jusssst as frustrated by the way that black people have been portrayed in the media as I have been as a victim of abuse…..

It sounds ridiculous, but it also makes perfect sense… In both situations, I did not have control over what someone did or said about me and in both situations, I have been told not to share my [very valid] feelings of frustration and anger. I have been scared to talk about my frustrations as a black woman for fear of stereotype threat, but I am not a cartoon character. I have a wide array of emotions. Sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m happy… I am a human. If you only want to be around me when I’m feeling positive, then it’s clear that you’re trying to see me from an angle that’s most convenient to you and you’re not trying to understand who I really am.

A lot of my content will be on issues pertaining to my frustrations about black people, women, and people that are on the LGBT spectrum. If this is not something you’re interested in reading about, stop now. Also do me a favor and stop talking to me in real life. It’s difficult enough for me to share my feelings as an individual who’s a member of multiple oppressed communities and I do not need another person telling me that I am being “too sensitive.”

this is my voice

Alright. Here I go. First post ever. I’m terrified of opening up. BUT….. what I am even more scared of is remaining silent. This anxiety is eating from the inside out and it has taken away time from my family, friends, jobs, and the activities that I love. But, I won’t let this happen anymore. So here it is, y’all: I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse.

The abuse has always caused me to have this intense feeling that I do not have control over my life, which has caused anxiety and also a spout of depression 5 years ago. But I’m pretty tired of feeling tense all of the time (and I also never want to be depressed again). It’s crazy, but I have been more concerned about what my family members think and have been more worried about my father’s reputation than my own mental health and physical needs. I mean, really. It’s outlandish! I, myself as the victim, have been more concerned about the reputation of my perpetrator. WHO IS DEAD, I MAY ADD… but dat is another story….(our brains are strange).

Well….. I’m not going to protect my father’s reputation anymore–sorry, y’all. He was a great dad who taught me how to be independent and to never give up, but he also did shitty things like… abuse me. In the past I tried to justify the abuse to myself by saying that it ONLY happened once, but now I realize that it should not have ever happened in the first place. I’m definitely not “over it” and still have moments where I experience a flashback or slip into problematic cognitions about myself that happen as a product of the abuse, but I am at a much better place and have been moving forward. I want to thank you for reading because writing this was the first step I needed to take to get to a point where I’m able to have these conversations in person. One day I hope to speak openly to an audience and work in a field where I have the opportunity to empower other victims to speak about their experiences.

***PSA: If you or someone you know is a survivor of child sexual abuse, please know that there are resources available to help you and the abuser!

http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6069289/k.E356/National_Resources_Related_to_Child_Sexual_Abuse.htm

Y’all are not alone <3.