We all judge. We have to. If we can’t judge then we can’t judge a situation as being dangerous, we have to judge a book by its cover sometimes or we might talk to someone who might do us harm.
What I don’t want to do, is let that get in the way of me practicing compassion and respect for someone. For me to let them do their thing, and be happy, and maybe make a friend in the process.
I try not to judge someone and put them in a box that they can’t get out of.
i try not to judge someone in a way that doesn’t allow them to show me who they truly are.
However, my core belief is that we should all be able to share this world with abundance in everything. I have been angry since the day I realized how much we fucked up this world, and I haven’t stopped being angry since, because to me, solitary joy and abundance is not real. If we can’t all be free, then my freedom isn’t real.
And I love humans. i LOVE Americans. So much more than I realized. And their pain has become my pain. And people that contribute to that pain, do get judged.
People that are selfish get judged.
People that are hypocritical get judged.
People that obsess over politicians and not people get judged.
People that lack compassion get judged.
White people that don’t acknowledge their racism get judged.
People that can’t open their minds to other forms of beliefs get judged.
Harshly. And that sometimes means you, friend.
That sometimes means my own family. That sometimes means finding myself alone in my head, feeling crazy and misunderstood.
That sometimes means being judged myself. By others. By myself.
But everyone has got a moral compass, and that’s mine. The purpose of my life is to do everything to add to the goodness on this planet, and that’s how I’m doing that.
And due to me being a complicated person, I also need to know that people are going to be willing to either gently call me out when I need to be called out, or they’re going to act with humility when I call them out.
The only people that might get a pass at this type of behavior, are people who are family, and even then it’s just an adapted version of this truth.
But I’ve adapted and made myself small to fit into people’s boxes, that end up serving me not at all, and I’ve stayed quiet when people say hurtful things too many times.
There comes a moment when being disagreeable is a matter of survival, boundaries, and safety. If ya can’t handle that, then ya can’t handle me.
(SeLoFest17 Post: Day 10, click here for all prompts so far)
I learned racism in the United States.
When I was a baby, my parents and I lived in Martinique, an island in the Caribbean that is an overseas region of France. I don’t remember anything about it in my conscious mind, but combined with the fact that by the time I was 3 we had moved to Dominican Republic, another island, and that I stayed there until I was 7, I feel like that should not be culturally or psychologically ignored.
When I was 5, I started to attend a French school in Dominican Republic, as my parents did not want me to grow up not knowing my paternal tongue. My classmates were a continuation of what I had known my entire short life. People came in different colors, and different shapes. As little girls, we grew up very affectionate, physical, touching each others’ hair, grabbing strands and braiding our hair together. I was completely unaware of racism, as a half white half latina 5 year old child, indeed I was unaware of most hatred and bigotry.
Eventually, we moved to the United States when I was 7, and I went to Elementary School in Ohio. I remember kids teaching me to speak English, how excited they all were that I could speak another language like it was a super power. I didn’t like that my once beautiful name, “Maëlle” had been butchered down to an atrocious sounding “My”, but I thought that there was your original name, and then there was your English name, and my English name would be some variation of “My”. (It was. To this day, very few Anglo-saxxon friends can pronounce the beautiful connection between “Mah” and “Elle” without adding a “ye” diphtong in the middle to help them with the transition. I have been called Maya, Mae, Mayo, Meow, Mayellie, Maylaylay, and any other variation thereof, including once, quite comically, “Email”. My “American” name has been settled down to “Mayelle” which, while is fine, it is not My Name.)
Apart from that, however, I suffered no bigotry. Quite the contrary, all I knew was acceptance and celebration of any difference I had. My best friend at first was Indian, my neighbors Japanese, but apart from some People of Color, most were white. And so my transition to the United States as a teenager happened in a mostly white surrounding, where I didn’t once think about racism, see it, or feel it. Despite the language barrier, my whiteness had afforded me a blindness that would be called privilege by some, but that was also a major ignorance to the experience that many of my brown counterparts had grown up with. My mother had remarried by now to Jaimito, who is Dominican and Spanish, but is entirely white passing. My mom, despite her white skin and warrior size, could also be white passing, but I’ve always loved her long thick dark hair and tone of her skin that have always hinted at an amazonic ancestry. We had come here on a job offer for Jaimito, who had studied in Florida in his college years, and had already gotten his residency. We were legal aliens, never looked at or considered to be immigrants, so that was also not an experience I ever went through or witnessed others going through until much later.
Eventually we moved to Florida, where I went to a middle school in Coral Springs for a year before going to High School. Middle school in Florida was exactly as one would expect. My best friends were black, my boyfriend was half Mexican half Colombian, and white people were starting to feel different to me, despite me feeling like I was supposed to identify with them due to the color of my skin. It was an equally mixed crowd. I did not remember experiencing racism there, though I do remember there being another white girl who fluently spoke the same languages I did, along with one other one that I did not.
Obviously I hated her. She had taken the one thing that kept me from feeling special. She made me feel like just another white girl. In Middle School, being white was also a class thing. By then, through television, microagressions in my family and other latino families, I was already learning to internalize racism against my own people. Being latino meant you were brown and poor, so I obviously had to identify as white as I had no accent, and wasn’t brown. I felt otherly within myself. I was internalizing racism I would have never wanted to internalize had there been other exposure of black bodies, had I been taught different, had I grew up somewhere else. I lacked the context and the sense of questioning that which was around me.
Despite being white passing and considered “cool” during my elementary school in quite white Columbus, Ohio, there was still an “otherness” to me that I had not yet learned to identify with. Sure, it was cool to feel special, but no one else knew what it was like to grow up multicultural. There was my mother, who had many friends that like her, had moved to the United States for a better opportunity, and then her children, which were mostly younger than me, more my brother’s age, and not who I felt I related to either. In Ohio, people of color had become my family, and not the people that went to school with or people that taught me. I was proud to be Colombian, but was made to feel lucky that I was white. I didn’t like being white, because the skin felt foreign to me in matters of racism. But being brown was looked down upon, while being brown and latino was something that I had grown up seeing as normal, and beautiful. Identity…what a mess.
It was the beginning of how I identified myself in regards to my culture and in relation to others. After middle school, I attended a magnet program in a high school in Pompano Beach. There, the majority of the students were black, followed by latino, followed by asian and white and then “other”.
To me, it felt like home. I felt that I was “like” my black friends who spoke about Jamaica, or Haiti, who talked about foods that were closer to what I had grown up with than any white American. I liked relating to my Latino friends but was very often cast out for being too white, for having a French side, for speaking too “white” and not enough “gurl”. It took me a couple of years to pick up on it, since at first I felt the “white kids” were the “other” and that the rest of us were “Us.”
Sometime between freshman and junior year, I began to understand Racism as a concept that went beyond a word. The first “love of my life” boyfriend I had ever had, had been in High School. He was Jamaican, and black. I didn’t think about it for a minute. Racism was a word, not a concept I had ever had to really face or blatantly witness due to the color of skin I had grown up with, and where I had grown up. I had subconciously began to understand racism against brown latinos (or “Mexicans”), but black people were still somehow “my people”. However, it was the second year of high school, and I had fallen in love with a black boy who loved me back. Suddenly I was getting side-eyed, and girls I talked to every day in friendly classmate banter were now cold and distant.
Mind you, it was the black girls doing it. I never heard a peep from anyone else. I had entered a world that I didn’t understand. Back then, the movie Save The Last Dance came out and it only further confused me in regards to biracial love, racism in general, and where I belonged due to it touching up on a delicate topic and opening up a conversation that very much needed to happen while furthering racist stereotypes. I was obviously not black, but I wasn’t “latina” enough to always be considered latina, and I didn’t feel white, despite me getting lumped in that category so often. I wasn’t mad at black people, I felt pushed away by something greater than the both of us. I was missing something, and I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to figure out what I was missing.
I learned racism through microagressions directed at me. It was adopting the same vocabulary my friends had, and then being told that I was “too white” to talk like that. It was wanting to date a black guy but having to understand that it wasn’t going to happen, because there was a part of him that I didn’t nor would I ever understand, and that it was important to him that I do. It was in having to be careful what I said to my brown friends, and no longer being able to touch kinky or curly hair as an act of affection, because for them, it was an act of violence against their selves. It was feeling pity for my brown cousins and not knowing why. It was in making fun of my mom’s accent like she was somehow not the unbelievably intelligent woman I knew. (This eventually turned to admiration and adoration. I love my mami’s accent. It is a symbol of pride and cultural intelligence.) It was in having to unlearn all the cliché jokes I had learned in my white upbringing, thinking it was funny to make fun of myself and my heritage. It was in learning to hate the word “Mexican” because my language and culture was erased behind the white children’s ignorance of thinking that anything Spanish was just Mexican, and then having to unlearn that Mexico was just a big desert with cacti and lazy men napping under a big sombrero leaning against their burros.
I learned racism because it affected me as a multicultural, because it limited me, clumped with the ignorant and kept me apart from those I related to. Which is probably why I have always seen racism as a concept that hurts everyone, not an “us against them” mentality but rather a system of separation that has been installed and continuously updated in our psyche and society. I also went through the phase of saying that I was “colorblind” because I had grown up not caring about color in MY way of judging, but in saying that, I had also ignored other people’s experiences growing up black or brown. It is not my lack of acknowledging that racism exists that will abolish it, but rather admitting that it exists, and fighting from within.
It was being in France, and not being able to experience that rich American heritage I had grown up knowing that made me identify so strongly as Latina. It was being able to identify the racism within me, exploring those ideas, and releasing false beliefs about what it meant to be brown, black, female, latina. It was in relearning narratives by making sure I was listening to the stories of men and women that had grown up with me but with different contexts and colors of skin. It was in embracing my empathy and love for that which racism called The Other;
I am not a brown latina, so I am not a “woke brown girl”. I am not a black woman, so I can’t speak for the “black girl magic.” But I am a woman, and a human, and a multicultural one. And navigating those things have not been easy for me despite my whiteness, because racism hurts everyone. It was not the black girls or latina girls that side-eyed me that I blame, but the system that taught them to look at me like that. The system that taught the white girl to snap at me because I was “too white” to use a “black person” word. It was the system that told the black family that their son would not be able to date a white woman because of what I have been taught as well. It’s a sick system that is made to look harmless to those benefiting from it, as it seemed to me. That system kept brown girls from discovering their intelligence, and black girls from discovering their magic. Imagine what it might have kept from me, what it might have kept from you. It might have coaxed you into believing that Acadamia favors you and you are more valuable for your intelligence, somehow inherit to your skin color. It might have coaxed you into believing you are more hardworking, or less prone to crime. It might have lulled you into a false sense of value, so that you would look away from where your true value lies.
In not fighting for equality, in not embracing that there are differences, in not embracing that we are all hurt by these hateful, oppressive tactics that have been growing for years, we are not only allowing others to be hurt, but we are denying an entire aspect of ourselves that needs exploring. Because whether you like it or not, whether you want it to be true or not, your race defines you. Our society has made it so, civilization has been mounted upon systems of power and control and dividing the masses is the way to control them.
I believe that the system has also deeply hurt white people at an emotional level. While society has done everything so that black and brown bodies will hate themselves, there has been an undercurrent of “self love” that has emerged through Millenials in movements of queer love, positive body image, and brown people telling their stories. While on the other side, white people have been handed so many privileges while being part of an oppressive system, that what has emerged from the white world has been white guilt, and self-hate. I believe that many people who are flamboyantly racist, deep down inside, hate themselves and their race and have no idea how to change anything or do anything because when you have grown up privileged, it takes longer to learn how bad the problem really is, and many people may choose not to see it, due to it being too hard to admit.
I came face to face with all this realization, with what people my generation are calling being “woke“, in my mid 20’s because that’s when I began to actively practice Self-Love. And after decades of defining myself through my hair, clothes, attitude, etc, I was having to embrace how others had defined me through my skin color and how that had internalized. Throughout my adult years, in moving to France, then Mexico, then Los Angeles and then back to Mexico (and then back to France this is just getting ridiculous) the number of black people I met watered down to not very many at all. And I have felt the absence of the Jamaican and Haitan teenagers I went to high school with, and the experiences I might have been able to witness and not remain ignorant to had I continued to be in a setting of mixed ethnicites and not white privilege. In Mexico, of course, that has changed profusely, I connected deeply to the Mexican culture, not only appreciating it but loving it, truly. Feeling like deep down, I’m probably a bit Mexican anyway. Coming to terms with my colonizing ancestors has been a trip, and I am still on it. This also affects my self love. We are our ancestors, no matter how disconnected we are from them. Their memories and traumas are with us, their stories part of our lineage and why we look the way we look, grew up where we did, speak what we do, eat what we eat.
I have missed out on countless opportunities to learn from people of another race due to my own fear to look like an idiot and ignorance to know better. I have missed out because of their fear of me because of my skin. I have missed out because of the system of division in our neighborhoods, schools, social circles. I have adopted self-hatred because both my last names are essentially European and my white skin tells the story of a mostly colonizing background.
Whether we choose to embrace it or not, whether we want to ignore it, or pretend we are “colorblind”, or “not racist”, it takes only a little bit of listening to realize that Everyone has A Lot of work to do. Not for The Other, not for the person that doesn’t look like you or maybe does but doesn’t come from the same place. Rather, so that in exploring how we define ourselves, how others have defined us, we can lift any blocks we may have never known were there, keeping us from truly knowing ourselves. In knowing ourselves, that is how we can better know The Other. In accepting ourselves for all that we are, that is how we can truly better accept The Other.
By recognizing, that all along, The Other is also within us.
As a white person: Have you ever thought about your race? How has your race defined you? Have you ever felt racism? How has this affected how you have seen yourself?
As a POC: What behaviors of ignorance, bigotry, or racism, have you yourself shown and how has this affected how you have seen yourself?
Activity: Racist activity time. Make 5 circles. Label them “white”,”brown”, “black”, “asian”, and “indigenous”. While it is a racist way of looking at skin, this activity is meant to make you look at the racism you have within you.
Without filtering it out write out all the beliefs you have been taught and may have in your head (even those you know to be wrong but that you still think about) in the circle corresponding to people who have a certain ethnicity? Then, look at the circle you identify under. How has this defined you?
In your journal: Cultural self portrait time. In whichever way you would like to, think about how you’ve identified with yourself ethnically. What have your race and culture told you about yourself? Make a self portrait dedicated to showing love and appreciation for where you come from. If you have never really thought about it, maybe take this opportunity to devise a plan to further explore yourself.
A painting I began towards the end of 2016, illustrating how I felt being half Latina and Half French. Not very good news for the French side, but that’s evolving.
I’ve been writing this post for various days. It’s very long, and I have a lot to say, so take your time reading it, it’s going to be content heavy, but it’s supposed to be, and there will be many more to come. It’s divided into parts for easier reading, and at the end you will find links to come and go back to.
The silver lining of chronic depression .
The deep and intimate understanding of grief, as well as the paralyzing fear of feeling useless.
I was having panic attacks. My life has some serious stress triggers, but I was not handling it, I was having all types of panic attacks all the tipe. Despite nothing happenning I told myself.
Except something was happening. The grenade I was afraid would explode despite everyone telling me it didn’t exist, not only did it exist, but it fucking blew up and EVERY ONE felt it.
Turns out it was humanity’s grenade and I was just feeling the aftershock of all the karma we had accumulated in accepting division.
And now here we are. Alive. Because cruelly, or beautifully, life goes on.
I’ve been seeing it. The beauty. People taking care of themselves, people loving.
We were grieving, we still are, but through it we are loving.
If you think people are over reacting, or don’t know that people are extremely scared, you are either not paying attention, not listening, not being empathetic, or you don’t care. All of these possibilities make me incredibly sad, but the good news is, people that care outnumber those that don’t. We are made to believe we are a minority, because Fear works faster than Love. But the work that Love does, is solid. That is why despite everything that has been happening, we are still here.
Every single person in my life that’s talented, kind, ingenious, creative in any way or form, that gives goodness, shares knowledge, expresses their best out of any sense of compassion whether civic duty or natural calling, has been a part of what makes humanity worth living for .
Because there have been wars, horrors, atrocious nightmares come reality, dictators of maximum oppression of uniqueness and humanity…yet there has also always, always also still been art, rebellion, expression of self and sexuality, the quest for happiness and pursuit of knowledge. Fierce friendship.
The Holocaust did not abolish the love that a mother has for her son. Slavery did not abolish friendship. The Great Depression did not abolish art.
Time and time again, we have actually persevered.
“The future is never gone, never hopeless. No one has ever lived in the best possible world. There has always been a fight to fight.” -Neil DeGrasse Tyson 8/Nov/16
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s OK for it to be this hard for more of us to have it, and ignoring our brothers and sisters because we don’t want to admit their pain, is inhumane, unspiritual, and unethical. We are One, we must heal as One. And we must All take active pursuit of it, however that may look to each and every one of our unique capabilities, understanding that we must share a minimum of discomfort. Courage can be a small voice, but added to many others, the roaring of who we are in undenyingly powerful, and that is why we have been kept divided for so long.Some people may wear a Safety Pin. Some people may choose not to.
Right now we are rightfully grieving as we must as a people. We are all hurting. All seems hopeless and much of what we feared may come true, if it hasn’t already. Many of us feel as if all faith in humanity is useless, and I deeply empathize with the notion.However our grief and anger must eventually become active plans and steps of love and compassion.
For now, I have been writing, writing, writing. (This blog entry has been written and drafted about 5 times, something I’ve never done, to make sure my thoughts are short but articulate, and that it is all assuming responsibility for what I must do while also supporting others in being active.) I have also been reading, reading, reading. Listening. Questioning my self. Re prioritizing my thoughts and reactions.
Do not look away. See what you are up against. It is scary. But once you get past through the fear, and take the binds off, you will see something else. That you are not alone. There is more support among the marginalized and oppressed than there are among the oppressors.
I have fallen out of grace before. With everything, with myself, with my God, with humanity. And in me falling out of grace with it all, I also learned something else. Humanity doesn’t stop existing because you stop believing in it. Neither did I. Neither did God.
We will be here. We will be here because we still thrive in making each other laugh, (which is why some people rely on memes and jokes) and we are still expressing ourselves freely, no matter what anyone is saying. And no matter how many of us die, we are still here as a people, whatever new way that looks like. We’ve not lost the beauty of what it means to be alive together. Even hate needs Love to exist.
A few weeks ago I asked what acceptance meant and I got no answers .I guess not too many knew. But to me, these past events finally allowed me to have a reference point I could express in words. Going with what you can control to continue to live and thrive. A survival mechanism, maybe.
So we must grieve. And I sit here, and hold space while we grieve together.
Then, I offer some next step actions, or options for coping, hopefully a bit of relief, help in accepting the situation, or maybe just some information so that we can all move forward in this together.
On forcing positivity on to others…
Forcing your views on people instead of listening is leaving them alone in their shit, and therefore unsupportive. It’s doing something to make yourself feel better, at the cost of the other. Telling people they are wrong for their feelings, telling them they’re making you feel bad, that it’s negativity, is you actively choosing to not listen because it makes you uncomfortable to own up to what you are doing wrong. Peoples livelihoods are at steak and that’s a very real fear. A lot of people were aware and prepared but a lot of other people weren’t . We need to be compassionate of everyone who took a while to get to the field but we’re here and it’s now and it’s go time.
On “It’s not my job to teach you”
This one is not going to go well with too many people, but I do know there’s many of us that agree, so in case you’re one of those, I’m mentioning it here.
I learned about Racism in America, in my teens, because it was keeping me from getting close to people due to how we were programmed to interact with each other due to a broken system that people wanted to ignore because it made them uncomfortable or inconvenienced them. Growing up in Dominican Republic, I have a very mixed group of friends. We were all types of black, brown, and white, and mixed cultures. I went to a French school, so it might have been a particular setting, but as far as I remember Santo Domingo is pretty mixed. Touching each other through play and affection, our hair for example, or holding hands, being friends, was not weird or wrong because it was all in consent and curiosity for each other differences. (I got to touch hair that was different from my own when playing and braiding other children’s hair, which made me conserve my essential understanding that difference is normal, and to be celebrated and explored so that it can be better understood and respected.)
However in the United States, it was drilled into me that it was incredibly rude to touch someone else’s hair if they were black. I understood why, so naturally I stopped, but it became a wall of racism that I had not had before. I was forced to see my black friends as Other because the system of Oppression against them had made it so that we had to protect their bodies even more from people with my hair and skin color. However, I understood that. That it wasn’t “them” black people, but “them” that small percentage of humans that had seen the power of division and fear and had used it to rule, never seeing how it was damaging them, their children, their own future.
Some people, didn’t grow up understanding that. Because of lack of context, lack of exposure, lack of a lot of things that were actually very much not their fault, they grew up feeling divided from other cultures and races, not knowing how to transgress that line, and feeling like utter shit because of them. Feeling wrong. Feeling stupid. And surrendering to the division. A fantastic example of that, is this guy, and I really recommend you listen to him, because though he is dripping in self-pity, he raises a lot of amazing points. And while he does attack me and people like me, I do not take it as an attack. I take it as a desperate call for help. “I do not know how to learn, so I may say the wrong things, but I want to learn, please teach me”. And so many of us look away because they didn’t ‘say’ the right thing. And while I am fervent that people need to learn compassion, I think there is a sliver of validity in that trying to always be “PC” killed a lot of communication. Because so many people in wanting to learn were turned back aggressively. We contribute to division by doing that, no matter how valid our reason for doing that.
So while I will not tell or police someone to be more open if their anger does not allow them to, (I myself am in a situation where I am trying to not react angrily to ignorance, and I am not succeeding) I do think we should realize that not only do we need all the help we can get, but many people want to give it. My white friend recently told me she was advised against going to black rally for black lives matter because it wouldn’t go over well. So, sure, she can start a rally of her own, but instead of fighting alongside, we are doing it in division. It takes longer. It doesn’t seem real.
We do shame people for not knowing things, for not having grown up with the context, culture, and exposure we did. We close them off, tell them to go Google (how are you going to Google if you don’t know what you don’t know?) We’ve been creating very needed safe spaces for people to come and share with us our grieves and pains, but there were not nearly enough safe spaces to be stupid and make mistakes and learn how to deprogram yourself when you’ve pretty much been in a cult you’re entire life. Some people could do it, a lot couldn’t. They felt unheard. They voted.
Even dipped in white privilege and being out of the country, I am too multicultural to not feel intimately related to most of the world. America is my blood. The entire American continent, even the ones who come from those who colonized it, are my people. This problem is my problem and I wouldn’t have it any other way just like I wouldn’t leave my own sister out in the world like this. My privilege allows me fearless hope combined with my righteous anger and i plan to use everything I know how to do to benefit, provide, and help those who may need it most.I’m going to pay more attention to better understand politics despite it being like math to me. Corrupted Math. And I encourage you to do the same.And the very first step, is to listen. We have not been listening to the countries in war, we have not been listening to our people, we have not been listening our side of our bubble. We must be open to spreading knowledge, it is an ultimate weapon. If you don’t start listening now, that bubble will be popped. If you’re already listening, share what you are learning, share the knowledge you know, stomp the eggshells, shatter the bubble, speak your truth. We need to heal. And in order to do that, we’re going to have to shatter the stressed connections we had and be open to our culture, share it with people that are trying to learn, humanizewhat they are afraid of, show them what they have misunderstood.
On Self Love being revolutionary
In Self Love lies the strength that you have to offer society, or your community or country, or family or people. In Self Love is the understanding of who you truly are and what you bring. In Self Love is the sturdy grounds you need to know that you are worthy and of use to others. In Self Love is the confidence to speak your truth.
Now is not the time to be shy about who you are. Now is not the time to be selfish, and the first true act of generosity is with yourself. Figure out what that means and use it. Stop hating your body. Stop using the word fat as an insult. Some of us have crippling anxiety and depression and are biopolar and etc. Some of us think we’re in too much physical pain or limited movements to make a difference. That makes it hard to self love and I get that. But actively pursue what will make you happy. Believe in yourself again, because we need you. Figure out your light. What is it you offer? What is it you give that makes people happy? What can you do that may help someone in need? What do you have that someone might not? Don’t be stingy with who you are. And when you see someone being shamelessly them, celebrate them, let them know it, support them.And support your support system. If you don’r have a support group, find one, if you don’t know how to find one, google who you think you are. Look on Facebook. If that doesn’t work, write me. Don’t know how YOU can different, personally? Write me.
If we cannot abolish it, let us not let it control us. Do not despair.
If ever there was a time to exchange our cultures, and not put up a wall, and answer questions that maybe shouldn’t need to be asked but they are, now is that time. Knowledge is power. We can redefine, play with, and put a dent in how much racism is going to divide us. We can redefine lines that they have drawn for us. All for the sake of spreading information, and facilitating compassion, to things that are essential no matter what your revolutionary act looks like. That is the first step. We need informed people. Too many of us have been dozing and there have been so many that are awake. Listen to those that are woken. Hold YOURSELF accountable. We can no longer point fingers, rather, we must holds hands.Blaming is a waste of time. We have to make every day count now, and blaming is useless. Seeing the root of the problem, yes. Spending time talking about who fucked us, unless we move toward planning and strategizing, is simply distracting us from us holding ourselves accountable.
“It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant. Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.” – Kamala Harris, the first indian-american and second black woman ever elected to senate.
Life cycles through, we have wars, great depressions and unworthy villains, but we still thrive, persevere, laugh, share, succeed and love. No matter how meager 2016 might be, I got to live during the Era of people like Prince and queen Beyonce.
That’s still progress. We have all been through worse and advanced greatly. We come from survivors, peace makers, brilliant minds, fierce activists, brilliant politicians and conscious people in power, and we did that despite everything we’ve been through in history.
It’s stolen land and built upon the blood of many heroes, we must respect the history and unite with the strength and wisdom our ancestors left in us. Prioritize as a people. If we do not have ideas and actions, let us spread and share the ideas and actions of others. Let us let people into our culture so that we humanize our cultures. Let us remove the character from the cliché by giving them no choice but to acknowledge our humanity. Dronald Frumph is not the only criminal leader. Let us listen to each other. They are big but we are bigger. We must re-evaluate how we’ve been relating to each other and adapt to the times. Humanity is sick and we have to change our game plan and understand the new reality.
Opening our eyes
I didn’t used to like to see or even share the bloody images. It seemed like gratuitous violence, which a lot of is, and it upset me too much to see it. But I read the stories. And now I’m reading more of it. And not only that, I’m no longer turning away from the horrors so as to not “ruin my day”. My day has been ruined, and it will remain ruined until there is a level of livable peace again. So I will open my eyes to others’ pain. I will acknowledge them. I will learn their names.
Suicides have already happened. People are already gone. To a lot of us it does feel like the world has ended. We’re still here for you, who is alive. It’s a huge change and it’s going to take time. But any and all progress is necessary. There are many ideas out there already. Movements, protests, people with money and access that are also waking up.
Hope is hard, and fear is powerful.
Rebel against anything that causes separation between you and another person. Find the ways to at the least, listen and understand, and respect. Many of us did not listen. Many of us did not respect Dromal Flumph, treating him like nothing more than a joke, which while helpful for coping, is still dangerous. Not respecting the danger he posed and not listening to the rest of the people and remaining ignorant is on us. We know who we are.
Rearange social barriers . If we can’t diminish racism, let’s put a dent in what that means. If it’s going to be four years, let’s survive. Reform. But let us do everything for it to not come to that first. Open your eyes so that you see what you are up against. Open your eyes so that it doesn’t pull the rug from other you again. Open your eyes so that if ever you can do something else, you will know, you will be ready. Open your eyes because perhaps you are the Opressed, and your hate has blinded you too. This hate is not our own. It was created. Let us use our anger to also Listen. Racism has locked some white people into an image too, one that they do not know how to get out of either. In order to destroy racism, we must not let it rule our hearts. Our anger is warranted, yes, but so is our capacity to overthrow hate in the name of our personal freedom.
And if someone wants to be in the revolution, in this fight, then let us arm them with knowledge . Of perspective. Of understanding of our culture and humanity.
For the hopeful: Have hope, but do something. Are you saying “I hope…” or “let’s hope…” or “here’s hoping…”? Have hope . But do something.
Here’s some things you can do. Feel free to add to this list in the comments section.
Be weary of what you post – I am guilty of not doing this enough. But fact check before you post something. There is no need to spread hate if it’s not real, we can’t afford to spread more negativity that doesn’t even exist. But also fact check the good things, because people need real hope too. If you aren’t sure, and you don’t want to fact check, don’t share. If you’re called out, be gracious. If you see others posting false thing, graciously call them out. Be weary of your humor. Be sensitive to others. Listen.Call me out gently, I am listening. Call me out angrily, I am still listening, though it might take a second longer for me to get the message.
Speak Up – What are you, afraid that someone might not like you for being controversial? If you’re “controversial” by talking about the reality of the situation and trying to spread love, you dont WANT or NEED those people to like you. Let them judge you and get the fuck out of your life. If they can’t support you in wanting this world to better for everyone, and you’re still afraid they’re not going to like, you need to re-evaluate how genuine your desire to help is. Are you actually doing anything, or just inciting others to do it? Don’t be friends with people that don’t improve you, challenge you, and deserve your goodness. They are rotting you and your life.
Read, follow, and listen – to voices of color, the LGBT+ community, disabled people, WOMEN, latinxs, learn vocabulary you were maybe ignoring before, understand it. Inform yourself on what the OTHER SIDE has to say. I sometimes look for groups on Facebook that are followers of things I am battling against, just so that I can understand their point of view and how things are presented to them. I have realized that many people on “the other side” are just so intent with their refusal to see facts, they are unable to see facts when you present them to them.
Choose your battles – I was recently in a discussion with a French family member about the situation in the USA, and when I tried to explain to him that the popular vote had gone to Hillary Clinton, he just flat out said “no.” His TV had been giving him “facts” and information that was erroneous, he felt heard and like someone represented him, he felt intelligent in having things to add to the conversation, my argument would completely destroy his entire bubble. So his response was simply “no”. So instead of getting angry with him, I realized I was not going to be able to do anything there. So I continue to read on things I CAN control and do. Maybe in my reading I will find a better response for next time. For now, I keep informing myself of better ways to be effective.
Write. Draw. Speak. Build. Dance. Delegate. : This is where Self Love comes in. So long as you care, there will always be something you can do. Whatever your talent is, whatever your gift, whether it just be knowing how to listen to people, or make them laugh, cook for them, taking care of them, or go out and be active in your community, it is all good so long as you are always trying to do something. If you can’t think of something, keep reading my blogs, contact me, or google “what can I do to help (insert group youd like to help)?”. You first have to believe that something can be done. If you say that nothing can be done, not only are you wrong, but you’re choosing to remain blind so as to not assume responsibility. And lose any valid right to complain about what “they” are or aren’t doing. We are they. The longer it takes us to realize this the longer for things to get set back to where there is balance.
Listen to marginalized voices: This one is so unbelievably important. This is by no means a comprehensive list but it is ones that I follow and like, and maybe they will lead you to other voices that you will follow and like. Either way, starting somewhere is incredibly important.
–Priscilla Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is founder of Latina Rebels, writes at the Huffington Post, Vivala, Philadelphia Printworks, and probably a million other places. She is also a speaker, and a personal favorite of mine in general.
–Franchesca Leigh is a Youtube Star turned comedian, social activist and now appears on MTV’s Decoded and The Nightly Show.
–Luvvie Ajayi just wrote a book that went to instant best seller about how to do better. Besides being a writer and blogger, she’s also a comedian in her right, totally brilliant way of slicing through and getting the message across in a way that’s going to make you laugh even if it means checking yourself. Actually, she does so many other things I got lost trying to link you to it all. You can follow her facebook here.
–Evvelyn from the Internet is a YouTube Star that vlogs about her every day, except she’s hilarious and her way of expressing herself is so funny, she can talk to you about the world ending and you will feel somehow hopeful and calm afterward.
Self Care is essential. We need you: Are you balancing out what you’re taking in? Before, it was as if we cast aside the need to take care of ourselves because we couldn’t afford to take time for ourselves. Now, it’s gotten so bad, we can’t afford to not take care of ourselves. Disconnect from the computer, from social media, watch videos that help you relax, or that help you sort out your emotions. Stop listening to the sad songs, or at least make sure you are listening to more empowering music. Draw bubble baths, do martial arts, go jogging, play chess, read, play mindless games on your phone. Whatever it takes to help you get restored. This following video was a video that helped me deal with my emotions after the elections.
I’ve also been watching a lot of TV shows that have got me pumped up and ready to deal with all of this. The Walking Dead has helped my emotions sort of balance out my having things play out on the TV that I can’t control but still give me hope. In a way, Rick and Michonne and the rest of the cast is part of my support group. Which leads me to the final point that I’d like to make:
8. Invest in a support group: They are hard to find and hard to build. People that not very good at relationships might have a hard time establishing a support group because of their belief that they are not good enough. This is also why Self Love is so essential. Believe that you deserve a support group. Very often people want to care for you, but due to our low levels of self esteem or ultimate grumpiness, we push people away. Right now is the time to check yourself, to love yourself, to let yourself be loved. If you already have a support group, make sure that it is not one big pool of bobbleheads. The point of a support group should be in supporting you to be your best self, and that doesnt come from always telling you what you want to hear and never challenging you. Gentle call outs and the ability to love you despite disagreements and faults is an essential part of any relationship. Support groups are no different. Get yourself a support group that helps you grow, not stagnates you by agreeing to everything you say without causing you to question anything ever.
That would conclude, for now, this lengthy blog post. However I have much more to say, and I know you do too because of all the conversations we’ve been having. Over the next few days and weeks I will be trying to sort out my thoughts in blog form and respond to articles and things I read. Feel free to start a conversation with me, to kindly disagree with me, to provide valid sources for any information you would like to share, and to share your stories with me. I’m listening. I care. I will give you a platform to be heard as well, if that is what you need. I leave you with a beautiful video by Nahko and Medicine for the People, and more articles to read that about “what you can do”.