I have sat at my computer countless times over the past months, trying to find the way to pick this up again. And this past week, it was a daily occurrence. Every day I wrote but the words didn’t seem to come out right, and with the current events changing with each passing day, so too, were my thoughts.
Since lockdown began I’ve been learning to navigate my inner being while trying to learn how I feel about what is unfolding. I have a very different opinion to the majority. This has been made quite clear to me. I have been labelled a conspiracy theorist by more people than I’d like to admit. It took me a while to be ok with that, and now I am.
It took me a while to deal with uncertainty, however, I managed. Life is never certain, we’re only fooling ourselves when we try to make those 3 month, 6 month & 5-year plans – it’s my experience that no matter how much I plan, life often has plans of its own.
I took me a while to deal with anger. This was a foreign concept for me. An emotion I feel ashamed to admit I have, an emotion I find difficult to sit with and even more difficult to express (“good girls” don’t get angry). I learned moving my body helped. Dance and running became medicine. There’s only so much journaling and meditation can do, and there comes a time when emotions (energy in motion) need to do just that and work themselves out of your system.
It took me a while to realize that keeping my mouth shut was at the root of all I was feeling. Because I was met with resistance when I first spoke up about what felt true to me, I decided early on, I was done trying to make my views known. The more I silenced myself the more I began to unravel. I dipped in and out of eerily familiar states and habits. I felt muzzled. I felt caged. And as I explained this to a friend one day, I realized that one lesson that I’m taking away from all of this, is that we must, no matter how scary, how hard, how uncomfortable, we must speak our truth. Even when your stomach is turning and your hands are sweaty and you feel your whole body vibrate faster than usual – you speak up. I’m trying to do this in baby steps and it’s still hard and I’m failing at it. I actually listened to a podcast the other day entitled “How to Disagree with Someone” not that I intend to actively seek out arguments but I have never (well rarely) been in a debate. I have always backed down. I have always gone silent, I have always nodded and kept my emotions in check. My default state was to shut down. I find it hard to hold 2 opposing views in my mind at the same time but this is a skill I want to practice, because if I’m going to start speaking my truth, then there’s probably a good chance that I may have to back up my opinions and thoughts in a coherent way.
I’ve debated about commenting on the BLM issue we’re currently facing but I’m still trying to figure out what my truth is surrounding that. I’ve been thinking about this issue so much, trying to learn what I can, trying to educate myself, trying to sit with the residue of guilt on my hands as a white person, but I am sick of people assuming that ones’ silence means they don’t care. White people are attacking white people for not shouting louder from their social platforms. At a time when we need unity, all I see is division growing. I’ve taken a step back from social media because it became too much. I had a friend comment saying I was escaping the issue, taking the easy way out and not doing my part. And I disagree. We all process things in different ways. This is a time to retreat, to reflect and to move forward with changed actions. I don’t care what you “re-post” to your social media handle I care what conversations you’re having with you’re family and friends. I care that you are trying to process this in a way that makes sense to you and that doesn’t need to be broadcasted to anyone. It never does.
Sometimes speaking our truth means speaking it to ourselves first. Finding our voice within is the first step, and it’s an important step or else we go out into the world speaking words that aren’t ours. We can recycle opinions and pass them off as our own but I find this disempowering and when you’re challenged it’s even harder to find your footing. I’m struggling to find my footing at the moment and I know when this is all over I need to have steadied myself. I need to be able to stand in my truth and speak up and it’s something that takes practice. I’m coming back to this place to find my footing, to say things I may later take back, to make mistakes, to divulge too much of my heart at once. I need to practice using my voice because I spent my whole life trying to silence it.