I know you feel broken, disheartened, frustrated, lost, angry. I know this because I feel it too. I have spent my life as an educator. As a social justice activist. As a woke white woman always striving to learn more about the ways my whiteness has oppressed and continues to oppress people living on the margins of society. I grew up on the margins, and I've been able to understand the effects of what it means to live on the margins of this society and its impact on me immensely.
As a woman, I feel the deep effects and impact of PTSD. From growing up in a family of domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual, physical and emotional abuse, and a family of chaos-- I have realized that every day I am triggered. And I know I am not alone. I know that my black and brown and Asian and indigenous and multi-ethnic, lesbian, trans, bisexual sisters feel this every day and have for all of their lives. I find myself growing angered and triggered at every interactionwieh men -- with a man on the train who takes up more space than he needs, to the man who repeats my comment in a board meeting, to a male co-worker who consistently talks to me like I have no professional degree and no experience in what I do, to the men who cut me in line waiting to order food. In our current political and social climate in the U.S. these moments create an intensified triggering effect on me from the years of experience sexism in the home, at work, and in everyday life. I find I am often coming home tired and exhausted from holding the weight of this anger and the battle I feel I have to fight most days. And I know I am not alone. And I know my battle is light in comparison to what other women of color experience. But this isn't about comparison. This is about community. This is about coming together to be bound by our own liberation.
What I've realized in this last month, is that the world needs you, and it needs me. It needs the fierce warrior feminine spirit that we are. Scrolling through the news and seeing the constant updates about the U.S. Adminsitration's continuous acts of bigotry and hate against marginalized peoples is exhausting. And it's important for us to pause, to take time for ourselves, to disconnect and restore that quiet warrior spirit within us. So we can get back up and fight the next day. We are needed more now than ever. To battle against the forces that have continued to oppress the other for generations upon generations. So when you're feeling frustrated, disempowered, embattled, sad, lost, helpless, confused, or angry. Know that you are not alone. Know that this feeling is normal and natural and you are getting to know your true strength. It is your body's signal to say, "take care of yourself", slow down, you got this". Three simple ways you can do this...
- Pause. Close your eyes. Inhale fully. Exhale Fully. Release. Drop your shoulders and gently shake your head no. Connect with your breath. Take three full inhales and exhales deeply. With each exhale out the mouth to release whatever is being held within. Flutter your eyes open and smile.
- Give yourself a Hug. wrap those beautiful long arms around you and squeeze. Yea, going back to those middle school days, pretend you got a sweet lover who is holding you. that sweet lover is you. You deserve a little love and some hugs.
- Connect. Reach out to your tribe-- a close friend or someone who can hold space for you. Who isn't there to complain or add stress to the already weight you're holding. Someone who can look you in the eye and say, "You got this".
I find that doing these three simple things, I'm able to restore myself in a short period of time. And of course there are many other practices that can help to address the weight of PTSD, oppression, or general stress. In the meantime, keep fighting, keep resisting, keep speaking up for what you deserve. The world needs you and me and we're in this together.