After the events in Charlottesville this past weekend there are many of us who are desperately wanting to do something. To say the right thing or take the right action or put our hearts forward in some sort of meaningful way as we struggle with the implications of what we’ve witnessed.
Over the last couple of days I have overheard people disparaging, devaluing, and underestimating the things that they can do because they wish it were more. I have seen humans grappling with the responsibility for the pain in the world at the cost of their ability to take action.
Let’s be real. If you are a White person on this planet right now, a lot of the pain in the world is a by product of the White supremacist and patriarchal system that you benefit from. This toxic Whiteness is yours to dismantle, but it is not only yours to dismantle.
Racism is not an individual act of discrimination or a torch wielding klansman. Racism is the system that holds much of the developing world together, and we will need to show up both in our individual communities and on a global scale to combat that.
It can be a lot to reckon with, but reckoning with it is your birthright.
If you were horrified watching the events of this past weekend, consider it an invitation.
Resist the urge to separate yourself from those bad White people over there.
Resist the urge to hide out and refuse to confront your own internal biases. (We all have them.)
Resist the urge to spiritually bypass your feelings by trying to will them into something prettier.
It can be hard to talk about it, but we must. We must not rely on the emotional labor of people of color to do the heavy lifting. We have these conversations at the dinner table, in bed lying next to the ones we love, and when we teach our children about right and wrong.
As a White woman, I must use my voice and this platform to talk about issues of race, because self-care and self-empowerment are not just for those who exist in a privileged bubble. All of the humans on this planet require tending. Tending is the compassionate structure and loving care that enables us to show up in our homes, relationships, and communities as the strongest and most powerful versions of ourselves so that we can be of service in a way that only we can.
As we move forward, we are assisted by remembering that we do not have to do everything to be effective. The resistance needs all kinds of humans. It needs the people who are ready, able, and willing to stand in the face of fascism. It also needs people who are ready, able, and willing to write letters, call elected officials, and run for office. It needs people who are brave enough to have conversations with their neighbors and families.
Your actions don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of your effort.
This time in history is demanding. Our world is at a breaking point in so many ways. There is a lot of pain to attend to and old mindsets to dismantle.
The world needs your imperfect action and your voice.
The world needs you to stand up for what you think is right and protect those that you love.
You do not have to do it all today, but you can do something today.
You could donate to a cause that you believe in.
You could volunteer at an organization that serves marginalized communities.
You could amplify the words of people of color by sharing them within your social networks.
You could have a conversation with someone the next time you hear them say something racist in the grocery story.
Taking imperfect action is infinitely better than staying locked away behind your fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.
No matter what it is that you choose to do, don’t forget to take care of yourself. This is really (really) important.
Positively impacting the world has to start with nourishing your body, getting the rest that you require, and putting down your devices to connect with people in real time.
Learning how to claim space in your own life and tend to your needs are the backbone of your continued ability to show up for the things you care about.
Collective tending is fueled by personal tending, because are all humbled by our human need for hydration, support, belonging, rest, community, love, and safety.
It is enormously vulnerable to remain open to our feelings and the neediness of our bodies, but so much healing can occur we are open to our humanity. We are connected in our neediness, more alike than we are different.
Refuse to take your needs off of the table when things feel overwhelming, because your needs become more important when things get difficult, not less.
You are the vessel for your voice, your personal power, and your heart.
The events that led to the violence in Charlottesville this past weekend didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be dismantled overnight either. If we want to enact real change we are going to have to keep showing up in whatever way we are able. The world needs you for the duration and in order to answer that call, you are going to have to take really good care of yourself.
Don’t look away but don’t allow yourself to get suckered into believing that “doing a good job” means “sacrificing all of your needs.”
We need one another, whole and vibrant. We belong to one another, but in order to show up honestly, we cannot forget to also belong to ourselves.
We need you, at the fullest expression of who you are.
I’m so glad to have you at my side.