I’ve been awake!

I didn’t just wake up and realize there are injustices in the world, and that some of us are more valued than others. 

You are becoming aware of some of your advantages. 

We may have not understood, what privilege meant or knew how to express our experience, but we knew we were and are the “other”. 

Privilege is inherited from centuries of racism, prejudice, and the unequal distribution of wealth and lifesaving resources like healthcare. 

Something that is considered a basic human right, healthcare. I witnessed and experienced first-hand, the consequences of not having access to adequate healthcare. This inequality will affect our well-being for the rest of our lives.

You may come from a world in which your character, abilities, and intentions were rarely questioned. Your experiences and how the world views you, makes it a norm for you to speak up, be assertive, and confident. Imagine experiencing the opposite and being an adult that seeks outside approval to feel valued, competent, and worthy. Someone who always works harder than most, to keep a friendship and fears being alone. That colleague that works themselves to exhaustion, just to be noticed and maybe get a chance. 

Imagine being silent because the world has told you repeatedly, “you’re less than, something is wrong with you, you don’t belong here, you are replaceable, you are meant to succeed in certain things, you are a lot, why are you yelling? Are you angry? What’s wrong with you? What are you?…….” 

See, even if we all came from poverty and lacked generational wealth, you still will never know what it feels like to be us. 

I’m not just now becoming aware that injustices exist. As Whoopi Goldberg said, “I’m not becoming woke, I’ve never been asleep.”, and I’m exhausted. 

What I am gaining is self-awareness, self-compassion, self-reflection, self-acceptance, and self-love. 

I am now aware, of what my experiences have done to my views of the world and how I view myself in relation to others. 

I am aware of how these experiences have affected my spiritual, mental, and physical health. 

I am aware of how my stereotypes are used directly and indirectly, consciously, or subconsciously, to limit my success and general well-being. 

I’m aware that when I speak up it may make you uncomfortable—I’ve lived uncomfortable in my skin for 35 years. So, when you say we are becoming “woke”, remember that your revelations and “ah ha” moments, may be someone’s reality. 

Be willing to learn from those you want to become an ally to.  Remember everyone’s experience is different, so please don’t use me as an example, for everyone that looks like me.

Be willing to listen, understand, and empathize with us. Envision what your life, would’ve been like if you walked in our shoes. 

Only when we are willing to listen and learn can we truly be “woke”. If you’re doing most of the talking, you are not listening. If you are not taking action, you are being complacent. If you are not even aware, you are contributing to the system that values some and devalues others.  

See below for more information:

What Does it Mean to Be “Woke”?

Let’s get to the root of racial injustice | Megan Ming Francis | TEDxRainier

People of Colour From Around the World Respond to “White”

Netflix Culture: Allyship

Are they really “Micro” agressions?

Are they murdering our spirits? What do you think?

Microaggressions are poisonous comments, acts, and behaviors that may not kill your spirit in one dose, but if you consume it enough, it can kill you. We experience this on a daily basis, in all environments, and at times they are so subtle, we may question our own sanity. Am I really seeing this? Am I being to sensitive? Maybe they didn’t mean it!

These comments, acts and behaviors begin at an early age and they shape how the world views us and how we view ourselves. These experiences may stop us from speaking up, applying for that job, the types of relationships we have etc. To unlearn these experiences and live a healthy life in which you value who you truly are, we must unlearn what we have been taught, form our own definitions of who we are and represent, and build the courage to show up genuinely. This is not easy but it’s worth it.

In a manuscript called, We Deserve More Than This: Spirit Murdering and Resurrection in the Academy Wright-Mair and Pulido, state the importance of identifying our shared experiences and using them to build coalitions around common causes. What really resonates with me is when Wright-Mair and Pulido, explain the harm oppressive systems have on our minds, bodies, and souls. The term “spirit murdering”, seemed very theatrical to me and my initial reaction was to not take it seriously. However, my awareness has increased and I have physically experienced the effects trauma, can have on my body. I can now appreciate the harm institutions embracing oppressive systems have on racially minoritized people. “To have your spirit murdered is to feel a physical reaction that often results in hospitalizations, new medical diagnosis, and increased awareness around depleting mental health.” (Wright-Mair & Pulido, 2021, p. 116). In my own journey to self-love and acceptance, even when healing from past trauma, my body remembers the effects and I suffer from physical pain and other medical diagnoses.

I recently discussed this topic with a colleague and she pointed out this quote from Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist, “

“I do not use “microaggression” anymore. I detest the post-racial platform that supported its sudden popularity. I detest its component parts—“ micro” and “aggression.” A persistent daily low hum of racist abuse is not minor. I use the term “abuse” because aggression is not as exacting a term. Abuse accurately describes the action and its effects on people: distress, anger, worry, depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue, and suicide. What other people call racial microaggressions I call racist abuse. And I call the zero-tolerance policies preventing and punishing these abusers what they are: antiracist. Only racists shy away from the R-word—racism is steeped in denial.”

I agree with Kendi, now that I am aware of how my experiences have impacted my quality of life and have witnessed the full effects of these racial/prejudicial abusive acts have on others.

References:

Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be an Antiracist. New York: One World, 2019

Wright-Mair, R., & Pulido, G. (2021, March). We Deserve More than This: Spirit Murdering and Resurrection in the Academy. Educational Foundations, 34(1), 110-131.

Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RfwnibEd3A

I decided to be kind…Why?

I am kind because…

I got tired of waiting for the world to be kind to me.

I decided, enough is enough!

Through my journey of self-love, I began to show up and be the person I would want to be around.

I decided to be patient and meet people where they are, not where the world thinks they should be.

I decided to get to know others, by being authentic, honest, and consistent; while also respecting boundaries.

I decided to listen actively because I know not only the loudest have something to say.

I decided to empower those who have lived in the shadows because I am just now coming into my light.

I decided to celebrate diversity and surround myself with those I may share something with, but with who I bond over our differences.

I decided that even though I have been hurt, I don’t want to hurt others.

I decided being alone is not because I’m unlovable…

Being alone is a transition, a time to heal, a time to find my voice, a time to find what I love about ME and accept what I don’t love about ME.

I decided I want to be that safe space I was looking for.

A place where I can be authentically Stephany and know I won’t be judged, hurt, humiliated…

I am all of my identities and that is beautiful!

Some of my identities: a woman, Afro-Latinx, Caribbean, Indigenous, Spanish, queer, empath, gentle, tough, feminist, spiritual, daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, friend, co-worker, colleague, future mother, future partner in life…etc.

I Call Her “Kind Eyes”