I’ve been quiet, simply because I didn’t have much to say, or if I said anything, it wouldn’t have been original, or it would have seemed like a reach. Instead, I thought for a long time and have come to these conclusions, none of which are earth-shattering, but it will show you where I am (currently):
-Advocate: in the best ways we can, we need to advocate for those who are marginalized. And so many are marginalized. At this time and for the long haul, supporting Black lives in getting true equality in treatment and care is critical. It is criminal that it has taken us (I’m including myself, because, even though I considered myself an ally, I didn’t speak up and out as often as I should have in the past) this long to do the messy, uncomfortable work of facing internalized racist and otherwise hateful structures. The most effective way I’ve found to be helpful in this regard is in one-on-one conversations. They tend to be quite uncomfortable and painful for me (who is just not a “hey! Let’s talk to other people” type) and that is okay and necessary because it is needed, and it is the only possible way that some of these people will be introduced to other ways of thinking. Of course, I’ve been e-mailing, calling, etc. to voice my concerns to those in power, though I don’t know how much of a difference that does. There are social media posts, which I’ve resorted to sharing if I feel they’re informative. I know some don’t believe I’m visibly posting enough, and for that, I ask, for whom? So that fellow allies see how much I care, or so they can nod in agreement with what I post? Most of the people who need to turn around their understanding of their own inherent racism will either ignore or rebuke those posts.
And advocacy doesn’t stop there. I’ve been learning more about a lot of the horrors that Native Americans experience now, and we need to show up for them, as well. Of course, this month that is fast closing is Pride month, and we need to support GLBT+ in their battles resulting in hatefulness directed our/their way. (I feel like I more or less fit into this group, as someone who currently identifies as Asexual, but also don’t really feel like I quite fit, either, so…I never know how to address this…except, really, in all of these cases, we shouldn’t be thinking in “Other” terms, but as how we can support our fellow humans and eradicate antiquated, hate-filled attitudes.)
-Allow: So much allowing is necessary. Allow outdated systems that don’t work for us to crumble and crash down. Allow and accept that we are uncomfortable and we’re going to be in this uncomfortable place for a long time. Allow for ongoing time to learn. And allow for taking breaks to rest. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure you fill yours up.
-Adjust: Recognize the myriad of adjustments needed to ever learning, ever moving forward. Adjust your thinking to realize we might not be able to grasp all the possibilities our new futures can hold. Adjust to every unexpected thing that shows up in our path. (And in 2020, there have been a LOT of unexpected things showing up for us!)
None of this is easy. All of it is messy. We need to do what we can. And chat with each other for support along the way.
My own path is still quite foggy. I have been continuing to learn about plant medicines, and I know for certain the directions I shouldn’t go, not quite sure how I will be extending this to others beyond using my knowledge to help my own health and wellness. I know my workplace is barely hanging on at the moment, and we’re going to be experiencing more cuts. And there’s not a lot out there at this time, especially for someone who is wayward with her personal direction and would like to be paid at least a little closer to her worth.
So, like you, I’m trying. A step at a time. Learn what I can. Make mistakes, learn from them, do better. Keep kindness in mind. And we’ll figure out a new way, even if we all have no idea what that way is right now.