My JennieB Coaching email normally goes out on Monday nights. It usually takes me between 30-60 minutes to write an email, and I typically do it early in the afternoon on Mondays. Yesterday was an exception. I had a topic planned out however it just didn’t seem quite right in the midst of national upheaval over race, demonstrations, death and destruction. I felt like I had to say something. So as I watched my Facebook feed, I made notes.
My Facebook feed is pretty tightly curated. I have hidden or unfriended people who’s messages are not uplifting. But, my feed was full and it seemed like everyone had their own take on what I should do because I am a white person who has white privilege. The more I read, the more confused I became. Advice was contradictory and comments were swift and passionate. It seemed like everyone was pointing a finger and calling everyone else racist.
I was afraid and uneasy. I didn’t want to make a mistake with the tone or message of my email. I didn’t want people to point their finger at me and tell me that I was doing it all wrong. I felt anxious sitting at my computer. If I say something, to some it’s going to be wrong. If I don’t say something, to others I am wrong.
I don’t like being wrong.
I felt anxious, I felt fearful, I felt defensive, I felt confused. I had a LOT of feelings.
It’s OK to have a lot of feelings. It was even OK for me to step away from my computer after struggling for hours about what to write about in my email.
This morning brought clarity, although I still might get it wrong. People might not like what I have to say. They might disagree – even loudly and passionately. That’s OK. I don’t know exactly what to do, but I can do one thing, and then I can do another and then I can do more, each right step building on the previous step.
I am listening. I am trying to understand. I bought a book – and then another. I started reading “Me and White Supremacy“, a book recommended by a friend who is mixed race. I am doing the exercises and I am learning. The exercises are hard to do. They help me understand that there are things about race that I haven’t had the eyes to see or ears to hear.
I still feel anxious, fearful, defensive and confused. I think that’s part of the lessons I am learning. I keep wanting to make great plans and goals for how I am going to change. How I will be different because of what is happening in our country right now, but I have been through this many times over the years. I want this time to be different, and instead of promises and goals, I am going to do one thing and learn from it and then choose another thing and learn from that. I want to open my eyes and see, and hear with my ears and feel with my heart. That’s my message this week.
May we each examine our thoughts and feelings on these topics, and wherever we are, consciously act with greater compassion from a place of understanding.