I had been sitting with this idea that Black America is the shadow side of White America that wants to be forgotten. That like the movie Inside Out they want to draw a circle around us and confine us to specific spaces and tasks. I’ve felt this for a while because when I look at the group behavior of each side in these racially charged violent accounts in the last year or so, it just feels like that moment where someone is pushing so hard against you not because they want to be free of you, but because they want you to fight and hold them tight. “Acknowledge me and affirm my value!” It’s the cry that I keep hearing no matter the changing names of the faces of the perpetrators or the victims.
So I’d been sitting with that. And on a more personal level, trying hard to do “my work” to combat this anxiety stuff. When you don’t know which triggers are going to be the triggers, you kind of work through all of them to see what’s what. It’s like checking all of the Christmas tree lights on a strand. And just like the fight for recognition I feel Black people are having, I am housing my own war within me. I’ll call myself out guided by the things I tend to be most critical about it others (see photo)
- I judge others for being what I perceive to be as weak because I do not want to face the limits of my own abilities.
- I judge others for being stagnant because I do not want to own the part of me that craves security. There is both a love and a hate of predictability and routine. Mostly though it suffocates me.
- I judge others for being naive because I do not want to face that not everything is how I make sense of it.
- I judge others for talking too much because I do not want to face my own insecurity with my voice. I consider them to be self-important when in fact it is I who does not often see myself as important enough.
And as I sat with my judgments and moreso, what each judgment said about me, I felt ashamed but also proud. Ashamed that I judge people at all when I know I know that we are all trying the very best that we can. Then pride that I could look myself inward towards my spirit and say there are pieces of you I ignore and I would like to acknowledge you now. You have value to me in my life. You are of me. You matter.
It didn’t change anything. There was not miraculous moment of catharsis or a big promise never to judge again. Instead it was just the quiet recognition that despite all things, I am doing my “work”.
And for the first time in a long time I wondered, how is this “work” going to affect my dissertation research?