Listening, Learning & Growing
There are a lot of things to unpack in terms of understanding what is happening at this very moment in time, and what has undoubtedly been happening for what to many must feel like an endless amount of time, their entire existence perhaps. While there is much to be learned on my end I know that I can empathize with feelings of judgement and discrimination at times for my gender specifically. I have a small semblance of understanding when it comes to actions that are perceived as those of my gender specifically. What I also know is that my actions are not perceived as those of my race and for that I cannot empathize with the pain of others suppressed by racism.
While I in no way will ever compare my small handful of hurtful and degrading experiences with the magnitude of racism others have faced, I have experienced a very small glimpse through the window and into the world of what it means to be encouraged to hate yourself because others are telling you you’re different, incapable or inferior. These kinds of experiences can cause you to unwillingly turn the gaze inward and make you feel like you’ve done something wrong all the while trying to somehow untangle the knots of why the point of comparison exists and how and why that specific pillar was determined and why we use it as a tool of measurement.
I celebrate and am in awe of what it must feel like to harbour those injustices and still be brave enough to speak up, to shout out and to call for action and change.
I think the true joy of humankind is celebrating the ways in which we are different as it brings edge and passion to the world, while still celebrating that we are inextricably tied together by our beating hearts, the brilliant capacity of our minds, and our curiosity for wonder, adventure and splendor in the sometimes complex, but often simple things life can offer us.
In drawing a personal parallel, my long battle with anxiety has offered me perspective on what it means for something to be present and to be occurring without seeing it and experiencing it first-hand and consistently. The danger is ignoring that ‘it’ exists and not putting in genuine time and effort to acknowledge its existence and work to better it.
Even if it’s not happening to me or right in front of my face at any particular given moment in time it does not mean that it’s not present, that it’s not building up, that it can’t strike at any point in time.
I have learned that glazing over it and suppressing its existence is no way to live; the agony those dark moments cause can almost always be prevented with education, effort and the will to exercise change for betterment.
Though I have no definite answers, my heart and head have offered insight in that we cannot continue to solve these things by and with mass opinions and mass hate. Each individual must turn the gaze inward and work to recognize and resolve their reasons for seeing and feeling things the way they do, being supported through their education of understanding that those prejudices and rooted feelings of hatred ingrained in them or chosen by them are not the answer. This will continue to take time, continue to take effort and continue to take more and more voices outwardly saying they are willing to see the change through.
We can do better and now more than ever the world needs each of us to do our part no matter how big or how small. I look forward to continuing my education and learning how I can sustainably offer support and contribute to resolve in a real way. I know I celebrate and encourage diversity and will continue to do so as we all move forward and learn more about what else I can do and what I can offer to support and encourage change.
I have spent time as of late educating myself and familiarizing myself with resources offered to communities of colour and diverse ethnicities and resonate deeply with the initiatives of two foundations and saw an opportunity to offer my support locally and across the border.
Focus For Ethnic Women in the Waterloo Region is a foundation that empowers women to achieve their full potential by offering them the support they need to thrive in the new environment they have immigrated to. Immigration is close to my heart, knowing I have the life I do because my parents and grandparents immigrated to a new country to welcome the opportunities for betterment it could bring them and will never know the difficulties or injustices they have experienced as immigrants to a new country.
The Loveland Foundation in the US is a foundation that raises money making it possible for black women and girls to receive therapy support. I know all of the resources that have been made available to me in my mental health journey and feel very passionately that all of us should be able to access the same support and resources. Support for mental health in my mind should be a right afforded to all of us.
I have chosen to donate to these causes, if you feel these foundations resonate with you and you are looking for a place to start in your journey of support I encourage you to learn more about them by visiting few.on.ca and thelovelandfoundation.org.
Though I am in no way suggesting a financial contribution, a few minutes spent understanding these initiatives can if anything offer perspective and that’s a really great place to start.