Flying Buttresses of Love

Thank you for your love and healing and support. I feel support coming from the universe. Like butresses flying in from afar to prop me up when I’m about to crumble. I feel so much love and joy for each of you.

I wish to express gratitude with hugs. I miss being in space with each of you and sharing food. And even noticed how you all remind me of different plants or fruits or veggies. I think it’s a mix of you relating to these items of sustenance conceptually and also from sharing and eating things together with you. Moments of connection of connection with you give me life and joy in my soul for days and days.

Breath, tea, books, blankets… am I still just searching for an escape? Intellectualization, yes. Production, no. I’m not listening to that part in my gut that governs when I actually do something. That thing that take place in the midsection converting thought to action. I’ve been avoiding, curling and hunching over, in an effort to cover up and not fix where I’m ripped at the seams. I’ve wounded myself not listening to my body and feel frozen in fear… or avoidance? I feel grounded in knowledge but unable to apply simple aspects for healing myself. Time is always the excuse. I’ve scheduled time for things I’ve avoided. I’m ready to connect to the parts of me where I’ve done harm and tried to cover it up.

What gates am I keeping?

Is the disavowal of power so complete that I fail to see how I am a gatekeeper? Why is it, the only example that comes readily to mind is work life? Why, if this is so obvious, am I not more proud of the ways I am showing up and gatekeeping in that space? Why was it so hard for me to see how vital a role I play in this everyday with my children? Why am I not extremely proud of how I am showing up and loving them and listening to them and talking to them while doing this work?

Why am I choosing to struggle alone and in silence? Choosing victimization and individuality and competition instead of vulnerability and openness and connection is an example of how I’m living in the disavowal of power. I’m so grateful for writings and work of others. I’d forgotten how much it helps to expand my brain and heart.

I guess I feel confused and not validated enough to continually be aware of the power I hold. In this unpracticed space I don’t feel ready or able to defend myself. I feel human connection in white women’s space where we are working on being aware of all the pieces of internalized racial superiority that inform our thoughts and actions. I don’t feel that same connection outside of the group. I feel surrounded by opposition and ignorance. I feel watched and judged. I feel weak and unable to defend my power or remember that it exists everyday.

I appreciate the reminders that I am not alone in any of this. I’m not as individualized in my struggle with this as I love to think about myself. I love the freedom that has opened in just imagining less tangible places where I am a powerful gatekeeper. I realize there is more power here than I imagined possible. A real power unlike the patriarchal, capitalist racist power modeled everywhere. The power to just be.

The funny thing is that I would just like to get my work done first, because someone is watching… even if it’s just the neighbors.

Integration/Dissociation

Integration is a word that is coming up a lot for me recently, in particular noticing the ways that integration is showing up in what arises from my work, what comes out of my creative projects: images, language, ideas, concepts, and to see in those product the integration that has happened in the meantime, the small changes that happen day to day. I see integration of physical and psychological selves as I intuitively change positions and move my body as I work, not feeling dissociated from what my body needs. I see integration of anti-racism work and family dynamics work as I feel more centered and within myself talking with family members about race, politics, and other topics that typically pull me away from myself. I see integration of trust in my own less-known parts of self, as I watch those parts not just function but flourish when given time and space to express themselves without curation.

Integration as a word also cannot exist without the social associations and uses of the word, and there are two that ring out loud for me: integration as a social descriptor, tidily defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as the bringing into equal membership of a common society those groups or persons previously discriminated against on racial or cultural grounds. (Another project for another day: noting the centering implied in the “standardized” definitions – in this description I cannot ignore the “bringing into” and the invisible who that holds gatekeeping power to bring “those groups or persons previously discriminated against” in, and the seemingly-innocuous “into” of equal membership – membership to what common society – designed by and for who, equality considered how?) And as a psychologist, integration as one of those words that lives in the top compartment of the toolbox, used often and for many projects, the combining of diverse parts into a complex whole; a complex state the parts of which are distinguishable; the harmonious combination of the different elements in a personality. Along with a few other top-compartment words: resonate, agency, power-dynamics, hardly a session went by without some reference, either by me or a client, referring to integration or dissociation – the ways in which we come together or fall apart internally/the ways in which we come together or fall apart with others. Sometimes the public and private integrations/dissociations happen in tandem, sometimes cycling through their own paths and patterns.

Over the break from meetings for WWG5 in January, I thought often about the sensing of integration/dissociation that comes up in waves for me as I relate to our group as a whole. In November/December I was feeling more dissociated at times during group meetings, even as my sense of integration with individuals and concepts and the family history project was feeling robust when not in group meetings. A constellation of contributing factors all announced themselves as relevant: I recognized feeling disoriented learning that A and F were both leaving or had left Pittsburgh. I recognized feeling tension between my appreciation of the group expansions both with WWG3 members and B, and also the discombobulated feelings that came up (and that I felt somewhat ashamed about) when I realized I missed the consistency of the cohort group. I recognized greater access to my feelings of anger and disappointment at the big W “world” and the big P “pandemic” that have asked us for a year now to be creative in connecting – that yes, there is a gift in that flexibility but that it also just genuinely sucks to not see micro-expressions on faces, not get the necessary 9 hugs per day (I think F says 7, but I’ve always rounded it up, greedy for hugs), not share food, not feel the hive-buzz of energy on any given meeting day. At our last meeting, after a month off, I found myself feeling more of the integration than before – and recognizing that there was a lot of familiar comfort in that meeting: the entire cohort group, the happiness at seeing faces missed, the opportunity to meet another person’s family. And still, there is an anxious, younger part of me that wants to pipe up from the backseat of the car and ask the adults: where are we going? And really, that is a very literal question, not a conceptual one. I am comfortable with the unknowns of the family history project, the unknowns of the shape of anti-racism work, the unknowns of my own emotional experiences day-to-day. The anxious younger part of me is interested in logistics and plans. How long will A facilitate? How collaborative will planning be between WWG3 and WWG5? Who is talking about what and how does this conversation come into our group space? These questions annoy me – my adult self is bothered by them and wants to give all the pithy lines: it’s all in the process, use your words, those details don’t matter in the big picture… and anxious, younger me still wants to know more about what the future(s) might look like, and I need to let her have that experience too.

Family History Project

My energy and attention around family history have pivoted to an area in which I’ve been very blocked – Family photos. Family photos have existed solely in a cluster of boxes in my various basements and closets for over a decade. I don’t have family photos around my house. Through avoidance I have subtly erased my family and huge parts of my own history. Some how this project and a weirdly vivid and prophetic pre-pandemic dream finally enabled me to break this invisible barrier. I am waist deep in family photos. I am organizing. I am ordering albums. I am buying frames. I am sharing ancestors and my child self with Mose.

My family is wrought with complex patterns, behaviors, and dynamics that I attribute to capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. I do not find these elements confusing. I find them easy to spot, name, categorize, and archive. What IS difficult for me is remaining in authentic relationship with them despite these characteristics. I find it easier to keep them tucked away and stored apart than honor their full humanity and my full history.

Family History Project

My Family History Project is feeling like less of a project than a hub around which I am exploring different aspects.  Those include:  connections with family members, researching family history, reading about the history of whiteness, and learning about Native Americans in PA.  All of this happening at a time ripe for conversation with family and others around making sense of structural racism.  

Early on, I dove into this project with enthusiasm to ‘get to know’ my ancestors.  This resulted in some tangible ‘products’ – a family tree, a power point of pictures, and targeted conversations with family members.  Since then, moving into the harder part of connecting my family to structural racism, has been more nebulous.   I’ve notice my own angst around wanting to ‘get this right’ and to ‘take responsibility’ and yet finding that I’m not sure what is called for. 

Recently I was struck by my own tendency toward compartmentalization when I got frustrated with myself for not getting further into the book Birth of a White Nation, which I have told myself is a next step on my ‘Family Project’ task list.  Instead, I’ve been prioritizing Stamped from the Beginning, which I’m reading for my book group.  It wasn’t until I got to the first references to Alex Haley’s Roots and Planet of the Apes, that I made an explicit connection to my family, as I recalled both of these things from my childhood.  It occurs to me that, once again, I’ve been on a left brain path of cognition –  trying to find answers, rather than sensing, feeling, absorbing and integrating. 

So I’m not sure where that leaves me.  I have a sense for the things that I want to continue to explore but I’m not sure that I am headed toward completing the assignment that was asked of us. 

My Heart is Broken But My Spirit is Free

My heart is broken
But my Spirit is free
I’m unraveling rapidly
Into my Whole Self
An ongoing releasing
Of layers of ego and IRS
Built to survive in a world
Of violent whiteness

Discovering my spark
Vibrating energy in my root
Calling me home to Self
Directing me to inherent joy
Expanding with my breath
Leading me to my truth
Revealing pieces of me
Hidden deep in shame and fear

Studying the narratives
And threads weaved within
My family and faith
Primed by white supremacy
Separating us from ourselves
From divine and humanity
Wreaking havoc through
Oppression and violence

Naming and resisting
Relearning the narratives
Grounded in radical love
Expanding consciousness
Holding the suffering
Connecting to pain
Staying present and active
Leaning in with courage

Overwhelmed at times
Grieving the losses
Fearing the rejection
Embodied trauma
Cycles of whiteness
Sneaky shame
Critical voices
Stuck in despair

Celebrating healing
Increasing tenderness
Building resistance
Inviting rest
Nurturing my body
Returning to joy
Finding community
Discovering Me

My heart is broken
But my Spirit is free
Rejecting duality
Holding space 
Non-linear thinking
Returning to my breath
Conscious union
Trusting the universe

A broken heart keeps me
Grounded in love
Committed to the work
Knowing we are One
A free Spirit keeps me
Rooted in joy
Connected to my power
Seeing liberation

My heart isn’t broken
My heart is feeling
My heart is conscious
My heart is connected
My heart is expanding
My heart is healing
I am healing
My Spirit is free

Humanity includes me.

For as long as I can remember, I have pushed myself toward growth and change with a self-punishing and shaming mindset. I experience this energy as very “shut it down! It’s bad! Do a different thing! Panic!” yet, it’s only been within this past year that I’ve been able to name just how much pain I have caused myself in this unquestioned practice. I have hated myself for being white. I have punished myself for being white. I have shamed myself when racism creeps into my mind or spirit or practice or behavior. I assumed I could keep striving toward change and growth in this shut-it-down way, especially since it’s “worked” for most of my life.

This year, it stopped “working,” This year, I’ve noticed that I feel stuck. I’ve noticed a block in the flow of growth, and have come to know that the way I dehumanize myself has caused the clog.

I haven’t wanted to claim anything that isn’t “mine.” Haven’t enough white people already claimed humanity as ours? Haven’t enough white people understood ourselves to be most deserving? Fear enveloped me as I explored this incoming wave…if I choose to radically love myself, if I choose self-compassion and empathy, won’t I be “taking” too much? Are humanity and compassion and empathy not scarce?!

As I sat in this, I started to feel a roaring and glorious anger rise from deep within me. Fuck this! White supremacy has stolen from me, too! White supremacy demands that I sever from myself, demands that part of me dies, so that I don’t truly and deeply feel the horror of racism and the ways in which I participate in it and perpetuate it. My eyes are opening to the ways in which dehumanizing and punishing myself into “change,” is actually an extension of the dehumanization of white supremacy…demanding that I stay numb and out of touch and shut off from myself, all the while performing to “perfection” like a productive machine. This shut-down energy toward myself also leads to a shut-down in my energy for the community. My feelings aren’t so easily compartmentalized, and in shutting off my self-love, I limit my capacity to deeply love and feel for and with other humans. My shutting-off and self-shaming has continuously led me to a place I have never intended: with less air for myself and less to offer others.

And lately, what rises up within me is fuck that! I REFUSE. I REFUSE to sever from my own humanity. I REFUSE to allow part of myself to die, for the sake of white supremacy. I want to FEEL. I want to BREATHE. I want to see and experience myself in the fullness of my humanity, knowing and trusting that (as Brené Brown has said in her own words) empathy is not in scarce. I do not need to refuse it for myself, for fear there won’t be enough to offer others when the time comes. I am experiencing that in fully loving myself–all of myself (what?! My evangelical upbringing asks me if this is even “allowed!”)–I open. I can breathe. The clog breaks up. The energy can flow. And, I feel deeply that I have more than enough empathy and love to offer myself, which expands me and grows me and creates more and more empathy and love for my fellow humans. More grows more grows more. Opening opens and opens and opens and opens.

In one of the early Undoing Racism trainings I attended with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, a white woman shared during a white caucus breakout session that she was feeling angry and sad about all that racism and white supremacy had taken from her in understanding her ethnic roots. At the time, I inwardly shook my head, judging her for thinking any of us in that white caucus space could possibly be deserving of claiming our own sense of loss to racism. I felt she was taking “too much,” and that as white people, we were deserving of “taking” absolutely nothing (haven’t we already taken and claimed too much?!). My reaction reminds me of the spaces I have been, and the spaces to which I could easily return without tender care and intention. For years, I have been attempting to self-punish and shame and shrink myself into the anti-racist mold I envisioned for me. I have punished and shamed and shrunk way too much of myself in the process. And, all of me wants to be liberated.

My spirit is opening to collective liberation, and I am finding that (much to my absolute surprise) I need to be liberated, too.

And so, I breathe. I check in with my body. I move. I drink water. I feed myself when I am hungry. I identify and name my feelings when I can. I sit in what I feel and allow discomfort. I allow myself to name discomfort, and am gentle with myself for feeling it in the first place. I digest my thoughts and feelings in my body, taking a walk after intense conversations and spaces, allowing the sensations to move through me. I deserve to process and release that which does not need to be held. I do not need to cling to it in ferocious shame and fear. I ask for help when I need it. I rest when I am tired. I reach out for connection when I crave it. I sit in quiet and stillness when it’s all been too loud. I laugh. I create. I dance. I cry. In these ways, I love myself, and honor the fullness of my own humanity. I live in my body. And I practice loving me, her, completely.

I am understanding, for the first time in my life, that this embodied and humanizing self-love is radical, and it is sustaining in the sacred long-haul work of racial justice. Imagine what I will do with all of the energy I used to use against myself?! Imagine where it can go! Imagine who, in my fullness, I can be!

An Invitation from My Root

(A New Way of Being for the Family History Project)

My hips have been hurting for a while now. As I am learning to ask them why they’re hurting and what they need, they are communicating powerfully to me. I am learning about my pelvic bowl and all the emotions and truths held there. I am understanding the connection between my pelvic bowl and my root chakra…my grounding. I am hearing my hips express some deep fear of releasing the emotions and truths around my previous grounding — family relationships, identity (faith, work, sexuality) — and they are navigating a tender, timely release with my spirit and mind. 

Recently, a shame response led to necessary shadow work that ended with a powerful invitation from my root. In my shame, I noticed the ways I have been stuck in a place of sorrow, despair, and victimhood. In this place, I am seeing how I put my trauma on others and use control/manipulation. I notice that I can use words to name my trauma to others without sitting with the trauma, which ultimately is avoiding the trauma by putting it onto others. I am learning the difference of sitting in my trauma and using words when they are needed to heal versus using words to avoid healing. Also, I have known for a long time the role I have played within my family dynamics of keeping the “peace” in relationships. I thought I was using my empathy and insight for good, but am seeing how I often was actually trying to control and manipulate outcomes for my own comfort…avoiding the discomfort of necessary conflict and boundaries.

As I looked at my shadow self, I heard, from deep within my root, a reckoning and invitation. A compassionate reckoning with my shadow, acknowledging that I was navigating hard things with limited skills, which led to causing harm despite my intentions. I was so separated from my Self, that I was not trusting that I could sit in the discomfort and trauma and find healing, so instead, I relied on control tactics. The invitation gently revealed the growth and healing in my connection with my Self and reminded me that I literally have everything I need within me to be in the hard places and heal. I know I’ve been told this for a while now, but I guess I needed to hear it from my Self.

Now, the connection with the family history project. I’ve been navigating family relationships (especially with my dad) without fully trusting my Self. So, I’ve been working so fucking hard to figure out how to communicate with my dad in a way that he will finally see my humanity…obsessing and overanalyzing my communication and showing up in a hypervigilant state. Without being conscious of it fully, I have been functioning under the mindset that if I find the “right” words and ways to express my heartbreak, that my dad (and family) will be able to meet me in that tender, overwhelmed place of grief. I’ve been manipulating and controlling with all the best intentions to get the love from my dad that I have always sought. I used to manipulate and control myself by submitting to the expectations that would garner the love from my dad. Lately, I’ve been manipulating and controlling with words. Neither of these are working. The family history project started in this same pattern for me. I was viewing it as a tool to use words to get the love and acceptance I desire from family and ultimately from myself.  

This invitation from my root is showing me that I have everything I need to be in relationship with my family and my ancestors without trying to manipulate the outcome. The love and acceptance I desire is within me. Being separated from my Self, I’ve been disconnected from the Source who is the giver of Love and acceptance. With my breath I can bring consciousness to my root, to my Knowing, to the Source. So, when I am with my dad (or family) and notice the weight starting in my chest and pressing down into my gut causing me to shrink, I will breathe. I will ask what I need and find it within me. When I begin to be overwhelmed with grief, anger, or shame as I work on the family history project, I will breathe. I will ask myself what I need and find it within me. 

I have everything I need…

Aiming to please.

it’s hard for me to admit that it’s taken me this long to be honest with myself. for three years i’ve been in this work, and it feels like a major blindspot that i am just now realizing my why – this why is one that i didn’t know i was hiding from myself.

in reflecting on the prompts, i came across a quote from my journal from a few months ago. while processing a dream in which my desire to be given love in any form was shown, i wrote “what if i valued my spiritual self as much as i longed for my material and physical self to be valued?”

i know why i struggle with self appreciation and love: for many years of my life, i spent time carefully figuring out how to make others happy – which, in turn, lead me to learn how to make people like me, how to make them say “yes! great job emily!” if they like me and they like what i do, they’ll be happy when i’m around and they’ll be pleased that i’ve done so well!

i can recognize that this was a form of survival thinking that came from my childhood – my mother and my sister dealt with mental illness, and i felt that i had to be strong for my family.

so, why am i here?

i feel that it’s the right thing to do. but, what does that say about how i feel about being here? sometimes, i feel that it’s an obligation, not necessarily done out of what i thought was the goodness of my heart, but rather, to look good.

LOOKING GOOD STRATEGIES. INTERNALIZED RACIAL SUPERIORITY.

i hesitate to share these thoughts. i don’t want to retraumatize black and indigenous people of color who have already experienced white women who pretend to care, to come from a place of disingenuous intentions, or who don’t see themselves clearly enough to know when they’re hurting someone because they have the privilege of getting by without accountability.

i think it is interesting to see how i pretended to myself in order to dive deeper into looking good.

the question of how i have grown, though, is evident and relevant here as well; i think the reason that it took me so long to see and finally admit this to myself is because i am working toward self-acceptance, and with that, honesty.

i will also allow myself to feel courageous. i still remember a day in 8th grade history class when, the white female teacher demanding that someone volunteer a guess, i froze, my hand ready to raise into the air, but my gut saying “no, if you’re wrong, that would be the worst thing ever.” the fact that i feel very wrong at not having been able to see this truth about myself, but i will share it, shows that i can forgive myself for the moments when i was too afraid to try, and i can do better now. i hate being wrong. that is my IRS, but it doesn’t have to who i choose to be.

instead, i am learning to love myself, even when i have to admit hard truths. i know that by doing this, i am reclaiming my humanity, and allowing others to have more of theirs as well. it’s not necessary for me to pretend to be someone i am not in order to make other people feel good. i have to love the part of myself that is struggling to accept that the more i choose to please others instead of myself, the more i lose myself. the more i feed into a system of oppression, proving our worth, racing to nowhere. even when the way that i am choosing to look good is by being a part of antiracism activism.

it doesn’t feel like this means that i don’t want to be here. i’m trying to trust the process of seeing what shows up, accepting the possibility that this may not be the right time, but also giving this new awareness space to be. i’m reminding myself that my sense of timeliness in figuring this out is yet again, a facet of IRS.

i do not have to prove that i am worthy of being here. i just have to show up, and keep showing up, not only for the people in this group, but for myself. because i am human, and that means that i’m worthy of being here, as long as i can continue to look for and see that humanity in myself and in others.

“what if i valued my spiritual self?”

i’ve been learning more about my strengths that we found in YROL yoga teacher training. 3 of my top five strengths are relationship building strengths. two are executing – achiever (no shock there, hi timeliness) and restorative – i like to fix things. i wonder if my restorative strength, combined with lack of self appreciation, makes me think that if i can fix racism, i will finally be worthy.

what i have thought a lot more about is how my strengths of empathy, harmony, and connectedness make me focus so so so much more on building relationships with others than with myself. add in achieving, and i now understand why my main motivators are succeeding at helping people.

i want to spend some time focusing on helping myself instead. putting myself first. it feels so foreign, and also so corny. but i want to push back and say, Emily. you deserve to love on yourself. i have said this before, but i can’t name many action steps i’ve taken to hold myself accountable to helping myself. a couple, sure, but more often than not my instinct to help someone else is stronger, and without me realizing it i’m back in the pool of IRS.

i’m scared to push ‘publish’ on this blog. what if i wrote something wrong? i’m learning that i can’t control what anyone thinks of me. i’m learning that i have a hard time believing that people reading this blog don’t want to tell me i’m wrong and make me feel small, but want to encourage me and hold me accountable to the things that i’m saying.

if i want to love myself, i have to truly go do it. i have to show up.

it’s hard for me to write this and trust this part of the process – the part where I’m honest and know that I am safe. likely because, without self acceptance, i don’t believe that anyone else can accept me.

that’s some victim mentality IRS right there.

here are some affirmations that i will say to myself to work on this acceptance.

i am not perfect.

we are all impacted by racism. we have to keep working on it together.

i don’t have to always look good. i can’t control every outcome, but it can still be okay.

i don’t always have to feel comfortable, but i am safe and loved.

i’m not in this alone. i am apart of something greater here.

Revealing

Over this year, I have grown in patience – with myself and with processes. I have grown into holding some more (and some more tenderly) the parts of myself that I have a harder time expressing – the direct, firm, strong boundaried, pessimistic, judgmental, dominating parts of myself. 

Motherhood has been a transformative growth process for me. I feel into the humanizing truth that everyone is a mother’s child. And the process of creating a birthing life has affirmed my power and ability to trust my body in a deeper way. I have grown to be both more soft and more firm. 

This year, I’ve had opportunity to steer with enjoyment in my body rather than evaluation of what I’m good at. I still fear failure, and I am growing into a growth mindset. For example, thinking about what role I play in future WWG, I know I enjoy facilitation so moving forward with that rather than evaluating all the ways my facilitation skills fall short of where I’d like them to be.

I feel less imposter syndrome. I am showing up as my full self to different spaces and in different roles. 

I notice when I’m rushing more.

When I see people, I see their joy.   

In many ways, I’m more easeful. I am allowing things to take the time they need a bit more. I see this playing out in the ways I have conversations about racism with my family. We talk more often about race and racism, and I engage in conversations with less of an “I must change their minds now” agenda. 

I am growing more awareness of the pervasiveness of my individualism. 

I am more okay with not being productive. 

I also feel myself gripping onto material resources less. That feels humanizing. I am connecting more deeply with things that whiteness historically took away – my connection to feelings and my body. And I see this growth as part of honoring the people I came from. It’s also how I love my mother.

And I’ve also seen and accepted more this year that growth is not linear. From that understanding, I also make space for the possibility that things that don’t look like or seem like growth to me are absolutely part of my growing. 

Before this year, In my mind, I’ve believed it to be true that there are many different ways to be an agent in dismantling systems of white supremacy and institutionalized racism and this year I feel that truth more fully in my being. Through the radical shift of how we come together without gathering in person, prioritizing time with Marcel and early bedtimes, and just the patience of having a longer view of sticking around (Pittsburgh, friends, family, work) – I now feel the everyday-ness of destroying regimes of white supremacist power and co-creating a new world. 

Also, I recently took a course “How to Raise an Anti-racist Child” and among the goals of the course, one was listed as, “help your child develop a positive racial identity”. That one stood out to me and I felt some resistance and confusion when I read it. Can I really encourage my white child to have a positive racial identity? Even with all our understanding of the violence inherent to whiteness and the harm perpetuated by white culture? In the course we talked about learning your ancestry before they became white and lifting up white people in the past and present who fought against racism as part of the process of creating a positive racial identity.  I hear that and I also know how much of Marcel’s ability to be critical of whiteness while not hating his racial identity is about me living out a positive racial identity. 

While this change is just beginning for me, I do feel a shift ideologically that I can have and want a positive racial identity – or at least to be okay with my whiteness. I know there’s more to it for me than the steps laid on in the workshop and I’ve resisted the urge to google answers for the how-to process. I think it will be connecting further with my ancestors, naming the part of myself (and others) I am most critical of, going back and joining others in writing a love letter to manifestations of IRS, and in all aspects of life embracing being critical as part of love. This year I’ve named being white more as a neutral identifier not just a condemnation. I’m curious about and in the process of developing a healthy racial identity. There is so much work to be done, but a shift is underway.

I have been working toward integration. From how my body digests food to how parts of me all form 1 whole. And so, to love myself I am inviting more and more of myself in. I hear one voice and I recognize myself. I’m reorienting to the parts of myself I fear with reverence and curiosity. Recent trauma has made this work take center for me as I learn about my nervous system and regulation through integration.

Thank you for hearing me.