Hi. How is your heart? I want to start this post by saying that any emotion that you are feeling is valid and to acknowledge that the reality of the present moment is heavy and hard.
I have been actively engaging in and posting about the Black Lives Matter movement on my social media feeds but I haven’t written a post here on my blog. For the record, and not to make an excuse, the toddler toys post that went live on Saturday was pre-written and pre-scheduled. I should have re-scheduled it but I spent the day off of my computer and immersed in reading and following what was happening in my local community and across the country while also caring for Finn.
It is difficult to hold childlike wonder and innocence alongside the adult reality of the world we are living in. Today was a challenging parenting day as I worked hard to meet Finn in a place of joy and adventure while my own heart was shattered over the state of our country.
I listen to Morning Edition on @wfae every morning while I make coffee and breakfast. Today I found myself leaning over my kitchen listening to the account of the protests in Charlotte last night while Finn was playing in the other room. What absolutely broke me was the sound of tear gas being sent out into a crowd of people who are desperate and deserving of change.
I have a voice and a platform and I won’t be silent in fear of saying the wrong thing or losing followers. My current focus is on education and action. I hope that you will join me in taking a powerful stand for POC, and in committing to learning from and supporting Black people in any and every way humanly possible.
BEHIND THE SCENES
While you haven’t heard from me on my blog, I have been doing my own personal work behind the scenes.
First, I have been teaching yoga and doing my best to hold space for my students to care for themselves through movement and breath because I believe that when we are in strong relationship with ourselves that we are better able relate to and serve others.
Second, last night I participated in an online workshop with local yoga teacher and social justice leader Rebby Kern on Race, Gender and Bias. We had over 35 people gathered from around the world for an honest and eye-opening conversation.
Third, many months ago I sat down with Shanna Small who is a yoga teacher whom I love, respect and have worked alongside for many years. I asked her if she would be willing to present modules on diversity and inclusion in my yoga teacher trainings. My next training begins this weekend and I will have her participate in my summer training (and pay her full fee for her time and knowledge).
I beg you to read this article that Shanna wrote today about doing more than sending love and light. It includes actionable steps that you can take to give legs to “love and light.”
Finally, I am making donations, learning from black educators, reading as much as I can and having really deep conversations with friends and family.
Okay, all that stuff above is great but let’s talk about how imperfectly that I am walking through all of this. One thing common thread in the work that I have been following and doing is that you WILL make mistakes but that it’s important to be willing to see them, learn from them and keep moving forward.
I have made some big ones.
First, I should have posted sooner here and I extend my apologies for not using THIS platform (not just my social media) to its fullest potential.
Second, the first iteration of the Facebook/Instagram post that I shared above said that I stood over my kitchen sink with tears running down my face as I listened to the account of the protests in Charlotte.
View this post on Instagram
The same white tears u weaponize to perpetuate your toxic white femininity in an attempt to silence, speak over and/or assert dominance & control over Black folks, which often results in death to Black people are just as violent as the tears you’re weaponizing right now in your virtue signaling. The white tears you’re crying about Black lives are not really about our Black lives at all, and are more about you. Those tears are a way for you to appear as if you’re “one of the good ones”. It’s like, “look at me, I all of sudden care so much about Black lives that I’m even crying about it”. But we’ve been Black all this time, we’ve been suffering, speaking out & calling y’all in to this work all this time. And y’all have remained unbothered. And now you want to cry. No, your tears are for you. Those tears are your guilt, shame & embarrassment streaming down your face as u begin to see just how harmful & complicit you’ve been in upholding white supremacy. Your tears do not bring us to a level of connection with u, they only add more grief to what we’re already experiencing. Black people have been being murdered & you’ve cried no tears for our lives then, you’ve not grieved with us then, & you want us to believe that all of sudden u care about our lives. You want to care, maybe, but you don’t & that’s why we’re here where we are now. Bc for over 400 years you’ve cared more about ur business launches, reputation, ego, feelings, money, comfort & time than you’ve ever cared for a our Black lives. You may be feeling all kinds of feelings that are erupting into sadness & grief, but when I tell you it’s more about u than it’s about Black folks, trust me. And that’s why doing the inner work is so important Bc it calls you to be honest about things like this. And when you’re honest about it then u can do something about it. How do I know it’s more about you than its about me…one, we’ve heard & seen these antics all before. Keep swiping for more… (And do not comment or send me a DM asking me to further explain this to you…sign up for a class, consult or program if you want to further understand and grow in this work. This is not “1-800-phone a Black girl”.
And then on Monday morning I read this post from @moeotivate on Instagram. I’ll be honest, it didn’t make me feel good. I defaulted to the defensive that my tears were real and valid. I stopped myself and committed to sitting with it and not reacting. While the tears that I cried were real, I really tried to unpack where they were coming from, what was behind them and how I could use my grief/sadness/rage in a way that better supports black people.
On a related note, I would like to recognize Monique Melton. When I started following her last week she had 17K followers on Instagram and DM’d me requesting that I not lurk and watch and inquired on my plans to educate myself and take action. I responded and she had a dialogue with me. I was shocked that she took that time to engage with me because I certainly didn’t feel that it was owed to me.
Here we are a week later and her following has grown to 200,000. This gives me hope that amplification is working. Monique’s words are hard-hitting but we need to hear them. Please consider visiting her website and listening to her podcast and taking her courses on anti-racism. She offers a crash course, a 12-week program, a training on how to talk to kids about race and more!!!
And third…I am embarrassed to share this.
After taking Rebby’s workshop last night I posted this on my Instagram stories. What is wrong with it?
- I spent an hour of pre-work and two hours of training learning and talking about bias and microaggressions in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
- Rebby is non-binary and identifies with the pronouns they/them. Our training included a diverse group in regards to sexual and gender preferences/identifications.
- I “hopped onto stories” last night right after the training and called everyone in the group “women” and Rebby “her.”
Rebby corrected me so gently this morning. I was honestly amazed by their kindness. <— And OMFG…I still defaulted to “her” when typing this sentence. IT IS SO ENGRAINED.
I apologized, owned how much I have to un-learn, deleted and reposted my story. You guys, I spent THREE HOURS doing work to learn and do better and STILL defaulted to my known and comfortable.
Rebby has added one more June training date and space is very limited. I can’t encourage you guys enough to sign up for this training.
LET’S TALK MORE
What I shared above was difficult to write but I pray that these examples create space for you guys on your own imperfect journeys.
I am 1,500 words in and only scratching the surface. I would love to keep this conversation going. What are you doing/reading/thinking and how are you acting on it? How have you messed up? Where can you do better?
I love all of you,