relax. relate. release.
original post date - june 30, 2020
There have been a lot of things on my mind lately and I just wanted to put some of my thoughts into words.
I was trying to wait until I had more positive thoughts and feelings before writing another blog post, but I feel like the longer I wait, the more things add to the mix of what I’m already feeling. The things I’m feeling aren’t all bad. I mean I graduated college, I finally have my degrees, I’m about to be getting settled in my apartment, and I’m starting med school in a few short weeks. I am so grateful and so excited to be entering this new stage of life, but I’m also nervous. My whole life is about to change. Literally 24 hours from the time I’m typing this. That’s very anxiety-inducing, at least for me it is. I’ve been second-guessing myself constantly. Am I spending my money the right way? Did I prioritize the right things? Did I pick the right place to live? Am I really ready for med school? Am I really ready to be an adult? Me? A WHOLE ME? These questions float around in my head constantly. Like clockwork. People in my life seem a lot more confident in me than I am, but that’s been a common theme in my life. It happened with academics. It’s happened with different things I’ve been nominated for. It happened with Delta. It happened with med school. I doubt myself a lot more than I’d like to, and I’ve never been able to figure out why. I know God’s got me, but I always have this feeling that I’m going to disappoint myself and the people I love. I’ve told y’all about Mirror Missy before, but she’s really been in overdrive lately. Is this normal for recent grads or is this my brain doing what it does? Outside of the things are going on in my personal life, the things going on in the world have been heavy on my mind too. Some days it’s suffocating. As a Black woman, I feel like I have to be hypervigilant everywhere I go. The feeling of being carefree isn’t something I’m familiar with, and the world makes me feel like I never will be. I still hold my breath when I pass police or when I see one behind or around me. I still get concerned that a random white person will do something disrespectful and/or dangerous just because they feel emboldened to do so. I still get harassed by people when I’m minding my damn business and wearing a shirt that explicitly states it. It’s exhausting and many times I don’t feel safe. I often wonder who, if anyone, is going to stand up for me if I’m publicly violated, offended, or just in danger period. It’s like if I’m not concerned about a white person violating me, I’m concerned that it’s going to be a Black man – and even worse, a Black man that refuses to acknowledge his privilege. I’m not bashing anybody, but Black men are crazy if they refuse to acknowledge the privilege they have just because of their extra appendage. I’m not just a Black woman. I’m a Black woman with dark skin. You know what that means? It means I think about the realities of colorism quite often too. Before I even open my mouth, I’m naturally perceived as more aggressive, having more of an attitude, angry, not as attractive, not as intelligent, or whatever else just because my skin color isn’t in the Fenty Beauty 300 range. My relationship with my skin color and the way colorism impacts me deserves its own blog post, but I’ll leave it here for the time being. In the same way I want white people, Black men, and people with lighter skin to acknowledge their privilege, straight (heterosexual) people need to do the same thing. The reality of our society is that the less intersection you have in how you identify, the more privilege you have, and I’m a firm believer that we need to use the privilege we have to help those who don’t. If you don’t do that, you are most definitely part of the problem. Period. It’s as simple as that. Ignorance is not bliss – it’s a form of oppression. Find reputable sources and people to educate yourself. In the same way that as Black people, we want white people to educate themselves about our history and our struggles, and in the same way that us women want men to educate themselves, straight people need to do the same thing when it comes to the LGBTQQIAA+ community. Stop using your faith as a reason to not love all people and not recognize them as humans worthy of love and protection. You can’t chant #BlackLivesMatter and refuse to acknowledge the Black trans people being murdered, assaulted, kidnapped, etc. You can’t chant #BlackLivesMatter and talk shit about D. Wade and Gabrielle Union for standing with, supporting, and loving Zaya unconditionally. You can’t chant #BlackLivesMatter while intentionally misgendering trans people. You can’t chant #BlackLivesMatter and not acknowledge or respect people who identify with the LGBTQQIAA+ community. In the same way white people don’t get to choose whose lives matter and whose don’t, as straight Black people, we don’t get to choose which Black lives matter and which don’t. All Black lives matter, not just the cishet ones. Stop using your gay friends to excuse your homophobia in the same manner white people use their Black friends to excuse racism. We all need to do better. In short, stop “All Lives Matter”-ing communities that you inherently have more privilege than and do not identify with. Educate yourself, acknowledge your privilege, and use your privilege the way you want other people to use theirs for you. We can all do better. That’s partially why I created “the bulletin” – a page on the website for important news and information to help us all. I’m still working on getting things together for it, but it’s coming. … I’m gonna wrap this post up here. I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, and I am going to work to do better. Like I said earlier, I am about to move, so there may not be any blog posts until I’m actually settled and have the time and space to work through some things I’ve been going through. That doesn’t mean updates won’t be coming to other areas of the website, so make sure you follow the brena’s breakthroughs IG page and subscribe to receive more information about those updates. Thank you so much for your support with my little corner of the internet. I appreciate you more than you know. Until next time, protect yourself and protect your peace. Much love, brena.