“Being Black Is Not Exhausting“
White supremacy is exhausting.
White silence is exhausting.
Systemic racism is exhausting.
White feminism is exhausting.
White centered wellness is exhausting.
Race based violence is exhausting.
Oppression is exhausting.
Injustice is exhausting.
Reflecting on the past week in regards to the BLM movement and watching it reach great heights in the media has been a whirlwind of excitement with waves of stress. I knew it was going to be a nerve-wracking week because the heart motives of my friends and those I thought I knew surfaced. I just didn’t think it would be this intense. Thanks a lot, Covid-19 and the quarantine, I had to see it all unfold via social media.
I saw so many posts from my friends, whether it was me seeing it on my feed, or receiving multiple text messages. I even received phone calls where friends wanted to tell me “Did you see what so-and-so post?” A lot of these messages came to me without permission. I did not think to guard my heart and mind, and this was the most painful lesson I had to learn. I am already here existing, living, and trying to avoid being triggered by my emotions of great sadness, pain, and anger. Every time something came to me unannounced, it felt like I was being shot in the stomach. It penetrated my soul and my spirit. I got hit with multiple rounds of posts and opinions of people, friends, and some family members. It left me drained all week, because on top of everything else I work at a hospital, and I had to stay home last week as I had minor COVID-19 symptoms, and needed to go through testing for potentially having COVID-19. I tested negative.
On a good note, I had a lot of new people listen to me when I wanted to talk about my reflections on Instagram. They DM-ed me how much they related. They came from all types of cultural backgrounds, which shocked me. I thought white people were going to hate what I had to say, but a lot listened and learned a bit. It felt good that my voice was of some benefit, even though I had deep sorrow trapped on the inside. For the first time, I am beginning to share my voice and point of view with others out there in media-land. This week I did the opposite and hid away because I am a deeply sensitive soul and I needed to accumulate my thoughts and feelings on the experiences I had with others. There were a lot of bad exchanges, as well as some good ones. Some friends got me in that hype and hysteria, I got impatient with some friends and acquaintances, I got angry when I realized I was falling into the madness of friends who, in a sense, egged me on to do some damage. I got mad that I allowed myself to be persuaded by others so easily, and now I have to be responsible, make amends where I was led to do so, and drop off from the world.
As I reflect, I realize that emotions ran so high. I knew that there had to be others who feel this way as they interact with their friends, family, and even strangers. I want you to know that this post is for you. I am thinking about you and I hope my reflections help you see the bigger picture of everything going on in the world right now.
- My Blackness is NOT something to be played with.
- If I have to hide parts of myself to be around certain people, they are NOT my people.
- Not everyone will be your cup of tea, and you are not everyone’s cup of tea.
- Admitting you can be more patient even when you can still pinpoint things and go back and forth and pick at every single detail of what they said and what you said is a gift because you let it go for the sake of agape love.
- If someone tells you, “ You made me mad,” remember, they gave their own mind permission to do that. You are not responsible to regulate someone else’s emotions.
- People may chose misinterpret your message and believe it’s an attack on them vs. it is actually their choice of actions that is being challenged.
- Be accountable to what you post, do not post because “I have a right to post whatever I want it is my page.” That is a given, but if you cannot explain your motive or what you got from the post that you posted, why are you posting it?
- You offended someone you know? Good, you planted a seed. It’s not your responsibility to see it grow.
- Find your inner power, and be proud of your values and who you are.
- Be kind do yourself.
- Do not let the external world of hype and hysteria defile you. (Examples: Gossip exchanges, the energy friends are bringing to you about others, news articles you stumble upon that do not come from an academic background, etc.).
- Remember the lens in which the person speaks about another article/post/opinion.
- Do not feel bad for speaking your truth. Never discount your own word to make someone else feel better.
- Own what you post. Own what you say.
- Accept that others will not understand your interpretation. People may not even be open to your observations. If they’re not ready, move on.
- Jesus had a Judas among his friends… did you see a few come out of the woodwork this past week? Good. Let them go like Jesus let Judas go. If they don’t change their heart, they will betray you the same way Judas betrayed Jesus.
- Let them make their choices, because at least you warned them, whether your delivery of the message played out rightly or not. Let it all play out.
- Rejection is a part of life. It is okay to reject others and accept others. This is how we eventually find our true tribe.
- Take time away to pray and center yourself.
- Reset and rebirth something during this pain.
- Find an oppressed group you can always serve after the moment wanes down.
- Orphans- human trafficking , residential or shelter centers, etc.
- Agape love everyone, and remember you don’t have to like everyone!
- You are right in some ways when you make your points, but there will still be bits and pieces of an earlier wound coming out from within you. Check your shadow self. We flow between light and shadow and that is okay. You don’t need to be perfect when you present your point of view.
- You have a right to always think you are right and everyone else is wrong, but how does it feel to have that hardened heart?
- The longer you play pretend with these people, the longer you keep the wrong ones around and the right ones way.
- If you post, and if you do speak out, remember you will always get a reaction (emotional charged action) or a response (deep objective action) from others.
- There may be times in which you may not have to speak up or correct someone. Weight in the power of silence. It can speak volumes.
- When people post, ask what they got from it. If you want to say your point of view or discuss how you are interpreting their response, ask them first. If they are not willing to hear your thoughts, move on!
- Protect the light that is inside of you.
- Let it all roll off, like water. Be like water.
LaTianna Williams is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and Nationally Certified Recreation Therapist residing in Long Beach, CA. She currently provides rehabilitation therapy for the elderly and forensic population, specializing in the Dramatic Arts. LaTianna raises awareness in mental health using fashion, travel, her personal stories, and creativity on her blog and social platforms. In the past, she has performed in the Vagina Monologues to raise awareness and funds to domestic violence shelters in her community.
She has been working as a creative art therapist for over a decade, presenting drama therapy at Patton State Hospital and California Parks and Recreation Society’s Recreation Therapy Institute.
Her long term goal involves expanding her performance artistry and activism by writing and producing written works and plays that surround mental health issues and triumphs. In addition, she would like to continue her work in drama therapy and work with a playback theater troupe to perform stories told by the audience members.