Trauma & Trees: Living Racism and Micro-aggressions
I find myself sitting in a meeting with a group of people that I am familiar with. I have been among them before, introduced myself before, and volunteered to do the work of the group. The round-robin of introductions begins and my turn comes up. The facilitator asks me where I’m from because she doesn’t have my name on the list. Then, as I go on to begin telling the group about myself she interrupts and goes to the next person.
On the surface, no big deal right?! Except at this time in my life, it was a really big deal! I was raw. I was broken wide open. I was in a strange place. The strange thing was that I did not know I was there until I was there and the lump in my throat began to swell, and heat began to rise in my face.
Where was I?
I was in a rapid downward spiral. The year of witnessing, experiencing, and living in constant tension between executive leadership, motherhood, and being a black woman, and being human had come to a peak. The pot was boiling over and I was running out of compassion, empathy, vigilance, and steam. I WAS DONE!
The week prior I didn’t take the hint when I sobbed like a baby behind a closed door in my office during a brief meditation. Nor did I notice that I nearly bit off the head of a friend that asked my opinion on police-involved shooting, instead of being able to have a conversation like I normally would have. I was beyond the ability to recognize the signs of needing rest and self-care. I had crossed the point of needing a hot bath a face mask to restore myself. I needed serious help.
Where do you turn?
I got people, and I am blessed. I turned to the resources I have around me. Coaches, family, and dear friends. All of these people have very different roles. Some of them remind me of my faith and the importance of prayer in my life.
Others, give me a shoulder to cry on and simply listen and watch me closely. I am sure they are waiting to see if they need to escalate matters. Then some drop pearls of wisdom and insights that I already knew but in my agony, I am unable to recognize.
“You can experience trauma and trees”
On the surface, this is a strange statement for sure. Except if you know one thing about me, I LOVE TREES. I somehow fooled myself into thinking that during this dark time I could not be in pain and experience something I love at the same time. I was wrong. I can do this and that. I did not have to choose. Today I am doing much better I am glad to report. I worked toward getting better by experiencing nature and seeing beauty in the world while knowing there are simultaneously ugly things still out there. I choose to acknowledge that both do exist. While I work to eradicate the things that should not exist like racism and poverty, I will also cling to the good.