It’s been nearly a month since I posted and I’ve got no idea how long it’ll be before I post again. Trying to create during these days is a tricky subject for me. I’m trying to manage my stress and health in a productive manner, but that’s a moving target as this past week has clearly illustrated to me. I mean, I visited a friend (we’re both self-isolating alone and have no risky contact with the outside, so we didn’t put each other or anyone else in danger of spreading COVID-19) in Sturgeon Bay, had a nice relaxing week away from all my stress and troubles, but then the protests started over the murder of a black man at the hands of a cop and not only could I not escape it, I don’t want to look away from this.
Before I write anything else, I want to establish that Black Lives Matter and that I am incredibly privileged as a middle-class white guy who is trying to be a better ally. If you want to do something in this time of trouble and to help make a change, I suggest donating to bail funds for the various cities where protests are happening and police violence is turning said peaceful protests into riots. A simple google search will do plenty or you can check articles like THIS ONE to find links and information on where to send your money. If you have no idea what’s going on, want more information, or are frustrated with people like me making statements like the above… I mean, where the hell do you live? Just use google. Jeeze. It’s not that hard to stay well-informed. Or to, you know, check the veracity of your sources. It’s, like, the bare fucking minimum you can do.
A lot of this stuff is difficult for me to grapple with since I grew up in a situation where my older brother was physically abusive and my parents condoned and encouraged it through their silence and incredibly lax treatment of my brother. I have a hard time finding a way to productively engage because I keep going back to the emotional space I was in when I was being abused by someone who had power over me and the people who were supposed to protect me let it happen. None of what made all that possible has changed, I just got away, and I don’t think that change is possible because I can’t imagine what would cause them to wake up and see the truth of things if past events already haven’t.
That’s the crux of my current distance from my parents. Despite all the years that have passed (almost eleven since I left) and all the growth and change that has happened, they still don’t understand how their silence hurt me, they can’t see how my childhood looked and still looks to me, and they can’t seem to understand the impact this has had on the entire family (them, myself, and all my siblings). I’m currently trying to figure out what kind, if any, of relationship I want with them and I have no idea what I want on even the most basic level because I cannot bring myself to hope that things will change with them after almost twenty-nine years of this.
Which means that, since this is the emotional/head space I go to every time, I have a hard time getting from seeing the problems with how governments respond, the media reports, and my fellow privileged beneficiaries of systemic racism respond to ways we can improve or a path forward for us all to travel down. Intellectually, I’m certain one exists and I’ve even read some really great articles about what needs to change and how society can go about changing it, but I’m still emotionally stuck in this space where no one with power will ever change and the best we can hope to do is get to a place where they no longer have power over their victims.
I feel like I’m making this about me more than I should be, so I welcome any and all criticism and correction that comes as a result. I can’t stay silent but I also struggle to get past this gaping wound/jagged scar in my past that puts a filter on everything I see and experience. I’m trying, and I hope that counts for something, but this isn’t about me or my comfort, this is about doing my best and learning. And if I can tackle a lifetime of trauma and the disassociation that happens every time I try to grapple with this stuff, you can at least challenge your own biases and think critically about how the media and government is responding to what is happening.
I was going to write more about what I’ve been thinking and doing, but I think I’ve said enough today. There’s always more to be said about what’s happening, but there are many more qualified people saying it and I have nothing to add. I’ll get back to posting other stuff eventually, and talking about my attempts to be mentally and physically healthy during the pandemic times, but right now I hope you go educate yourself about what is going on if you haven’t already.