Between yesterday and today I crossed a line I shouldn’t have. And through this, I caused pain and distress to at least two women who did not deserve so at all.
I entered the space of a Black woman on instagram in one of her posts and, with one ignorant comment, I wrecked havoc and started a process that fully transform my day and possibly my life forever.
As I was called out by another black woman around my self-indulgent comment, I lashed out and from there started what became a two days tug-of-war between my ego and my commitment to becoming a better ancestor, whilst continuing to release poison and toxicity in a space that wasn’t even about me, and in that process I caused distress and pain to these two women who, from the get go, were just pushing me to check my privilege, do the work and respect them and their spaces, instead of just saying I would.
The more I got triggered by their requests, the more I slipped into it, causing more harm, becoming more and more the person whom I often judged and criticised: An entitled privileged toxic woman. It took me a night of little sleep to face my discomfort, and instead of justify the $h&tiness of it, to realised the whole deal, to own the fact that I brought that to THEM. It was ME the one in the wrong. It was ME the one invading THEIR space, causing THEM harm, gaslighting THEM, and denying MY responsibility and ignorance through it all.
Then today, as I blocked one of the commentators who righteously called me out on my BS out of fragility and then went with grandiose pomp to the original author about paying reparations, even though I wasn’t even truly owning my mistakes, I finally realised how I was behaving and decided to NOT do that again, NOT to continue that behaviour, and instead to really show up and do my work.
To be perfectly honest, I have been feeling a lot of shame about this today. I have felt small, useless, fake. I have been reminded of my own shortcomings, my privilege and how easy it is to centre life around me because of it. But that’s the thing, right? It’s easy for ME to do that. To become the victim, instead of realising that this discomfort I felt for being told off for my pathetic behaviour is NOTHING compared to the pain and distress I caused them.
See, that’s what I suddenly realised:
Standing in that discomfort is the price we ought to pay when we invade spaces created by Black People and People of Colour for themselves. This is what I deserved for coming in and bringing nothing but toxicity and ignorance.
Thus, I decided that instead of dragging yet another Black woman into this, asking for free education and salvation from a performative position, I needed to own it. The pain. The shame. The crappiness of my actions… and then I went back to the “blocked commentator” and apologised truly. With no buts, no excuses, because the reality is that my behaviour was awful. Period. There was no justifying it. And she deserved better. So I did.
As we got to talk, I realised that I was lucky for her. I didn’t deserve her support or help at all. And I was lucky for it. She didn’t owe me anything at all, yet she pushed me to grow, and for that I was lucky.
At times like this I realise that the reason why I need to remove the Pretty and Perfect Mask I tend to wear isn’t just to “live authentically” blah, blah, blah, but because if I don’t the chances of me causing pain and sorrow to oppressed communities is HIGH whilst the chances of me even realising my toxicity and potential for destruction VERY LOW.
This is why doing the work is key if I ever wish to become a better ancestor, to be a better example, to truly change the world. Because in all honesty, I can do events, talks and e-books and still cause harm, and still hurt others, and still oppress the same communities I say I’m committed to empowering
So, here are my three lesson learned after this day packed with pain, shame and realisation:
I don’t get to ask for help, I don’t get to be the victim: Yes, we MUST learn, we MUST grow, we MUST do better, but unless we’re willing to pay abundantly to those offering the resources we need AND then doing the work we must to grow, we should NEVER just ask for help. That is entitled, fake and self-centred, and does NOTHING to repair the harm we caused.
Only by showing up authentically, we stop doing harm: The more we maintain the Good Girl façade, that fake veneer of perfection, the least we realise that our self-righteous anger is an excuse to make ourselves the centre of events in which, most of the times WE are the ones causing harm, oppressing and disrespecting others, instead of realising that there’s still work to get done daily.
Those oppressed can still oppress: Flaunting my Latina card should had tipped me off about this, clearly. Unfortunately, I was too busy causing harm to get it. Being part of an oppressed group doesn’t make you immune to causing harm unto others, to oppressing others, to distressing spaces NOT made for you. Just like reverse racism is poppycock, so it is to believe that not enjoying white privilege makes you somehow perfect. This I learned today.
As I continue doing the work, and clearly there’s a lot that needs addressing still, I hope to remain accountable and humble, honest and authentic, open to growth, open to being called off, open to saying I’m sorry and then changing.
This journey, with all its gains and loses, needs to continue and, as it does, I hope to learn new lessons without causing as much pain as I did today. One can only hope for the better in the end.