I just realized what a fraud this world is. Not in the abstract scapegoating sense. But like, in the imposter sense. I grew up trusting that those before me knew what they were doing. That all the discomfort and confusion that arose from cutting down my soul to fit into the world was just growing pains because on the other side of the assimilation awaited bliss and perfection. Just like punching in numbers on a machine, I’d run smoothly. And being a passive participant gave me the luxury of not shouldering the responsibility for my own growth, but on the flip side it meant that I had no real freedom.
So now I sit a few weeks removed from my 27th birthday and I’m bitter that my sacrifices weren’t sacrifices but losses. I shudder at the unwelcoming cold gust of reality and I’m tempted to step back into my warm cocoon of illusions.
*** small hours:
I was watching a YouTube clip about Azalea Banks erratic behaviour and many of the comments speculated that her behaviour was due to an underlying mental illness. And while I might agree that she has serious mental health issues, I don’t like how mental disorder is portrayed as something that completely possesses one. I don’t like how a person’s conscious decisions to be an asshole is lumped together with their mental illness. And I think it’s partially because those of us who DO suffer from any kind of mental health issue are treated as bystanders by healthcare professionals. A treatment is mostly geared towards how a mental illness affects one, and little is discussed in the way of the dynamics between the mind and the illness. Where does the line cross?
Of course, many other factors such as an avoidance driven culture of consuming (possessing) and stigma contributes to the underdeveloped knowledge about mental health.
But I’d like to see more nuance to this, as a sufferer myself. It’s imperative to gain control of one’s perception so as to not fall victim to learned helplessness which usually ends fatally due to suicide.
I’m trying to find the balance between validating feelings and being the driver of them (proactively). Validation taken to an extreme becomes complacency, and proactivity taken to an extreme becomes emotional numbing and avoidance. And both scenarios culminate in toxicity and self-destruction.
<Regarding a post about shedding light on the police brutality meted out on Native Americans through using the hashtag Native Lives Matter, a variant of Black Lives Matter.>
I’ve read some of the comments that object to the appropriation of BLM, citing as reason the exploitation of blacks and antiblackness being mainstay features of non-black POCs. While I can see the point in the criticism of the antiblackness within the POC community, I think this attitude of tit for tat will hurt blacks more because it’s invoking a victim mentality and focusing on all the ways blacks are screwed over will only strengthen and increase those things. And while we are at it, this was a movement started by a handful. It wasn’t an international collaboration, yet ALL blacks around the globe are chiming in with support – including me, a Somali in Scandinavia. Though I don’t share the history of slavery and institutionalized racism and financial undermining as the black Americans, I share in the effects of white supremacy. And I try to remember my relative privilege in not living in the circumstances that black Americans face, and not make it seem like I experience their struggle. I also try to address the antiblackness within OUR community as Somalis; we have a lot of hatred of blacks, calling them ‘adoon’ which means ‘slaves’, referring to the Bantus. It’s a remnant of colonialism that divided Africans into ‘negroids’ who were supposedly primitive savages in need of the enlightenment of the White Man , and the Hamitics (also called Caucasoid) who because of their different phenotype were said to be descendants of the whites, and hence superior to the negroids. The hamitics were said to be the Ethiopians, Somalis, Egyptians, Moroccans. They came up with this theory to counter the cognitive dissonance that came from finding advanced colonies and cultures in a continent that was supposed to be primitive and backwards.I say all that to say that antiblackness isn’t fixed. It’s a feature of white supremacy, and we are all affected by it to whatever extent. I therefore suggest that we shift our focus from defensiveness to a universal focus of connection instead of domination. The fear some have of the naming of NLM is one rooted in power struggles. They fear that BLM will be hijacked and disempowered by non-blacks, as has happened in the past.
But it’s this fear that will undo us, because we are operating from a place of fear and scarcity mentality. We’ll eventually find that our fears will culminate in a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think it’s imperative that we become self-aware and go deeper than just voicing our pain. At the end of it all, WE have to do the job of healing. No one can do that for us. And it’s because we’ve internalized the antiblackness and white supremacy that we’ve been complacent for very long. We have to realize that though the system is rigged against us, we aren’t helpless. We have the power of self-authorship, despite what anyone might say or do against us. This is universal for all humans. We retain the narration we give to what happens. And it’s that narration, not the external events, that shape us. To take full power, we also must bear the brunt of the responsibility. And this is something we like to evade. We like to linger in the victim mentality for longer than necessary because it’s easier to identify the perpetrators than it is to identify what we do have control over. Because no matter how much we abhor the evil done in this world, we CAN’T control it. But we can control our perception, and THAT shapes our reality.
“To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.“
— Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
“The Negro enslaved by his inferiority, the white man enslaved by his superiority alike behave in accordance with a neurotic orientation.”
— Frantz Fanon (Black Skin, White Masks)
“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe”
– Frantz Fanon ( The Wretched of the Earth)
“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.”
— Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)