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How To Speak Up When It's Never Been Safe To Use Your Voice

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

I know many of you want to speak up, but aren’t sure what to say, don’t want to say the wrong thing, or may even feel frozen when thinking about talking to a racist family member or sharing a post. Using your voice + confrontation is scary when it’s never been safe and your body literally shuts down from dorsal collapse when triggered around these things.

Now is a time where we need to take time to ramp up our self care, disconnect from our phones, and use our tools, and get support, more than ever. I’m talking to those of you who want to be Anti Racist and feel overwhelmed. I’ve had days like this over the last week too.

So acknowledge where your nervous system is at, right now. Are you in fight or flight? Shut down or freeze? If you’re disregulated it makes complete sense with everything happening. Resource yourself, then try again. Do what you can do, even if it’s just to sign a petition today. That’s probably more than most and it matters.

This is not a pass for some folx who want to avoid this whole topic, who want to avoid accountability, who want to ignore that their inner racism as a non Black person is something that needs to be looked at at some point. Our traumas as non Black people are not a pass to do nothing ever. Maybe today it feels like too much, that’s ok. But let’s be willing to look at these things in ourselves. Let’s meet our resistance with curiosity. Let’s have a broader understanding that healing from trauma also includes the ways we’ve unknowingly been the toxic ones in our relationships or the racist ones in our society.

Healing is cyclical, not linear. The further we go the more we know how much we really don’t know. The more we are able to feel agency and power in our own lives, the more we feel empowered to help others. No one is expecting us to fix this today or be a “perfect Anti Racist” as this doesn’t exist. It’s really messy. I was talking to my coach today and he reminded me that being ok with messy is growth. When we’ve had messy, chaotic, dysfunctional childhoods upheaval can be extra triggering and many of us became perfectionist to cope. Let’s be messy together ok?

With Compassion,

Cassandra Solano, LCSW

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