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Friday, August 6, 2021

Reflections on Healing before the 3rd Midwest Mixed Conference

Reader, I ask for your supportive witness at this time.

The following detail may not make sense to you if you haven’t done trauma work or read My Grandmother’s Hands. And that’s ok.

Some of you know I’ve been working on a project called Biracial and Rural, a community of care and storytelling space. It’s an urging that has been growing for several years and starting to take more shape as I have made space for more healing. I’m at a point where connecting with many mixed folks to build out a working advisory board to create an arts-centered retreat next year. This is exciting and my body is FREAKED OUT.

Except for very specific activities, the last two weeks have been hazy and it’s been hard to focus my time when not working with an immediate goal. It occurred to me this morning that this is hazy decontextualized trauma from my childhood (and probably older too).

Today and tomorrow, I’ll be attending the 3rd biennial Midwest Mixed conference. I attended the first two and received the gift of feeling seen by others with similar experiences of otherness at the first and the gift of longing for more nuanced relate ability at the second. The clarity of Biracial & Rural was born and continues to evolve from that. This year I’m really diving into connecting with others (in a hybrid but mostly online experience!). What was an inner experience is becoming an outer experience. (If you’ve read Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness you’ll recognize the Möbius strip)

This is stirring up ideas about myself and will potentially radically change my relationships in the world. I grew up in the predominantly white rural plains. I went to a predominately white liberal arts college in arguably one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. I was employed full time by a predominantly white institution of higher learning for over a decade. The churches I have served have also been predominantly white.

I am stepping more intentionally into spaces where mixed race-ethnicity and black, indigenous, people of color are centered and leading. This is both thrilling and scary to me. I’m thrilled to be liberating myself of the whiteness I’ve been immersed in for so long (five decades!). I’m scared to discover how much whiteness I have internalized and might carry into these spaces and toxify them.

And that’s what I can name. I remember so little of my childhood and I’m guessing it’s because I was in a dissociative freeze pattern for much of it. Predominantly white spaces are so familiar to me. I’m moving into spaces where this is not the case and I’m afraid of not belonging and acceptance all over again.

Except I have more resources and understanding at the ready. Im more aware of how my body is in space and when I’m not conscious and it’s being driven by undercurrents of ancient fear and protection. I still need to practice these resources and I’m far from catching myself early. And I’m moving along, being with and metabolizing what pain is available to be released.

Part of healing is being witnessed by community. Thank you for reading this far. I welcome your comments that tell me “I see you.”

Please don’t tell me you understand as I may block you in haste. What I’ve shared is a lot and invite you into a deeper relationship with your own reactions to it. I may or may not have time to unpack it with you. Do find a trusted person to do so. You will be enriched in your healing journey.

Much love and care, C-

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