I’ve been doing trauma work clinically for over 21 years. The arcs of personal trauma and community trauma are, not surprisingly, entirely parallel:
There comes a time when we are strong enough, well-enough endowed at every level that we can boldly refuse our Perpetrator’s definition of us. We can create our lives on OUR terms and shed the lies the Perpetrator told us about ourselves.
If we are still entangled with our Perpetrator, this can get seriously ugly.
Does it “need” to be? That answer is well above my pay grade. The fact is, it IS ugly. The healing fact that comes along side is that we can USE the struggle well.
On the individual level, when we continue to do our healing work, we come to a place where we trust our self definitions and create a better life.
It’s a process – we move through it in stages:
* First, we realize that the Perpetrator has been defining us and our existence, and we are not ok with it. We recognize that we no longer need to comply with the Perpetrator to survive.
* Next, we start resisting it. We have to fight internally and externally to hold onto the Truth that is emerging. The struggle is tumultuous and sometimes feels like dying. Something is, in fact, dying, but it isn’t us; It’s the life we have outgrown.
* Eventually, we make the Perpetrator irrelevant. There is tremendous peace in apathy.
Sometimes the fight to disentangle ourselves from Perpetrators who have actual power over our lives is brutal. Perpetrators do not like being disempowered. They sometimes pull out all of the stops to try to prevent us from breaking free.
The brutality of it feels so unnecessary. And yet, there it is. They won’t let us go easily.
Fortunately for us, railing against the Perpetrator gives us a strength and a clarity that we can use to create our lives on our own terms. As I have long said: If life is going to… crap on you, you might as well turn it into fertilizer and grow something amazing.
And so it is in the current struggle for social justice. In this current moment, we haven’t been given much choice but to rail against the Perpetrator. Our unjust and violently abusive system is not going down easily.
Each push back we give adds strength to our self-definition. When we rail against the lie that the BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color) community can be treated with anything but essential respect, dignity, equity and celebration, we gain muscle in co-creating the community we truly desire.
When we use our rage well, we move toward healing.
Use your rage well, friends. Strengthen your muscles in the struggle as work together to make the Perpetrator irrelevant.
BIPOC communities are taking their proper place, defined on their own terms, demanding the equity and respect that should have always been present.
Non-BIPOC are gaining the courage to look at the ways we have been the Perpetrator. We wake up to our legacy of forcing BIPOC to comply with OUR definitions, expectations and comfort. We repent, not just in words but in actions, in support, in legislation, and in interpersonal exchanges. We refuse to continue perpetrating.
We use our collective rage at social injustice to change the culture at large for the good.
Use this excrement well. Let’s create something truly AMAZING.