I have to admit that when I set out this heading I was more focused on a climate emergency, than a global pandemic or indeed the continuing questions of decolonisation that systemic trauma is always posing.
Yes WTF? I was taking a very privileged stance as they might say. My privilege affords me the right to take a ‘wider view’ to consider the big questions. Do you know why? Because I don’t live my life in abject terror on most days. Fight, flight does stuff to your brain. It’s called trauma.
Yet at the same time, I’m still interested in root cause, you see. The root cause is trauma and trauma in my experience is largely systemic. For me trauma is the question of our generation. That is why I’m always talking about it. It affects everything and my hashtags might teach you.
The earth is not the issue, a global pandemic is not the issue, nor is race. It’s the way that we relate to each other and the world at large that needs to change. It’s why I am interested in the oppressor. I’m interested in a deep examination of self. How to use that personal power to fall out of the system, redirect my attention and create the new.
Systemic oppression is complicated if you are witnessing it through the lens of trauma. We’ve been taught to believe that feelings don’t matter. That only objective facts matter. Except objective facts aren’t human or humane. This is an inherited tool of oppression. It’s been passed down through the generations. It’s one of many. If we don’t care how people feel we don’t care about people.
It’s for that reason that the killing of George Floyd is so powerful it’s an objective fact that he was murdered on film by an organisation that is intended to protect him. We can’t argue with it. It’s truth. Yet at the same time, we aren’t taking the same heed of what ‘isn’t’ happening in the UK, Israel, The Yemen, Brazil or even South Africa. Our social media is biased, or news platforms limited. We are all bound up in systems of oppression. We are all oppressed. That is what the powers that be don’t want you to know. It’s divide and rule all the way.
We need to come together to debase systemic abuse on all fronts, on all levels, in all nations. That until we take control of our own trauma it’s almost impossible to take care of the people we need to help most. I’m ready to be torn down in flames over this. Fuck like really. Decolonisation work is scary. The reason that it is scary is because there is so much trauma involved. You say the wrong thing you hit a nerve and a whole situation explodes. I’ve been there. I’ve been there plenty and still, I need to learn more so I have to ask more questions. Read more books and wonder what is actually going on. Really it’s trauma. The questions that we need to ask is how is our trauma preventing us from acting?
In recent months I have come to a conclusion, even though I’m writing now, even though I am centralising myself and even though I don’t understand everything and I will never get it all right. Oppressors need to be quiet. Unless of course, we are speaking to oppressors about oppression. We need to be able to hold space for the oppressed. We need to do some deep listening if anything is going to change.
The challenge that we face is that we seem to think that emotions aren’t’ real. That rage isn’t justified. Everybody’s rage is justified and it’s the result of not being heard. Black Lives Matter.