I am not ok and if you are, check your privileges!
It’s an overwhelming time to be a therapist of color in the US. I have been focusing on de-centring myself to listen, observe, reflect and act more for the most oppressed group of people in the US, Black/African-American communities.
The past couple of weeks has been impacting me in a significant ways. It’s been multi layered. I started having flashbacks of protests in Iran when riots and curfews started . The tactics that the US was putting into place were so similar to Iranian regime. As a Baha’i inspired, I never had a chance to get exposed to certain dynamics, and places to learn advocacy in a different way that was encouraged in the Bahai community! We still did what we’d always do though, getting together as a community, holding space for the unknown, and praying for the innocent people who got killed during those protests. So I carry this belief that has a loud voice that tells me “you didn’t do enough”.
The silence and fragilities of white people in the US reminds me of the silence of Iranians towards the oppression that Baha’is have been enduring since the revolution, 1978.
Being encouraged to check my privileges; I have been having flashbacks of leaving Iran, the heaviness of survivor’s guilt holding my throat, and stopping me from breathing normally. I am being reminded of shoving those feelings under the rug because I had to stay focus and fight for my own survival as an immigrant, meanwhile my beloved BIHE classmate, Soudabeh Haghighat is being imprisoned for 6 years solely due to her religious beliefs, for being othered in Iran.
As an Iranian woman, US police brutalities have been reminding me of the brutalities against women in Iran, their fights against our bodies. When I am being reminded of the level of hypervigilance that I am still carrying in my body after 10 years of leaving my own country when exposed to cops, I feel an ounce of fear of a Black man.
And of course on top of all of these my responsibilities towards my Black clients and thinking “ I cannot fail them” as a therapist of color, since there are only a few of us in a highly white dominated field, and I am being bombarded by resources that are piling up!
So I have been noticing these trauma responses and thought patterns and telling myself that I still have a great deal of healing to attend to, don’t worry I am in therapy already.
It’s definitely been a ride, and I don’t have a privilege of disconnecting from news and social media because I need to be informed for my clients. I also know that in order to be consistent with anti-racism work I need to be mindful of self-preservation, otherwise I will burn out easily.
Even if I’m exhausted right now that doesn’t mean that I won’t do the work, and that’s what my right brain needs to hear. As a trauma therapist I know how important and necessary is to make space for the resiliency as we are fighting against any traumas. In addition to having friends that are down to join me to take the rage and frustration to the street.I have had beautiful moments through meditation, praying ,and tapping into ancestral strength. Impactful people are showing up in my dreams and offering me hugs and words of affirmations, mesmerizing effects of listening to music and of course dancing.