As I work to heal myself, I also work to heal my relationship to race and white privilege. As a traumatized teen, I could not see my privilege, yet as I’ve healed, gotten older, and learned more, I am able to see, even despite the trauma I endured, the great amount of privilege I had as a result of the color of my skin, the socioeconomic status of my family, and even the access to mental health resources I had when I began to heal. It’s been tough to face, but at the same time, a big area for me to heal with love.
On top of that, the people who helped me heal the most were people of color – my first Reiki teacher and my stepfather. They truly carried a weight I did not understand at the time. A decade ago my Reiki teacher talked to me about privilege and whiteness, concepts I truly had no idea of at the time, as “educated” as I considered myself to be. I am greatly indebted to her for those conversations. My stepfather, as a Native American, was not allowed to go to school and suffered greatly from racism throughout his life. I truly learned to see what it meant to have white privilege from spending time with him- I learned about following other cultural rules when I went to Pow-Wows with him, and also about the history of Native Americans in this country, the true brutality of which I was largely unaware of before I knew him. And yet, we loved each other, and he saw a “me” that others could not see- the me in my heart. My Reiki teacher did the same thing. I love them both greatly.
How can I carry these lessons forward? I’m trying my best to share from a place of honesty and love and truth. I also believe healing doesn’t stop when we feel love in our hearts- it stops when everyone is equal, has access to resources, and is safe to live, to love, and to be loved. Healing oneself, I believe, should eventually involve healing one’s community in whatever way one is able to. I work on it every day by books I read, businesses and organizations I support, and conversations I have. I’m not perfect, but I practice – every day.