Protect Your Energy: A Self Care Manifesto for Difficult Times

By Dionne Elizabeth

I'm angry these days. Sad. Hurt. Scared.

Referendum blues.

Like many others.

Although I've been acutely aware of not feeling completely welcome in the UK since first being called the “n” word at 4 years old (and too many times since), told to “go back to where you came from” and informed that people like me are “polluting white blood”, bullied, chased, terrorized, hounded for years – decades ­battling against macro and microaggressions on the daily (yes, also in Norway and all the other places in Europe that I've lived, and yes, in the yoga industry too). It's still sickening, but perhaps not shocking, to see these results and right wing propaganda becoming normal, encouraged and supported.

Despite voting to stay in the European Union (EU), it's not as though Europe opens its arms wide to people like me, that's for sure. My experience of living in countries in Europe (life in the UK, Spain, France and Norway, and a fair amount of time in Greece) taught me that. But what frightens me is this rising wave that normalizes and encourages fear of the Other. People of Color have always known and felt it, but this result (to leave the EU) really brings all those xenophobic rants to the fore. The triggers and traumas are real.

I have so much to say, but my hands still shake too much to type about what has happened to many communities of nonwhite people since the results, and I'm struggling to formulate words as I choke on my tongue in disgust.  ́m hurting. I’m trying my hardest not to engage in dead end debates that make me feel physically ill and rouse my anxiety until I'm stuck in a fear paralysis, scared to leave the house and go about my daily business. I've spent far too long embroiled in pointless Facebook discussions with folks who deny my experience. Our experience. Who deny that systematic racism is real. Who deny the brutal history of colonialism. Who think this result has nothing to do with racism. Those self proclaimed liberals who say nothing when their friends or family make excruciatingly offensive and dangerous statements, seemingly ignorant that being passive and doing nothing to challenge these behaviors is consenting to them.

I'm tired. My insides hurt. And I know I’m not alone.

A Clearer Mission.

Knowing how many people around me are experiencing symptoms of grief, shock, despair, trauma, anger, fury, and so on, it is now, more than ever that my focus is on how to hold space for them and others. To remind us all to protect our energy.

My mission is to offer self-care sessions and to facilitate ways for people to implement their own strategies into every single day. Trauma sensitivity and mental health awareness too, which is important as well. Whether my mission reaches people via a blog post, a community class, my radio show (FEELINGS), a social media post, a course, a workshop or a retreat, it impacts everything. And after almost three years of resistance in my local community, thanks to the support of wonderful women around me, including Black Girl In Om Founder Lauren Ash, I offer space to Women of Color in my community to gather, move, connect, explore, inspire, replenish, thrive, heal, feel solidarity, to be and to breathe easy.

We can't waste our energy trying to engage in conversations when someone has already made their mind up about what and who they think you are.

Our energy is precious.

In times when I don't feel the strength to push forward. To step in and challenge ignorance when I don't have the stocks, I remember that we have other choices.

 

PHOTO: DIONNE ELIZABETH

PHOTO: DIONNE ELIZABETH

Dionne Elizabeth contributes to Black Girl In Om because she is interested in wellness, mental health, trauma recovery and building community. She is based between the UK and Norway. You can find her on Twitter, on her website, and Instagram (@changingtm).