*Disclaimer: Writing this post brought up some hard questions about my faith in God,as well as my faith in myself that I will discuss later. Writing this post also made me realize the depth of my desire in regards to mental health and wellness. In addition to seeing individuals mentally healthy; I am also looking forward to living in a healthy world.
Note to Self: Robin, I know that you were born into a certain racial population and that these certain racial populations have experienced much pain for many years. I know there are many cases, states, and continents where brown people are still marginalized and as a result a certain dislike has arisen for a certain people. You have become distrustful of white people because you feel that deep on the inside they don’t care about you or “your people”. You believe that they don’t feel you matter. Therefore, you have placed them in a box with the same intent. White people or any person that does not care about the brown person does not matter to you. You have met their “disdain” for you with disdain for them. I am telling you now; release it. It is unhealthy and you are only perpetuating a cycle of hate. Let it go!
Since I have been on my mental health journey, one of the things I was trying to determine, was my belief system. Not the beliefs of my family, not the belief of my friends, not my church, nor my teachers, but my own belief system. And what I decided early on in my journey was that there is only ONE RACE; the HUMAN RACE. We are all human beings. This means that it does NOT matter what color you are, it does NOT matter what your financial status is, your sexual orientation or religious beliefs are, we are all human and should be treated as such. That is treated fairly, equally, and most importantly like we matter with love, kindness, and patience. Right? Right.
Unfortunately, even though the seed had been planted in me other experiences had taken deep root inside of me. This dislike and distrust for people who did not look like me, who did not come from the place I came from, and who did not speak the language I spoke was ingrained in me since I was young. I succumbed to the unhealthy feelings that are festering all around the world. I was hurt. I felt helpless as I watch young black men being killed worst than dogs on the street, black men in horrible conditions in prison, and young women paying the cost for the actions of a broken system. I was hate full. Yet, the Lord placed these seeds of oneness in me, of a united front, of love. Even as I write this, the Lord is saying do not bring up the things of the past, but allow forgiveness to overflow from your heart. Forgiveness of America’s history. Forgiveness is the only thing that will heal us from the inside out and someone has to step out on faith to be that person. Will it be you?
The other night I was watching a movie on Netflix called 22 July direct by Paul Greengrass (I do not suggest you watch this if you are sensitive to violent material). I usually do not watch movies like this anymore, but I was unaware how violent the movie would be. The fact that 22 July was a true story peaked my interest and I was ready to learn what happened on that fateful day. In addition, it was directed extremely well and so it grabbed my attention from the very beginning.
Anywho, for those of you unfamiliar with the event; On July 22nd, 2011 in Oslo, Norway as well as the island of Utoya, Norway, a man by the name of Anders Behring Breivik single handily bombed the government headquarters and executed a mass shooting at a leadership summer camp where many of the children of the left wing Labor Party (a Norwegian political party) attended. He killed 77 people and injured more than 200; the worst act of violence in Norway since WWII. The movie follows the recovery of one of the teenage survivors, Viljar Hanssen, who was shot 5 times and his friend Lara Rashid who migrated with family to Norway from Pakistan escaping war. Lara sadly loss her sister in the attack. The movie also follows Breivik’s trial and closes with survivors’ testimonies.
The movie was nerve shaking and powerful. I experienced a shift in my heart when Breivik testified. He begin his testimony with a Nazi salute stating that the reason he executed a murder on 77 people, 69 of them children was because he did not want to become a minority in his own home. Breivik stated that his mission was to plot an anti- Muslim revolution in Europe . He wanted to send a message that multiculturalism would not stand. Breivik committed an act of political warfare.
He admitted to be a member of the alt right and all I felt was fear. Can I be honest? I was fearful because the alt right exist right here in America. Because right here in America we are still til this day having race issues. Right here in America, people are still losing their lives because of the color of their skin. I was shaken. I feared that the alt right would become so big and maybe something like this would happen to black people. Would we be mass murdered again?
As I sat in my room, at the edge of my bed for a moment contemplating my thoughts and my feelings, I immediately begin to think of ways to prevent something like this from happening in America. I began to think about my own ideas and feelings of people different than me. And it wasn’t that hard to identify because every time I am face to face with a person different than me that I do not feel a bond with; I become uncomfortable. And because it is uncomfortable I know that it is an unnatural feeling. There is no reason that I or anyone should feel uncomfortable around a person just because they look different than you.
So what do I do. I decide today, that it is time to stop seeing people for their outside appearance and start looking within. We are but spirits living in human form. Joining forces with good spirits and finding a way to heal the broken ones. I am deciding to be intentional about viewing people with the eyes of Christ and not of my own. It’s of course not going to happen over night, but with practicing love, kindness, and patience I can make a difference in my own life and the people I come across. I can teach my children a new way of thinking instead of spewing disdain and distrust. It’s unhealthy. It’s take more energy to hate someone than to love them.
Moreover, I realize that I may suffer from some sort of PTSD as may you for at least two reasons. But if we are to stay on the topic of hate, the number of mass shootings that happen in America puts me on edge and I know I am not alone. It’s hard to eat out, go to the movies, go to work without checking for the exit signs to ensure you know of a safe route just in case something happens. I find myself saying prayers after I have sent my children off to school that some broken person doesn’t harm them. This is not normal. Hate, untreated mental illness, and violence should not be America’s norm, but these are the times we live in because mental health issues aren’t being taken care of and the cycle of hate is on rotation.
We do not have to live like this anymore. If we just open up our hearts to each other and love each other for the spirit within things could shift. One person can reach another person with love and so on and so forth until we reach the masses. God is calling us to a higher self and through the covering of God we can make a change in America’s atmosphere and eventually the world. We just have to come into agreement that we can have a better, safer, healthier world.
I know this sounds like a bunch of kumbaya nonsense, but I believe. I’m choosing to step out on faith because I feel down in bones there has to be more than life; more joy, more sustenance, more peace, more love, more life.
(FYI: I edited this blog post over a week ago and I am sure I uploaded it. It is no longer edited to my last corrections, so you get the full message including the part about PTSD.)
*The image in this post is a flower I painted after watching 22 July. It was my declaration of choosing love over hate. Hence, all the colors.
**If you are need of seeing a specialist, I encourage you to do so**
Good people are the majority!