Bigger than Myself

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. On the face of it all, things have been going well. My resilience has been better, even though people I love have been going through a tough time. I got my first lot of feedback from my Masters – which reassures me that I’m on the right track, as well as the privilege of meeting some incredible people. My coaching practice is growing and maturing, and January introduced me to some new opportunities and clients which has been very exciting. I’m surrounded by people who love, care and respect me.

Over the last few days, I’ve been in a real funk. I can’t concentrate or focus. I seem to have a million thoughts and none all at once. My heart feels heavy and I can’t seem to feel grounded. And I had no idea why.

Until this morning.

After distracting myself on social media, it dawned on me. The persistent news and climate had been overwhelming my subconscious. It wasn’t until I was having my monthly business catch up with a friend that I was able to finally be vocal about what the issue was. I am scared.

As a British Born Chinese person who lives in Norfolk, UK, my social media and news feeds has been full of people’s stories and experiences of racism following the news of the Coronavirus and of Brexit. The stories of British Chinese people’s experiences of racism in the past week has been relentless. People, including young children and the elderly, have been spat at, sworn at, laughed at and told to “go back to China” up and down the country. Although I haven’t experienced this personally this week, I realise now that it’s impacted me more so than I initially thought.

I was in London this week for a meeting. I’m there quite regularly and usually enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. It felt different this time though. I was uncomfortable being surrounded by so many people. On reflection, it’s because I didn’t feel safe; I didn’t know what the danger might by or where it would come from. This is a feeling that is always there in the background, developed after years of experiencing comments, catcalls, threats and harassment as a woman of colour. But now, right now, I am so aware of it and there are people who have been emboldened to behave in this way.

I’m sad because I want to be optimistic about the world.

I’m afraid that my young sister will have to endure some of the bullying and harassment that I hoped was left within my own childhood.

I’m worried that my grandmother might get abused in the street as she goes about her day-to-day.

I’m anxiously assessing the risk has on my family’s businesses.

I’m frustrated that this still happens – and that there are people who experience this more often than I do, who are told to just get over it.

I’m angry that this hatred is creating a bigger chasm in society.

I feel helpless because all of this is bigger than myself.

However, there is good news.

It IS bigger than me. There have been some incredible responses to the racist behaviours and actions that have taken place, such as this response to the “Happy Brexit Day” note left in my local area and hearing stories about active bystanders who intervene on public transport when abuse is happening. 

This IS bigger than all of us and, in my current state of vulnerability, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to each of you who advocate, defend, and support others. The fact that you understand that the emotional and mental load of always being the person to stand up against the hate and ignorance (especially if it’s directed at them), and are willing to be an active and vocal ally means a great deal to someone who, at that point in time, doesn’t have the energy or courage themselves to deal with it – that is the work of a superhero.

It’s OK if you don’t know how, yet. But try. Ask questions. Use your kind intention and the skills you have to-hand. Please try.

If it helps, we were never told how to deal with it either…

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