“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
There are moments when I just don’t want to do what I do anymore. It’s draining. I desire to make a difference, a meaningful difference in this crazy world, but I’m tired of feeling like I’m failing.
One of those moments took place this weekend. I’m almost embarrassed to share yet feel called to express what’s in my heart.
My emotions have been all over the place lately, vacillating from despair and hopelessness to joy and hopefulness. In a moment of feeling powerless, I reached out to a dear friend, Tamara Batsell – a wise soul with a beautiful heart who also happens to be a black woman. Tamara and I have been working together for some time. She’s someone I look up to – a powerful voice that I needed in the midst of chaos.
Within moments of hearing her voice and her grounded perspective on the recent protests and uprising centered around racism, I was in tears. I was a puddle of emotion as Tamara remained a powerful touchstone for me. She reminded me that recent events aren’t new for her. Racism is a daily reality. It’s given her a “thicker skin,” one that’s served her living as a Black woman in a racist world.
I poured out my heart to my sister, my friend. I was pained by powerlessness, feeling unable to make a difference, to move the needle on racism even within my own community – the backyard Tamara and I both play in regularly.
What led me down an emotional path was my latest blog post with a bold call to action asking my community to join me in taking a stand to be actively Anti-Racist and to celebrate our black community – to take that positive light we shine on Ageism and extend it toward our black sisters. There was also a selection of resources that were put together to help us all better understand racism and how we can change and help.
Almost no one in the community that I founded, our tribe with the kind vibe, seemed to care. The silence was deafening.
What added to my dismay and shock was the clear disinterest I received on my post and the call to action. Only a handful of people clicked through to the blog on a powerful post asking women to band together and declare themselves Anti-Racists in the midst of worldwide riots and protests. There was less than a tenth of the usual traffic.
That was eye opening. I also saw that more women unsubscribed from my email list in a single day than ever had before. Tamara wasn’t surprised. She reminded me of a favorite quote by Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” She went on to say: “also thank them.” She told me that when I take a stand on racism as I have, I would most likely lose a large part of my audience. But, she also shared that the supporters who remain are the real ones, the important ones. In time, I would build a much bigger platform, one that’s authentic, diverse, and inclusive.
Looking back, I suppose I’ve been naive. Shifting paradigms isn’t easy. It takes time. It takes patience. It’s hard work. Many don’t want to come along. Many foolishly see racism as politicized, and let’s be real … in today’s theater of the absurd political climate, any commentary that appears to be political is going to piss off half your audience.
Making headway on racism is a long term proposition.
Let’s be clear. I’m in for the long term!
For me, my dismay wasn’t about the numbers, losing subscribers or a large part of my audience. The sadness was in seeing the truth, understanding that all women, Fierce women, don’t wish to join me to be actively anti-racist.
Tamara’s final words were: “Perhaps it’s time to disconnect, take time for you and focus on joy.” The irony wasn’t lost on me. In the midst of a country in pain, divided over racism, an issue Tamara has dealt with her entire life, she was the one calming me. By the end of the call, I felt hope returning. I felt my heart perk up a bit.
One thing I know for sure is the times when we change the most are often the most painful times of our lives. Challenges and suffering force us to break open. It’s only when we are broken open that we can search deep within and begin to heal.
Tamara reminded me that this is not an easy path. Racism is part of our culture. It takes time to unwind it. Sometimes, a lot more time than we have in our lifetime. What I’m learning is some people will be open to joining me and working to be actively Anti-Racist and some won’t. The ones who choose to join me I’ll welcome with open arms and open hearts. To the others, I’ll thank them for showing me who they are and send them on their way. The Forever Fierce Revolution is the Tribe With the Kind Vibe, one that has no room and zero tolerance for racism of any kind.
I am so grateful that I have a Sister to lean on.
I shared this with another amazing Sister, Lana Lindgren, and her response was so wonderful, it deserves it’s own place here:
“I wish I could spend the day talking to Tamara. I feel such a connection to her words. Thank you for this reminder. ” – Lana
Women like Tamara give me hope. Women like Tamara make me want to fight the good fight until the end, to do what I can as a white woman in a racist world to leave this world a better place, one that’s more accepting and inclusive, one that’s Forever Fierce and filled with Moxie.
In the end, it doesn’t take an enormous number of people to change the world. It comes down to humans with conviction, Fierce women who don’t quit, kind hearts who are in for the long haul. I want to extend my gratitude to those kind hearts who have stepped forward, to those Fierce Sisters who are right there beside me fighting the good fight, the only fight that matters. Let’s do this together.
If you are interested in joining a developing “movement within a movement,” and taking a stand to end complacency and step into being actively anti-racist, please follow Tamara @tbstyleworks and in the Forever Fierce Revolution Community. She leads a powerful “Transparent Tuesday” Facebook Live at 5:30 pm PST. If you missed her live last week, you can find it here to inspire you to fight the good fight.
Cheers Beauties! Will you join me in changing this crazy world as this crazy world needs some changing?
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