For anyone raised to be invisible, it can feel excruciatingly difficult to identify and discuss disrespect. To recognize requires self-knowledge and a belief in one's right to exist. But by our very upbringing, we did not learn that we have any rights. No one talked with us about our identities or how our bodies relate to our feelings. We didn't learn to notice our emotions or thoughts or how it feels when others treat us poorly. Caretakers or wider society treated our feelings with a lack of respectful kindness, and we developed a harshness about us. Later, we may remain in partnerships with people who hurt us because we do not recognize when we hurt or know what it looks like to stick up for ourselves. It takes courage and tenacity to change our invisibility, and we may feel so tired from years of abuse and neglect that we don't have it in us to make a single additional change. Another part of us may not be aware that we need to change. Maybe we perceive how others hurt us, but we do not see that we could have hurt someone else. It can take our breath away at first, and it would behoove us to learn the difference between a legitimate concern and one meant to drag us back into a violent situation. But even that we likely won't know how to do in the beginning. People will certainly take advantage of us, and it will be unfair and life will suck for a while. We will make excellent choices and some may turn into terrible choices when retrospect arrives. It's ok, though. We won't believe that at first or for a while. We'll go back to our previous ways and lurch and rattle. Even that is ok. We get up again. We clean our wounds, gently apply salve, rest. Then we move onward. Forward. Wipe away our own tears and pull together beliefs into a cocoon of collaboration with respect and love. We allow ourselves to feel fascinated with life, to trust our instincts again.
Some of the most valuable lessons are the most uncomfortable to acquire. Our instincts tell us messages all the time, and it's up to us to decipher which ones are relevant. Sometimes we make expensive mistakes and others appear to wrest our livelihood from us. We have to be able to see ourselves through the most challenging of emotions and times because future us needs us. Many of the invisible among us are not familiar with this kind of self-respect. We do not see a future us that loves and nurtures us. We do not yet recognize harm or a necessity for boundaries. So harm happens. We get hurt. Over and over again. Until we practice with help for ourselves and what that means for us. Life's circumstances may reign unfair all around us and beat us down multiple times. It sucks. The cards are stacked against the middle and lower socioeconomic classes when it comes to financial health, wealth, and stability. From what I've read, sheer luck alone is rarely an element that shifts poverty into wealth. It is luck, effort, discipline, and a community that supports prosperity in its members.
To really enjoy life or wealth and stability -- this is the struggle the majority faces, the conflict that builds art, music, and comfort. We must nurture our own worlds of abundance, to a certain extent, and then do what is necessary at a social level to encourage and sustain justice in our communities. Maybe this means speaking up against racism or sexism or making a gesture or sound that expresses discomfort when it rears its head. Maybe it means silence sometimes and a journal of events. Being open to discussion and allowing that people will make mistakes over and over again just like we do. In my professional and neighbor world, emotions are often associated with weakness. As in, display any emotion and you've lost an imaginary war. It's weird and uncomfortable. People heap on words meant to inspire anxiety and confusion, a ploy at destabilization. They laugh at the prospect of tossing someone off-center -- like, "Ha ha! What a fun game for me!" This behavior initially tends to confuse a natural instinct to trust and love. It is callous in its one-sided humor, and we are programmed to think of a whole that includes all sides. We may not know how to address mean or cruel because our lives haven't included an education in self-knowledge or self-respect.
When we are able and willing, we search for our own solutions and put them into place. We practice and keep going. The first and second and fifteenth effort may feel humiliating. We are able to hear ourselves. We can like ourselves and support our visibility with a balance of nurture and love.
Well hello there.