Desire to Be Seen
As I've been working through You & White Supremacy. I find myself seeking attention for actively facing my white privilege, Lalya words it as "expecting a cookie". I want acknowledgment for being wrong in the situation, learning from it, and coming back a "better" person. Day 10 for example, I talk about a situation where a co-worker told me off for not taking the time to listen to a walk in customer. I immediately wanted to dive into the story how that walk in, later became a client. Who then invited me to a festival where another human explained the reasons and beliefs behind the festival. That I learned that a language barrier doesn't mean we can't communicate, it just means the communication looks different. That the situation allowed me to become a better person who could handle barriers like a pro. Except there are so many issues with that sentiment. For example, why wasn't I taking the time to listen to the client in the first place? Not only were they a human being deserving to be heard but it was my freaking job. I didn't become a better person by learning to work with communication barriers, I found a way to do my job well enough to get by.
I have always felt like I grew up in the background, never being heard, never being listened too. It's made me an adult that is always looking for some form of reassurances that I have "done the right thing". The reassurance can look different dependent on the situation. For family and friends it's the reassurances that they are hearing me, seeing what I am doing, and aren't abandoning me. For other things it's through rewards, like expecting a cookie for doing something. Oh, I completed 30 days of being sugar free, reward myself with cheesecake. I did 90 days of yoga, reward myself with a new tattoo. I made it through the day, reward myself with whatever it is at that I am craving at that moment. These are all things I have done. Reassurance that I am good and reward for the bare minimum have become the expectation.
You can't lift others up if you are wanting the spotlight. The desire to be seen over someone else is wrong. All deserve to be seen and heard. As a white feminist, I have been seen and heard for a generation now. And it hasn't been enough. There has been change yes, but white feminism hasn't done much for those treated worse than ourselves. The reward system and need for reassurance needs to change. It needs to come from deep within. When we stop expecting others to lift us up and can hold ourselves, real change can happen. I am working towards changing how I see feminism. I am working towards being an actual activist working towards change with no discrimination. I am working towards not leaning on the reward system. It's an interesting balance of embracing myself and finding a place for my support system, my blog and social media life, and doing no harm to others. I am going to fail but I am also learning how to get back up.