The State of the World: Anxiety And Fear
Some of you have probably noticed that I’ve been rather quiet on the events happening in the USA (and world) lately.
Trust me, it’s not that I don’t have an opinion. I am incredibly opinionated on virtually every topic, and racism/neo-Nazis/Trump/the state of our world is pretty high on my list of things to be opinionated about. Typically, I’d be the first person using every platform possible to share my opinion that can be summed up pretty simply:
racism/neo-Nazis/Trump/inequality/hate = BAD
love/equality/compassion = GOOD
However, there’s a reason I’ve been salient, I have a significant weakness when it comes to these subjects. And, I have to admit my weakness on this current subject.
I know many people would expect me to acknowledge my ‘white privilege’ as a weakness. As my views and my perception of world events is directly related to my experiences as a Caucasian women. As far as I’m concerned this ‘white privilege’ cannot be overlooked/ignored when talking about racism, as I don’t know racism the way others do. But, my ‘white privilege’ is actually not the weakness I want to talk about today.
Other’s would probably point out that I live in Canada and this really isn’t “my” problem or my fight. To which I’d say, that racism knows no boundary, and while it may not be as prominent here (yet), it absolutely still exists especially as we are inundated with USA produced media. Also, I’m pretty sure that at some point it will cross the border to my part of the world. In fact, I know racism is here simply by listening to people’s conversations on immigration, so it’s naïve to pretend Canada is immune to all of this. And then I’d go on to say that it’s not okay for us to sit on the sidelines and watch from afar when we know better and should be standing up together in the name of love and peace.
Which leads me to the weakness I want to talk about right now – I have been sitting on the sidelines as I’m in a state of almost crippling anxiety over it all. Honestly, I haven’t even made it through a single news article about the events of Charlottesville – heck, I haven’t even been able to read news articles about Trump policies in a few months and at one point asked my doctor if it’s possible to have a Trump induced ulcer. And truthfully, I’ve been avoiding all conversations (controversial or not) on the topic like the plague. You see, just the mention of all of this puts in me in a downward spiral – I can feel my jaw clench, my heart race, my back tense up and my stomach churn. I can feel the anxiety growing within me as a physical manifestation that could take over my body within seconds. I feel as though I’m on the verge of crippling under my fears and my anxiety.
Yet, I realize this physical response isn’t allowing me to be part of the solution. Heck, even worse, this response is putting me on the sidelines without a voice. And, maybe even worse yet, I suspect I’m not the only one who is almost paralyzed by fear. And, letting my fear win is simply not an option, not when the stakes are as great as human decency, love and equality and eventually our basic freedoms.
So, how do I overcome this? How do I start to use my voice, while acknowledging my inherit bias as a Canadian Caucasian female (with a child who is a bi-racial USA citizen), to add to this conversation in a constructive manner without a fresh wave of nausea and/or heart palpitations?
Imagine, how great the love equality voice would be if all the people consumed with fear (like me) were able to find a way to speak up? How can we all find our inner Heather, and talk the talk while walking the walk? We have to, for the future of our society, for ourselves and for our children.
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Have you heard of SURJ? Their website may be helpful to you.
There are also some great resources for transracial adoptive parents that you may already know about like the TRA 101 group and Not Just Hair on Facebook. A lot of this work involves just listening to POC on these issues and then confronting white supremacy when it arises. We’re all going to make mistakes at time and offend people, but that’s the risk you take with anti-racist work. And since your son is biracial it’s vital that he knows you have his back.
I have faced racism and I am actually worried for my kids now. They are as Canadian as Canadian can be, but they are not white. The recent events have actually made me worry for the kinds of bias they will face in future.
I love you friend. You have a beautiful heart❤️
I love this post. It’s beautiful and deep. Thank you for thinking about this and for making others do the same.
As an American I’m glad to hear Canadians are concerned and disgusted by what’s going on here. We need all the help we can get, seeing as how like 40% of the country still supports having a mentally unstable bigot in the White House and apparently are still mad over a war that happened 150 years ago. I just asked my husband this morning, “how bad does it get before we decide we need to leave the US?” I can’t watch the news anymore but I do anyway because I figure it’s best to know what’s coming.
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I am still trying to figure out how to use my own voice in all of this, so I have no advice to offer… just a lot of solidarity. This is not the world I want to raise my daughter in. It’s devastating.
I relate to what you’re saying and feeling. I am concerned nearly to the point of obsession about what’s happening in the US, even though, like you, I’m a white Canadian female. Sometimes it irks my American husband that I focus so much on American politics and not Canadian…but let’s face it, our political climate is nearly as volatile right now and we don’t hold the same influence on the world as the US. And that influence that the US has is a very good reason for all citizens of the world to be concerned – especially since there’s currently a madman with the codes to the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.
On a more personal level, I care because I’m married to an American. I have a mixed race stepson living in Texas. I am afraid for him Every. Single. Day. My other two children will likely become American citizens some day. My family has a strong personal stake in what goes on down there, and I’m terrified.
What do we do? I don’t know. Speak out whenever we can, I guess. Raise our children to be decent human beings. Don’t become complacent. Remain politically active at home so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen here.
It sickens me to no end that this is the state of our country right now. What bothers me even more is that some foreigners feel that all white Americans support Trump, like what he’s doing, and support these awful people that are doing everything they can to ruin this country. Much of my family is so prejudice, it drives me nuts. My sister and I have tried talking sense into them, but some people just aren’t receptive. We’ve both made it clear that we will not tolerate derogatory terms used in our presence, and certainly not around our kids. I was once married to a Hispanic man, my sister married a Jewish man, we don’t see race/color/religion/etc as a barrier or something to make anyone else inferior. I feel like you about these things. The other night I couldn’t fall asleep because I was so afraid that someone is going to try to bomb this “leader” that we have right now, and we’re so close to DC that we’ll be caught up in it all. I was freaking out and thinking that we just needed to pack a few bags up and head out and leave everything behind just so we could get as far from this maniac as possible, to hopefully keep our family safe. On one hand I can say these were probably irrational thoughts brought on by anxiety…on another, who’s to say it won’t happen? It’s a scary world, and this country has become a scary place. It’s definitely not the kind of world I wanted to bring my kids up in.
Sorry, I’m rambling. Just wanted you to know you aren’t alone in the way you feel. *hugs*
Yes yes yes. I saw a quote the other day – “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” I voted, and unfortunately the person I voted for lost. But that doesn’t mean I am going to be silent, and I do believe that I’ve alienated some family/friends because of how outspoken I’ve been. But, I don’t care. All I have right now is my voice, so I am going to use it.
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I’ve lost many friends and family members because of my political beliefs and my insistence on posting/commenting on FB. I cannot stand idly by as this goes on. I can see how being Canadian may feel different, maybe like, “if I post about American politics, will I be accused of knowing nothing about the issue?” God knows the Trump lovers don’t love Canadians. (I was attacked by a Trump lover yesterday, telling me that Obama is a “Muslim bastard” who sold our country to socialists. That comment was enough to make me delete my pretty benign comment and crawl into a hole.) The social climate out there is scary.
The anxiety caused but this is a very real thing. My body physically reacts to articles and comments on FB (dripping sweat from my armpits – gross – which has NEVER happened to me before when I’m stressed). It’s not good for our health… But I refuse to not stay informed.
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First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
-Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
Its always important to speak up, so, thank you for your strength in doing what is right.
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Beautifully written! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter. It’s inspiring to see people like you and me exist, and that the future of our kids, it’s in our hands.
Trump induced trauma…it is real. I am also a sufferer. Who can function with this happening in the world. Scary stuff, daily.
I understand the anxiety. I can’t hardly watch or read the. Wes myself and I live in a state where too many people are mindless and let others and the fear of their guns being taken away influence them. Ugh!!! Sending you much love , my friend.
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I’m not surprised you’re stressed and anxious … I’m from England and despite us having our own problems over here, we nonetheless look on in horror. 🌼🌼