“It’s so hard to find my footing lately,” I said to a friend yesterday. It was the best I could do to describe the feeling: like being buffeted by waves, maybe, or forever caught in the heart-sink of that half-dream where you’re walking down a set of stairs only to find the next one has disappeared.

It is a time of self-reckoning in so many ways and I suppose it is only right and fair that I have been looking at myself and seeing how I have allowed myself to become so very complacent. I see a person who has chosen to believe I stand for many things that I don’t actually put action behind.

It’s much easier to think or say Well of COURSE I am not racist, of course I value this or I support that, than to delve deeper and ask myself what I really and truly believe, what truth lies deepest in myself. The ugliest stuff, the most shameful and immobilizing.

I care less about things that don’t affect me directly. That’s the real truth and I am ashamed to say it but if I don’t excavate it out into the open I’ll never face it.

I hate that truth and I wish it were not part of me but it is and it requires work.

I see so many people doing so much work right now and I feel overwhelmed by all the social posts of books people are reading or places they’re donating to or the protests they’re joining. I envy their clarity in many ways: I myself feel caught in place. I am full of media mistrust and weary of shifting groupthink and wholly uncertain what I stand for aside from the wimpy cop-out answers that come from some half-baked utopian fantasy.

Addiction recovery talks about the simpleness of doing the next right thing. Meaning that rather than getting caught up in the freakout of “I can’t do this forever!” you focus on the next right thing. Maybe it’s going for a walk, or talking to someone, or having a glass of water.

For me I suppose the next right thing is to sit in this stew of discomfort and confusion. It’s to keep myself open to learning and listening, and to take breaks when the message — whatever it might be — becomes lost to the noise.

Maybe feeling stuck isn’t a bad thing, however bad it feels. Maybe the point is to stop doing a halfass job of spackling over the buried garbage, in order to build a more solid foundation before moving forward.

Comments

18 Responses to “Footing”

  1. k on June 13th, 2020 12:03 pm

    I feel this! Thank you for writing this. That last paragraph nails it.

  2. Donnathedead@yahoo.com on June 13th, 2020 12:41 pm

    Dude I have been so worried about you. All the crap in Seattle and the difference of opinions in your family and just the sheer craziness of all this stuff going on is making me nuts and I’m pretty far removed in NM.
    What do you tell your kids. What do we do to fix it. I honestly don’t think that it has anything to do with race as much as it has to do with boredom and a sense of entitlement. Victim mentality. Breakdown of families. Glamorization of thug life.
    If you get everything you want, then what? Will you be satisfied or will you focus on what you could have had but didn’t get? I’m just at a loss but I swear I’m ready to move to a wilderness area and leave society altogether.

  3. Kelly on June 13th, 2020 3:10 pm

    Donnathedead: “I honestly don’t think that it has anything to do with race…”

    SERIOUSLY?!

  4. JudithNYC on June 13th, 2020 3:15 pm

    Wow, I will step quietly away after this but anyone who believes that the protests are about a sense of entitlement, boredom and glamorization of thug life just brings me to tears of rage. We do have a long way to go. Just sign me, An Entitled Bored Puerto Rican Thug. (Who has to deal with racism everyday of her life even though she has a law degree -from UO, Eugene-and is as clean cut as they come.
    And yep, my sons and I are absolutely entitled to walk down the street without being profiled and possibly killed just for existing while white mass murderers are apprehended alive and taken to Burger King.
    Sorry, Linda. I do love you (been reading since forever) and I feel like I came to your home and called out your guest on her message, but the way I am dealing these days is to not be quiet when outrageous things are said.

  5. Lindsey on June 13th, 2020 5:44 pm

    WHAT?? Jesus. Right when you think you’ve heard the most clueless thing said, you get a “don’t think this about race” slap in the face. FFS.

  6. KL on June 13th, 2020 6:21 pm

    Well done Linda!

  7. Linda on June 13th, 2020 6:25 pm

    Donna, you have supported me for so long. You have been a caring presence in my life for years, and I cherish the brief time we had together in person. But I can’t understand where you’re coming from, here and your posts on Facebook, and it hurts my heart to see you so willfully disbelieve that systemic racism is real, and that things DO need to change. You know I am not one of those calling for anarchy or supporting destruction of businesses or looting or anything like that — there is so much bad among the good the message can be hard to follow at times, and the message isn’t always clear — I am here listening and being willing to admit when I’ve been wrong, and I wish you could do the same. Totally agree there are many out there whose intentions are not what I support, but racism is real and action is required, and “thoughts and prayers” obviously go nowhere.

  8. Kl on June 13th, 2020 6:39 pm

    Wow! Stinging! I can’t believe I have read your blog for 10 years and have seen many questionable posts, this is the one you react to? So sad you are allowing politics to enter your emotional state. Know most people mean well, expressing it can be hard. This should be a judgement free zone. No need to respond, I’m unsubscribing… Peace

  9. Katherine on June 13th, 2020 10:30 pm

    Linda, it’s your zone and you have the right to challenge people who comment in/on it. I’m glad you spoke out. Greetings from peaceful and righteous Seattle. To your readers: don’t buy what charlatans at Fox are peddling. The protests and marches and the CHAZ are all peaceful now that the cops aren’t instigating violence BECAUSE IT DIDN’T WORK.

  10. Leslie on June 14th, 2020 8:09 am

    First, thank you, Linda, for responding to one of the posts here – that, right there, is your next right thing.

    This blog is your next right thing. You reach a lot of people with this and you are able to articulate what SO MANY of us are feeling – and that right there is helpful in and of itself.

    There are so many “lanes” we could pick, so many books to read – and the most authentic is to do what we are called to do. And like you said, until we know what that is, we just stew in the uncomfortableness. Maybe *that* is what we’re supposed to learn (to our bones) right now.

    Sending you so much love and gratitude.

  11. Anonymous on June 14th, 2020 8:20 pm

    Thank you Linda for responding to that poster. I have read, enjoyed (and even emailed you once), for a long time. I’ve wished you well and held you in my thoughts. I’ve also worried about what your boys are learning from their environment, and whether they would be ok with the way the world will treat me and my black child, or if they would ever think “now wait a minute”. I hope for the best.

  12. sara favoright on June 15th, 2020 5:25 am

    Linda, you’re the best. I’m going to impart some wisdom on you that I’ve been repeating over and over during these challenging times. PEOPLE ARE NUTS.

    I hope that helps.

  13. Kate on June 15th, 2020 7:37 am

    Hi Linda, I just wanted to say thank you for your words. I am also looking at myself in my complacency and wondering where to go from here. I also “see a person who has chosen to believe I stand for many things that I don’t actually put action behind” and I don’t like that person very much. I’m going to be changing and growing (and sitting in my stew) right alongside you, and I hope you will keep sharing your thoughts on what the process looks like to you. Also, I found your response to Donna thoughtful and in no way “stinging”. This is not the time to let viewpoints like that pass, as hard as it can be <- which is kind of the point. I'm also sorry that KL thinks this is just a politics issue, because it is so, so much more and goes so much deeper than that.

  14. taerna on June 16th, 2020 8:21 pm

    Linda, I’ve been a reader for over a decade, since Diaryland. Thank you for having the hard conversations, and making the conversation with the commenter above a thoughtful one. As a white woman who happens to be a mom to a POC, I’ve decided I can’t be silent anymore. In the past, I have bitten my tongue to avoid discomfort and hard conversations with my white family and friends. But I have come to the conclusion that my silence is hurting my beloved POC friends and family. My husband is a POC. Our son is a POC. Having to explain racism and racially motivated police brutality to my blissfully innocent 9yo hit me like a ton of bricks. My silence is hurting his future. I have become one of “those people.” I’m reading the books and organizing book clubs and having hard conversations with my white family and going to demonstrations with signs in hand. Silence is a privilege and its cost is just too much for me to bear anymore. ♥️♥️♥️

  15. Annie on June 17th, 2020 10:34 am

    Nailed it again Linda, exactly how I am feeling. It’s no longer enough for me to say “I’m not racist”. I have to actively BE ANTI-racist. But how to get there? What to read? How to articulate what I learn when I do figure out what to read? Tough stuff, but so very important.

  16. any muss on June 27th, 2020 11:03 pm

    I read you on diaryland because I identified with you. Stopped reading, now that you mention it, because it became obvious you don’t care unless something affects you personally and I couldn’t watch as you raised children while holding those beliefs. I check in periodically because I still identify with you and your struggles & trauma, which is how I ended up here today after so many years. I wondered how you were getting on in the churn. I never disclosed this in my interactions with your entries, but I am not white. I know more now about your geographic location than I did then and reading this I have to say: this is not enough.

  17. Linda on June 28th, 2020 11:45 am

    I’m sorry to read that, Anonymous. I don’t know what else to say, really.

  18. Linda on June 29th, 2020 1:25 am

    I guess I do know that I can do better than saying I am out of words, anon. If there’s any way you would be open to a dialogue so I could learn more about what you’re saying, I would appreciate it: sundry@gmail.com.

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