• Nicka

Journal out loud 2

This post is going to be a mish mash of things and as the name suggests, journalling out loud. The themes that are on my mind are of gratitude, growth, observation, change and community. I may or may not address all of these, but hey ho.

In the spirit of gratitude, I just want to share how grateful I am of you being here and reading my blog, I am doing my best to keep up with it and I was doing really well until I had a 3 plus week period where I was just constantly on the go and did not have time to think about anything but making my zoom meetings on time.

Which leads me to the kindness of my project leader who has been so supportive throughout this year and sent me such a lovely supportive message for a presentation I was a part of. Throughout lockdown, panoramic or whatever you want to call the wild ride of this year, she has been the breath of fresh air that I needed when times were really tough and when I was struggling the most, she arranged socially distanced catch ups and venting sessions about the heavy work that we do.

This work is not easy and I often find myself having to find a healthy coping mechanism to get through it all. Being inside has hindered that and often my mental health has declined. When we were allowed out freely, I would go to Camden town to walk around, grab a hot drink and indulge in the area that is familiar but unfamiliar at the same time. The wonder of walking around and finding new shops, walk ways, cheap finds and meeting new people leaves me confident, empowered and able to release or make sense of my thoughts at the time. Spending time away from my home, travelling to and from there, opens my senses and gives my brain a chance to work differently. We have to think about which way to look first when crossing a road, what bus stop to get off and on, should I take two buses so that I can stop off in a different town and have a quick look around. Who will I see? Who won't I see? What will I learn? and all the other questions me and my brain have to figure out because this is not our norm and I find doing something abnormal to me, sparks a different person in me. I refer to myself different from my body and I describe why here.

Not being able to do this has taken it's toll on me, I don't feel safe going to new areas alone during the times of mandatory masks as I have an exemption; I do not feel free to just be and not be questioned as to why. My anxiety as a Black, disabled person who has survived domestic abuse is not unique: We (Black people) are followed around shops because we are seen as thieves, too scared to put our hands in our pockets and exaggerating movements to show that we are not stealing to soothe security or others. We live on edge and even though I have legitimate reason as to not wear one, I find myself wearing them on occasion to avoid conflict. One such instance, I had a panic attack wearing one, which I had to take off and I was so happy that the staff in H&M did not ridicule or penalise me for taking it off. I respect our essential workers and do my best to physically distance myself from them, wear my exemption lanyard and put one on where there is no screen to interact with them. This isn't just about covid, it is also about decency, respect and the other winter nasties that come with the weather.

I appreciate that I catastrophise things and having someone to talk to, is really important to me and my mental health. I do most things alone so having a chance to walk by the canal or watch the world go by from a park bench, has been really helpful to my journey with my mental health issues. My project leader has been one of the most consistent people in my life and I know that she is going to read this so I just want to say:

Thank you for supporting me in this work, by supporting me outside of it, you have helped with boosting my self esteem by listening and by offering me perspective, you have seen me, ME as I am, faults, flaws, struggles and all, you have held space, been supportive, encouraging and you have been such a gift in these rocky and uncertain times. You are appreciated <3

I have seen myself grow, the confidence I now have in public speaking and also speaking up for myself, makes me so proud of me! I am doing this, making mistakes, failing but moving! I have found myself setting boundaries and asking for help more, giving myself grace, being gentle with myself! The world slowing down has made me slow down and I am so very grateful for the opportunity, although autumn and winter have been pretty busy for me so far! I'm glad for this also because these are the hardest months for me and I really struggle with coping, depression sets in and basic care go out of the window! Everything just seems exhausting and being able to recognise these needs, means that I can ask for help or accept it when it is being offered.

I also recognise my gifts as gifts and not burdens, which I kept feeling that they were; I kept wanting to hide them and myself for fear of harm from others. Whilst that is inevitable, I realised that these same people have no clue what they were saying or doing. The repetition of buzzwords and catchy slogans that do the very job that they are meant to do: put fear into others and don't you dare be like the people that they are condemning; don't ask questions, don't think, just comply. Silencing others and making sure that everyone complies is a tactic used by people who know very little and are extremely insecure.

Upon reflection of my views and perspectives, my beliefs do not have to be the same as others, I am very much a Libra in that sense, I know that we are all different and have different needs. It also means that another persons needs or wants doesn't takes away from mine; there absolutely is room for us all. The society we currently live in does not promote that and encourages compliance and simple mindedness. We live in a beautifully complex world where bee's shouldn't be able to fly and we haven't been able to explore the majority of the ocean (my playful conspiracy theory is that there is a world of people down there lol) because it's so deep, life can be complicated and simple at the same time; but when they are complicated and when they are simple are unbeknownst to most.

The wrong and strong crew believe with their chest that they are correct, whilst being so wrong, and a simple google search in some instances would help them with that. In other cases the lack of reading comprehension fails a lot of people and because it looks cool and it's ticking the buzzword, catchy phrase box, people follow it, without a second thought. People aren't thinking for themselves, they are complying and that is very sad, but it is so very much rewarded by the media, social media or the governments running our countries. Black and white thinking is white supremacy, it puts people in either or boxes and that is not who humans are.

People are also incredibly naive, with a unhealthy scoop of anxiety alongside lack of reading comprehension (on socials) and we are a group of lemmings being taken for a ride by the same people who are supposed to be keeping us safe.

I often speak about being in abusive relationships outside of romantic and family dynamics and we are in one giant one with white supremacy.

All these observations have strengthened me and made me extremely grateful for the experiences I have endured, the relationships I have been welcomed into and maintained, the things I have learnt to be a better human and a better me! I am thankful!

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