Since last June, I have been on a strange, difficult and wonderful new journey.
With most journeys I tend to take, there seems to be a large valley to overcome in the beginning. After I “graduated” – that is, walked to get my diploma, in June, I entered into a season of doubt and depression. I felt lost and unsure if pursuing the degree that I loved was worthwhile. Finding a job was proving to be difficult and after many interviews, days sitting on my couch with nothing to do, meeting with friends, having a small sense of a staycation, I landed on an opportunity I couldn’t pass up at Westmont College. That’s right, that’s my alma mater, thanks for remembering.
I was in the middle of an independent study. Two credits left over that I decided to study on my own. I went down for my interview, got the job, put my studies on hold, and made the transition down to Santa Barbara. I literally cried the entire three day trip down from Seattle. I was leaving much more than my home for the last 5 years. I was leaving the place where I really grew up, where I found myself, where I met a church that was acting and doing what I never thought a church would do, and where I had been taking care of myself medically after being diagnosed with Berger’s disease. Nevermind that I had just started dialysis, either. This was an epic move. And it was for an interim position. I struggled.
So this independent study… it got pushed to the side. I need to acclimate. I needed to get set up with a new dialysis system (a WHOLE NEW ONE!), get ready to get so much sunshine – much more than I had received in the last 5 years in Seattle, get ready for a new job, prepare for student leaders to arrive, get used to the idea that I would be sitting in a lot of meetings, and get reintroduced to my alma mater as an administrator. Yikes. Totally understandable that I would push this aside, right? Right.
Now it is 7 months later. These two credits are killing me. I am on my fourth page of 15 pages, and I am writing about Asian American Pacific Islander Identity. I am reading article upon article about the model minority myth, it’s implications, and more importantly, how it creates negative psychological symtoms like depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Internalized racism sucks, if you were wondering. But what I’ve realized in this writing process, and what I think I am realizing more than ever, is that I have been afraid to write this paper.
I am reading about myself.
This fear has paralyzed me, and has me wanting to sink deep into my depression… again. It has me anxious and shaking. It has me wishing that I could crawl out of my skin. I am afraid to say that…
I am afraid to say that my internalized racism has made me think that I am a …. failure. I am a failure.
And I’m afraid everyone else will see that too. shit. (I don’t cuss anymore since I’ve been working at Westmont, but that one just slipped! oops! lol)
I’m going to try hard tonight not to let my fear overcome me. So I will continue to write gibberish until it all makes sense. But I wanted to share this little bit with you – because I think it’s important that we face the internalized racism head on and say what we are afraid of. I want to say something here about being courageous… so in an effort to be bold, I will say this is my attempt to be courageous…
Okay, back to the paper. More reflections to come…