Time to Be Seen

Week 67 – June 26, 2021 – Truth Telling and Transformation

It’s bloody hot out there and I’m inside packing boxes. I have so much to do and in the midst of transformation. Gawd. There is one side of me that demands for change and another side of me that resists it. End result is shear paralysis and time flies by. Change is on the horizon. It’s time to reassess my mindset, my priorities, and my time. Many of the photos I am taking of place are brief moments of gratitude and goodbye. I have to get use to the idea of moving and becoming my own person.

I am spending a tonne of time during the pandemic really thinking about what’s important to me and I am faced with that question again. After 215 unmarked graves were found near a Kamloops residential school, then 751 near a Saskatchewan Residential School, I am numb, angry, and not surprised. This is part of Canada’s history that has been kept a secret within my lifetime. It’s horrifying, disheartening, and disillusioning as I unpack my ethic identity as a Chinese-Canadian. It’s very dark.

My gut instinct is to hide. That’s how I felt when George Floyd was killed last year. All of those feelings of fear and fitting in because of racist acts scare me to my deepest core. I’ve experienced lateral violence and micro-aggressions as a child and adult. You learn how to behave to survive. I did this as a person who looks Chinese, but have no Chinese language, culture, or beliefs. I’ve been successfully “Canadianized” or assimilated, but this does not protect me from anti-Asian racist behaviour or hate.

I can only imagine what Indigenous and black people feel or experience. The genocide and attempt to erase Indigenous culture and people in Canada are horrendous and the Indian Act continues to exist and persist because I think they can’t afford to get rid of it. Privilege, power over, and fitting in are hurtful and persistent acts that I am guilty of as a Canadianized Chinese Settler, but also have fallen victim to. I know that my problems are #firstworldChristineproblems but I have a role to play now in Canada’s history and current existence. I can’t hide anymore.

I am no longer safe. I don’t want to “fit in” and this is not the time to do that anymore. Most of my life was led in a particular way, much to live up to other people’s expectations with hopes of being accepted. As a result, I lost my sense of self. My WHY has always been inside of me. I don’t think that ever changes. But I’ve spent most of my life suppressing it, pretending, and hiding. I could never show my “true self.” I never felt safe. I think about my anger and frustration and wonder about what core values are being triggered and why. In the end, my power comes from within.

I create the change I want to see. I get that now. The locus of control, how I perceive things, and how I choose to act comes from me. That’s how change occurs. Part of that change will be SURRENDERING, listening, and walking through the fear. “It’s not about me.” I have to remember that. There is no shame or blame. My anger and frustration protect me. Emotionally distancing myself from others keeps me safe. TRUST and self-efficacy are areas of growth for me, and what I see mirrors back.

There is no time to ponder. It’s time to act. I’m scared but it’s time to be seen. I’ve changed my trajectory in life and pedagogical journey several times. I think that I was running away instead of standing still and digging in. As Brene Brown says in Braving the Wilderness, you have to keep your back strong and your front soft. I will try.