I wrote about doing the difficult work of healing within community, confrontation and seeing ourselves, our lives and the world with new eyes.
We run from accountability. We run from confrontation. We lie and say that we’ve confronted ourselves and been accountable to ourselves, claim that we’ve gone as far as we can to support those we’ve wounded, but oftentimes, that claim isn’t founded in reality. It’s founded on what we want. It’s constructed by what we think is correct. It’s built on the belief that our ideas about healing are more important than the ideas the wounded have.
Public trauma, wounding, abuse and pain require public AND private acknowledgement, validation, confrontation and conversation.
Healing requires work. It requires time. It requires investigation. It requires honesty and, most of all, it requires confrontation and accountability. You can’t heal if you never confront the thing that needs to be healed. You can’t support a person, group of people or community in healing if you’re never been held accountable for your actions within that community. Further, public trauma, wounding, abuse and pain require public AND private acknowledgement, validation, confrontation and conversation. If the victim is asking for both, one or neither, then as the person who inflicted pain, you should respect and honor their wishes and act accordingly.
To truly heal, we must put our weapons on the ground, tear down our defenses, remove our masks and stand outside of ourselves. We must lay down what we think is right. We must place our perspective on the back burner and open ourselves to hearing with new ears and seeing with new eyes. If we truly wish to heal and bring healing, we must remove the masks of performance, the masks of respectability, the masks that we consider clean and acceptable. We must step outside of our experience and into someone else’s. We must be vulnerable.
What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language. : Audre Lorde
It is the stepping outside of the self that is the scariest. It is the part of the discussion that we don’t want to acknowledge – that we don’t want to see, because to see pain that we’ve inflicted on others is to confront ourselves. It is to see ourselves with new eyes. It is an action, by which we can see our entire humanity and reckon with the images, ideas and self-concept we’ve built about ourselves. This is scary because, to see our entire selves is to see and be, oftentimes, disappointed. It is to see and, sometimes, feel shame. It is to see ourselves differently.
But what we see is not the entire picture. We aren’t stuck or confined to the image or to what we see. Believing we can’t change only exacerbates the fear we feel. We can change. We can move forward. This is when we begin to do the self-work of healing, of becoming whole and starting afresh, of committing to intimacy and community, but we cannot start this work of creating a new world if we’re never held accountable, if we never confront ourselves and others, if we aren’t honest, if we don’t step outside of ourselves. This is apart of the difficult work of healing. It’s not pretty. It’s not glamorous. It’s not clean and clinical. It’s dirty. It’s messy. It’s frustrating, but it’s worth it.