This week has been a true test for myself with a lot of things, my man was away in Lillehammer for work, my dear Uncle was laid to rest and some rather unpleasant things had taken place at his wake and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what it means now that I have just gotten permission to live in Norway. Things like, ‘whoa, I’ve actually made it out of ‘The Block’ and I can live a life that is less stressful” and also how incredibly angry I have been about all the violence that continues to happen with my own family, extended included, community and just generally the lack of care for everyone’s well-being.
I don’t know but I seem completely naive thinking I, one person, can fix it all and sadly I can’t, to a certain extent I won’t because it jeopardises my own mental well-being. However, I’ve come to the recent conclusion that perhaps I am ready to ‘carry’ another, mentally and emotionally. Yes, I do have my ups and downs but having been on this intense journey has taught me how to better manage my emotions and thoughts. I have done a heap of reading over the years to help me understand my emotions and anxiety, I’ll drop a short post next with the books and articles that have helped me. So yes, I feel I am able to do that for someone else. I want to because I know what it’s like to be in the depths, it's completely terrifying and even though I had my foster Mamma’s, counsellors, friends, my man and our daughter, I felt completely alone.
I’ve been reflecting on the relationship that I have with my mother and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we have been able to be civil. But, the thing that I can’t let go of is the string of disappointments I’ve experienced over the years… What brought my attention to this was a family friend, we were having lunch and I was telling her about my life and how fantastic it has been in Norway for me. She brought to light the question, why would I allow a person to be in my life if all they do is bring me pain, disappointment and suffering? What is the value?
I have thought about this for a very long time and quite frankly this time was an epiphany, perhaps because getting my visa has made everything so real with living a whole world away. I had to deliberate with a bunch of family members and friends here in Norway as to how I can tackle this problem put forward. I think that’s why I held off from writing again this week, as this topic is so complex and difficult (emotionally) to write about. There was a point where I wanted to just sabotage everything I have going for me right now because these feelings and thoughts have been dormant for years and suddenly it’s like the lid off the volcano popped… I’m raging!
Having reflected on all of this I understand that I shouldn’t allow things that are out of my control, affect my life. Perhaps I'm too caring? Which isn't a bad trait but I'm often left feeling defeated. There is just so much institutionalised racism, internalised racism within my community, so much drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and self-harm, domestic violence (physical, emotional, mental) and I am curious where is the Conversation happening? The one where indigenous peoples (who have an actual agenda to help indigenous peoples) are discussing strategies to change our attitudes towards ourselves and one another?
Can someone point me in that direction? This goes not just for the indigenous mob, but everyone…
We have to find ourselves again. We can. We must. It's through looking after one another, having an attitude where we lift each other up and not pulling a sister or brother down because we feel insecure or think they're better than us. You know, there are lot of black fullas who are on a platform to speak out about violence and are educated but are still enablers of violence within our community. When I say ‘enabler’ I mean that in every form, whether they be the perpetrator or stand by and watch. These attitudes gotta change…
It all starts with us and the most important thing is, we have a choice. We really do and we don't have to be the oppressed anymore, we've survived 200+ years of colonisation and that already says a lot about us, warrior blood runs through our veins!
I write this because growing up no-one empowered me to be a strong black woman. I had to find myself and when I did, so many people were quick to pull me down. I remember teachers telling me I would never amount to nothing, makes me wonder what they gained by telling me that? I had lots of people from my community telling me that I talk like a white girl, but what did it mean to be black?
This is where the cycle of violence, poverty, alcohol and substance abuse stops with me. I didn’t see myself as better than anyone, I always thought I was doing it, you know getting my education and taking care of my mental health, for the greater good. I’ve always loved my community because it helped shape who I am and I’ll never forget where I’ve come from.
Side break: I'm the first in my family to graduate high school, to get a job, to attend University, travel overseas and the first to take my mental health very seriously. Too many folk in my community have always praised my mother on how strong she is, I love my mother but she’s a broken woman. How can she care for anyone else when she didn't take care of her number one? Herself. I'm pretty sure she suffers from depression, and it all comes back to the fact that no one stood up for her. Imagine if she had lived the life she had? A mother who didn’t love or protect her the way she needed, a safe home where there wasn’t an abundance of alcohol flowing? Perhaps my mother wouldn’t be so sad and depressed? It’s become so normalised to live with this shit and it just saddens me that no-one ever took her seriously!
I'm so frustrated and I do have to share this story because hopefully someone will read it and want to make a change with me? I understand the hurdles ahead with the political side of it, the government has never worked in our favour, Labor and liberals alike. We have to start within, for my community I hope we see some change.
Let's get this discussion rolling! Send me some information, articles or links, whatever you like. I'm always wanting to educate myself, so let's do it together.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is just my personal views and thoughts on life. They should in no way be used as a substitute for professional help with anything. If you or someone you know suffers from mental illness please get professional help. For help with mental illness in Australia, you can contact Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636 or through their website here https://www.beyondblue.org.au/. For help with mental illness in Norway, you can contact Hjelpetelefonen at 116 123 or contact your local mental health centre. If you’re anywhere else in the world please search for mental health professionals in your area.