2022.01.03 Journal

* Day six of journaling about Shame/Humiliation/Misery
* Do another hour into the programming tutorial on smart contracts
* Walk to my office and work out of there

* Meditation – Day 665
* Journaling – Day 8
* Yoga – Day 7

I kept thinking about work related things while doing yoga today. After the relaxed period of winter break, having first-day-of-school vibes about getting back to work. I could have proactively handled this by writing out what my plans are for work things before meditation. There are a few loose ends that need to be planned around.

Day six of journaling about Shame/Humiliation/Misery… I’m not sure what’s going to come out today. I ended yesterday’s post by saying I’d explore topics around helping others explore shame and shift their relationships with it. However, that still doesn’t feel right. There must be deeper levels to explore in myself. If I think about people who have a hard time exploring their shame, it is people who feel like they are fundamentally broken in an extreme way. And as I’m typing this, what comes to mind is things having to do with my own genetics. I take pride in being smart, healthy, athletic, curious, etc. And those are all things that are made possible by various genetic privileges I have, plus being raised by my mother. But there are other things I’ve been denying since I was a kid – like my own heritage, which I’m unsure of. It’s deeper father-stuff. But also on my mother’s end. So I got a 23-and-me report that shows while I’m 70% European – 67% being Spanish/Portuguese – my ancestry as less than .1% Italian, which makes me wonder whether the person my mom says is my dad is really my dad. Or if he is, if he’s really Italian. Perhaps he was adopted into an Italian family and that’s a major source of his own shame. It would help explain the racist statements he would make toward my mom and family for being hispanic. The only way to really tell – without involving him – would be for my sisters and I to also get tested, and perhaps my mom as well. Of the other 30%, my genetics say I’m 15% West African, 9.6% Indigenous American, and 5% North African/ Western Asian. My relatives on my mother’s side are a wide range of skin-tones, and that makes sense given the 23 and me results, and is in line with the culture in the Dominican Republic. There was a lot of mixing there, and a history of an active slave trade. When I think about that, I find it easier to take pride in my African and Indigenous heritage, than in my European – presumably colonizer and slave-trader – heritage. But the truth is I’m made up of both. For every person in my ancestry who was born of a rape, both the aggressor and the victim have become a part of my lineage. And I need to truly be at peace with the idea that both occurred and make me who I am, for me to truly be at peace with myself and be in harmony with the world in the way that I wish to. This likely reads as a very intellectual post, since there are a lot percentages in here and I’m intellectualizing my family history. How do I FEEL? I’m noticing my breath is shallow. Growing up in my neighborhood, I was called “White Boy” as an insult. And I felt a need to defend myself. Kind of comical looking back on it given that for most of the time that insult was hurled at me I still primarily spoke Spanish and now I can see I’m 30% indigenous/ African. But I still felt like being white was bad. To any extent I still might, I’m thinking that I’m bad, which speaks to the very definition of shame. And it’s kind of comical, if you google “white pride” or something, it’s a rabbit hole you definitely don’t want to go down. So it’s a thing for me to explore. How do I confront the shame of being majority-white growing up in a majority non-white neighborhood, getting access to a scholarship program that was intended to help minorities, getting a full-scholarship to an Ivy League University after filling out that I’m Hispanic, when I’m majority white? There’s a feeling of shame around getting the benefits of being a minority, while being white-passing and actually white to the point of benefiting from the privilege that comes from being white as an adult. And yet at the same time, I strive to identify more with being Dominican. I have Dominican citizenship, I take pride in being recognized as a leading Hispanic in Philanthropy, and I want my wins to be recognized as wins for Latinos. They are also wins for people with white heritage. And that’s ok. It feels odd to speak so openly about my feelings of race. They are complex. And in these feelings, I believe I’m understanding a bit better a small but significant part of the reason that it’s so hard to move past race. For everyone who’s mixed-race, there are weird feelings about being made up of both a villain and a victim. For everyone who’s less mixed, you feel more like you’re one or the other, and they both suck given this paradigm. And I feel out of place in each environment. It just speaks to why it’s so important we transcend race, yet at the same time there’s no way through that doesn’t involve the difficult work of accepting that our family members/ ancestors were party to systemic rape and oppression in various capacities. And yet all those people were part of a system. I have a hard time believing that we wouldn’t do the same things and make the same choices if we were in their exact circumstances, and yet it’s hard to confront and accept. I’d like to think I’d be different, but I know that I wouldn’t. The clear evidence of this is written in this very blog a few days ago as I explored actions I’ve taken as a teenager. I actively did all those shitty things. And worse things that are coming up now. I remember bullying a classmate in the Horace Mann locker-room – a person that I actually liked, wanted to be friends with, and thought was really cool – and teasing him for being Haitian. Where did THAT come from and what made me and my classmates think that was ok/ funny? And how much pain must that have caused him at the time and since? Oooffff…. Yeah, so I’m just as shitty as anybody else. And that’s a deep source of shame. What do I do with that? I don’t know. I just need to sit with it. Wow. And just like that, 6 days into journaling, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of deep-shame. Whereas other posts I’m smiling throughout or feel like there was some sort of cathartic release at the end, at this one, my eyes hurt, my shoulders are tense, my jaw is clenched, and I’m furrowing my brow. My heart rate was just at 67. I’m taking slow, deep breaths now, and it’s at 63 – way higher than my normal heart rate when I’m journaling.

8:21 am. Time for me to go to work now. The think for me to do now I just sit with these feelings and feel them.

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