My husband called me “tough,” and I like that. There’s a big difference, though, between tough and calloused, and plenty of room within tough for vulnerable. When I think of my toughness, I think about resilience: Since I know I can bounce back from pain, I take difficult steps forward.
Toughness means I look for the things which are scary but not dangerous and I move toward them. There’s a huge range of these things, and some of them would scare to you where others wouldn’t; that’s because we all have different levels of tolerance. (If scary but not dangerous holds, that means I’m going to have to make some phone calls I don’t want to make. Crap.) Talking to people I don’t know in meetings and groups is almost never dangerous but always feels risky, and it allows me to meet more people.
There’s a lot more to say along these lines, but if you read yesterday’s post (#30 in a row!) I’m a bit wiped out, and I have a big day starting in a couple hours, so I want to publish before I polish too much, so I’m going to talk about one thing I did toward getting tougher.
Yesterday, I went to a workshop on white fragility. There’s a TON I want to say about this, so to keep myself on track, I’ll have to focus on one thing now. One thing I learned is that as a white person, it is my job to take the risk of looking like an asshole or an idiot and just ask questions. Just raise my hand and speak. Just challenge received ideas.
“Challenge” is the one word I used yesterday at the end of the workshop when we went around the room and were asked to do a one-word check in. If I want to make a contribution to the conversation on race, a conversation I could easily avoid the rest of my life (a choice people of color do not have), I will have to challenge myself to step forward and speak. It’s not anybody else’s job to ask me to do my part. My part means choosing my part, and choosing to make change.
Right now, I’m seeking to grow more aware of the complexities of race conversations, to take steps outside my comfort zone, to get uncomfortable. So far, so good.