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Not Easy but Good

This was a hard workshop1 for me in many ways. I am a mixed-heritage Black and white USer, and women of the global majority were less than ten percent of the workshop. In such a white group I had to face the pain I have experienced around assimilation. I have had to do a lot of pretending, hiding myself, and other difficult things to grow up and function in mostly white environments. Because I now live in a place with a lot of Black people, and have a lot of Black friends in my life, I hadn’t realized how much more there is for me to discharge here.

It helped so much that Diane2 kept issues of racism and imperialism central. That made it safer for me to be honest—to stop pretending that I am “fine,” as I was taught to do. Because there were mostly white middle-class U.S. women at the workshop, I was able to notice how hard I am on myself for not being more “successful” or upwardly mobile. It was good to get to be honest about these feelings and to have other women of color to share them with. 

I was able to discharge about being a mixed-heritage woman born in the 1970s. From a young age I felt tremendous pressure to be an example for my race, to do great things, and to succeed. I am now in my forties and divorced and have no children, so as a middle-class woman I feel like I must have an impressive job or career or I am truly a failure.

It was interesting to discharge about unpaid work. I realized that I actually feel guilty for not doing more unpaid work, due to the same message that somehow I am not doing enough as a woman.

Being at this workshop forced me to consider that I must be a completely good woman, even if I never achieve or accomplish anything again and even if I never have a partner or a child. I think it will change everything for me if I can know how good I am, and really like myself, just how I am—totally independent of these things. 

It was not easy work, but it was good work, and I appreciate Diane and everyone else who helped us get started.

Alysia Tate 

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of women


1 The Middle-Class Women's Workshop, held in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, in February 2015
2 Diane Balser, the International Liberation Reference Person for Women and the leader of the workshop

 


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00