Of all the seasons I’m most connected to, it would be autumn. This association has changed over the decades. I’m in my 57th circle around the sun and autumn calls me home over and over. The subtle changes in the weather where those dog days of summer recede brings an appreciation to the transparency of autumn.
Aging isn’t only chronological; it is also soulful. I’ve rediscovered my true self in my emotional aging. Life’s tutelage has given me wisdom to see how I won’t accept any strikes against my being.
I stand without any leaves covering my silhouette. There’s less and less to hide and my autumnal self stands stronger as each season has led me to self-understanding. My symbolic leaves are frequently changing.
Life has changed me.
This piece wrote me Saturday morning, the day after the devastation and shock of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Like countless others, her death has left an indelible ache in my soul. These words are a tribute and acknowledgement, not to give up, but to keep pursuing equality, diversity, and truth.
Sometimes, it feels like the colors of the earth are sucked out and all that is left is an opal like grayness.
Breathing is an effort.
Pieces of information float in undecidedly like a fog on an empty endless sea waiting for a spark, a flicker, a ray of passion.
The sharpness in your heart mourns for another loss of justice.
The undefinable archetypal feels search for a solid focus, saying something like, don’t stop now.
It’s then when something pulls you to pick up your pen, find paper, and write.
Or you pick up a sign and protest.
Or you step out in the crowd and chant, Black Lives Matter.
Or you write to the U.S. Congress, your Senator, your Governor — until your voice is heard.
You continue to stand for equal rights. And you don’t let the naysayers drag you down and diminish your point of view.
Racism is an evil injustice perpetuated by the banality of white superiority’s fear and hatred of diversity. Racism, much like sexism and other ‘isms’ purposefully decimates, demeans and diminishes a person’s emotions, intelligence, and opinions through a circular type of ‘logic’ leaving the marginalized group or person angered, stunned, afraid, confused, and oftentimes questioning their own sound intuition and judgement. There’s no ground left to stand on when every stone of self and community has been removed.
The iniquitousness is so palatable it sends shockwaves through one’s psyche leaving little reality, promoting self-doubt, stripping the marginalized group/person to their marrow. This to me is what racism has been doing for centuries. I ‘see’ it as a societal infection where the white blood cells overreact and attack an unknown entity (people of color, women, religions, LGQBTI). The inflammation is real, but the entire system is so corrupt it continues to attack out of an insidious habit to remain superior.
As a white female, therapist, teacher, writer, sensitive creature, daughter and mother– I must and will continue to speak against racism and sexism’s infectious and systemic violence as part of my life’s calling and contributing antidote.
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."