…ale razem. Przez lata Brexitu było smutno mi i samotnie, ale teraz jakoś jest cieplej, bo wszyscy się pocieszami. Glupio mówić, że jak smutno razem to lepiej no ale jest jakoś lżej, bo wiemy, z czym walczymy i robimy to razem. Już teraz nie ma znaczenia narodowość, pochodzenie, klasa czy płeć. Każdy człowiek człowiekiem.
Szkoda tylko, że takiej poważnej choroby trzeba aby ludziom się ludzkość przypomniała.
It’s been over a month since my last blog post in English. That’s how much time I needed to rest and heal from the silence of Brexit. I have spent this time journaling about a quiet, calm life; accessing my personal self-care mechanisms and becoming a bit more available for my friends and colleagues. I finally stopped worrying. I stopped thinking about the future, focussed on the present more.
I allowed myself to explore what was it about my situation during the last four years that really affected me. I am ready to look back, open up those wounds and re-integrate my learnings into my future. (This process, by the way, is a standard expectation of coaches and counsellors – however, I have always worked this way. It’s harder to open up wounds directly after an experience, but it’s so much more effective long terms. We then get to live without any hidden ghosts from the past).
It’s terribly ironic that the fear of the unknown future, ignorance of knowledge and science, way too slow response from the people who are paid to represent and protect us, the stocking up on food, the social isolation is exactly what we are all going through right now – for other, more visible and obvious reasons of the global pandemic.
I cannot help but see the parallels between what we are all going through collectively right now and what some of us have experienced for the last four years (with not just the unknown but at least three specific dates to worry about). The educated, more economically and politically aware people living in the UK (both EU and British citizens), struggled with exactly the same feelings that we face this month all around the world.
We have spent weeks, then months, then years, awaiting clarity on the future of our country, economy and the European peace process. There is nothing more debilitating than the sense of uncertainty about the future. And so in the world of business, we have learned to actually future proof our plans – just like in the old marketing books – now actively practising the “political” in PESTEL analysis. We moved away from those rigid 12 months and 5 years of business plans to sets of business scenarios instead. We started thinking beyond political systems, geographical borders and took the legal areas of our business a bit more seriously. However, as we practised all those new, seemingly useful skills, we also felt devastated at heart. We shouldn’t have to be in this place. EU was created to help us foster our cultures while forgetting the need for passports or borders. Walls went down for a reason…now we could feel the bricks piling up again.
We looked in astonishment at the level of ignorance in our country. We saw people smoothly shifting their views led by a well crafted public narrative focussing on “the other” (immigration), not the significant – freedoms, rights and a common strong, peaceful, inclusive economy. We started realising the cost of the underfunded, broken educational system. We also understood the smart agenda of not really educating the public on the actual benefit of the union since the early years of joining. We looked at the well-crafted campaigns, almost admiring each step. We watched in despair the racism and nationalism emerge even amongst our most educated friends – regardless of their nationality. For many, the word “security” did resonate with a hint of safety. Fed outdated nationalistic values worked for some. At heart, however, we all ached. We ached for clarity and some kind of sense of morals. Since ancient times choosing leaders meant voting for the strong, smart and innovative in return for care and protection. Angry and divided does not feel safe. We did not feel cared for, nor protected. Not a single one of us.
We worried about our actual survival. Each time we approached a Brexit deadline we stocked up quietly for a few months. We learned to store dry and canned food, salt, matches and batteries. We learned to bake bread and grow our own fruit and veg. Not for a hobby but out of necessity – our leaders failed us so we had to learn to take care of ourselves. I cannot tell you how difficult, how heartbreaking it is to talk about this to our children. How terrifying it is for them. How angry it made us and how sad. In the 20th century, parents should not have to navigate such a complex reality.
The hardest aspect of Brexit years was silence and social isolation, lack of public discourse on the reality of the situation. Some of us, the EU citizens, suddenly were positioned to be on the wrong side of history with no systemic support whatsoever. Somehow we took this on – we came from a place of racism anyway, so this was nothing new to us. Just a bit more terrifying – like a dark cloud still following us since our roots. But we understood that support is only given by people who feel safe, and British citizens did not feel so. Actually, all of us ached and longed for open conversations about the pain of the unknown and the participatory grief over the country we were gradually all loosing. All of us needed help. Yes, the public discourse perfectly utilised our cultural paradigm: it’s not polite to talk about politics at work and in other public conversations, and so even the word “Brexit” was deemed dirty. Every single Brexit deadline, we all fell into the midst of pain, anxiety, quiet anger, fear and disconcert. But we did so on our own. Each of us alone in our own quiet bubble. There were no songs sang together on balconies. There was only a quiet suppressed pain of our individual hopelessness. Those of us who have faced oppressive systems walked around in astonishment – how is this even possible? But we were silence too – our of respect for the local culture, we had to join in and shut up.
I really, really wish it did not have to happen this way….However, the current response to the Coronavirus pandemic is at least collective. It unites us. It highlights the ignorance of those leaders who choose wealth over humanity. It shows the clear impact of those who focus on the health of their nation. It shows us clear proof of our economies on our climate. It closes our doors but opens our hearts. It inspires us to sing in unity. It is very similar to how many of us were feeling for years of Brexit reality but in this one way it is quite unique: it is open, collective and uniting. We open up, care for each other and start paying attention to knowledge and science. We reach out to our faiths for comfort but stop relying on it for practical solutions. We see some of our employers and other leaders step up, reach out and sometimes even listen. It is still testing and I fear we might lose some friends overreaction to this too, but we regain a sense of humanity.
I hope this learning curve ends soon though and we can all start healing.
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”Kurt Vonnegut
“Yo no soy mexicano. Yo no soy gringo. Yo no soy chicano. No soy gringo en USA y mexicano en Mexico. Soy chicano en todas partes. No tengo que asimilarme a nada. Tengo mi propia historia.”
“I am not Mexican. I am not gringo. I am not Chicano. I am not a gringo in the USA and Mexican in Mexico. I am Chicano of everywhere. I don’t have to assimilate to anything. I have my own story. ”Carlos Fuentes
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”John Lennon
Hope is the thing with feathersEmily Dickinson
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
One more week of restoration after a month of lemons, lemons, lemons. I was challenged on so many levels. There were moments when I had to sit down and rest – quite physically, I could not breathe anymore. However, my responses to all of those challenges validated my humanity, my sensitivity, empathy and resilience. As intense at it feels now, this last month was a summary of those recent steps on my journey.
I was challenged, yes. But I also grew. I steadied myself. I took care of myself. I asked for the right type of help. I deepened my friendships. I grew closer and stronger with my family. I prioritised myself and us collectively.
I listened deeper. I learned to distinguish my mistakes from the resonance of issues emerging from others. I discovered that beyond the obvious unconditional positive regard, I do not have please just so many people. Actually, the more I think of it, I need to prioritize those who take me seriously and appreciate me for my actual skills and achievements. I accepted that I am a doer – although I knew that already.
I learned a lot about my past, present and future clients – those who dare greatly, the so-called “foolish” dreamers, the believers, the change-makers. We are a precious, rare type, yet quietly we form ripples, waves and finally storms moulding our paths into new continents. We study the past and embrace the unpredictable futures. We hope in times of helplessness. We know we have not much to lose. We might be seen as subtle and weak, but we are simply open and vulnerable. It’s the most courageous attitude towards life. We have faith in ourselves and our tribes, which makes us stronger.
In the last 2 years, I started recovering from the initial racism of the early years of Brexit in Oxfordshire. Moving to a kinder city, I was welcomed and supported, so I healed even more. In the last few weeks, however, I drew the cycle of safety around my world, while also considering the sensitivities of my fellow British friends as much as I could. I have learned so much from that process about power, empowerment and self-oppression. I will use those learnings in my work to convert my experiences into positive energy in the future. I am still processing it all, to be honest.
Today I felt at home with myself again. I met a group of business planners and analysts who shared my excitement about certain opportunities – I felt at home with their professionalism and realised my core is still here. Healing from Brexit and other negative experiences will take time but I am emerging stronger. I wish we did not have to learn this way, but here’s to working towards a better future – for me, my circles and people I am to support.
The kindness of my family and friends, the bonds we have built, move me to tears. Happy, light tears of collective care and mutual support. Yes, there is darkness all around us, but there is so much to treasure and to gravitate toward. I am giving myself one more week of restoration before I go back to a very active plotting of my new ways of supporting people.
For now, I sit back, cuddle my dog, close my eyes. I rest. I hope you can rest too.
Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.J.M. Barrie
No i wyszliśmy. Lokalnie wszyscy teraz cierpią, no ale ja jestem zawsze wychorowana na zapas, więc mój okres żałoby się kończy. Cztery lata bólu, bardzo ostrych problemów zdrowotnych, 25% nadwagi, nieprzespanych nocy w obawie o przyszłość i bardzo taktycznego planowania kariery.
Najtrudniejsze w tym wstepneym okresie Brexitu były rozmowy z dzieckiem. Może wyjedziemy, ale jeszcze nie wiadomo. On chciał do dziadków we Włoszech, ale my nie. Znajomi wyjechali, inni cierpią.
Ale na przeprowadzkę jest jeszcze za wcześnie. Rasizm, który w Królestwie teraz dominuje w centralnej narracji, jest obecny w całej Europie. Był obecny zawsze. Czeka tylko, aby się obudzić.
Natomiast tutaj, na Wyspach, w cieplejszych okolicach, jest on widoczny, więc łatwiej się z nim jakoś walczy – można jeszcze pogonić, zadzwonić na policję, uciszyć.
No ale jest bardzo smutno i Brytyjczycy bardzo cierpią. No nie dziwię się. Pusto, zimno i ciemno w sercach. Oficjalna żałoba dla mnie się kończy, dla nich zaczyna. Ale jesteśmy tutaj razem, więc uzbrajam się w ciepło.
Będzię ono nam wszystkim bardzo potrzebne.
Photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash
Today many of us start to feel the real pain of Brexit. But today marks the end of my EU grief. It started in early 2016 and lasted until Brexit deadline, last night. I am sad, of course, but those four years were dreadful and yet very meaningful. My roots and new identities were questioned. My networks fell apart and evolved. My choices were undermined, and thus, I grew stronger in my truths. My views clarified but to take the right stand I had to stop talking, start listening and cross many lines I was socialised into. I suffered. I did hurt.
But I also grew stronger. Grief is uncomfortable, but it’s also very formative. It shapes us into someone new, someone different. As we grow, our friends suffer too – we don’t fit their familiar, and sometimes we need to say our goodbyes. I lost a few friends who were racists because I stopped compromising. However, I also learned to grow a wide circle of safety. I steadied myself. I gave birth to an idea which is politics and future proof – because I had no choice but to design it this way. I educated myself.
I stopped travelling and sat down to figure my new self out. Shedding so many layers of systemic labels and identities is a terribly painful process, so I am exhausted! Happy that active Brexit period is over, it’s easier to navigate the new reality. One in which a system can be hacked, so we need to learn to live above it in an everlasting unpredictability. I learned the lesson and now plan to rest for a while, slowly planning the next step of my journey.
As I come back to myself, I am also noticing the change in my circles. We treasure each other more than ever, our conversations are deep. Our connection is stronger than ever. We are starting to unite, to build bridges, safer spaces & more inclusive tribes.
We are more human than ever before.