A Challenge After Regaining My Real Identity

Just as it was a challenge to get back on my feet financially after I recovered from my years of self-sabotage, when I rejected who I was, it is a challenge to regain a social group. What’s more, there is the challenge of dealing with the social connections I’ve had to form for work and other needs where they don’t mesh with my sense of whom I now know myself to be and what I now understand I really want.

One of the most valuable things I have done to overcome these challenges is seek out groups where I feel I can connect and most easily be myself. There are a lot of great podcasts out there for a biracial man, woman or non-binary person like Militantly Mixed if you’re in the U.S. or Mixed in the Six in Canada. These are places to make new friends that get the same types of experiences. We need to pursue spaces where we can easily breathe to remain healthy and continue to solidify that sense of self we’ve regained.

Another thing I have had to tell myself is to give myself time and space. A lot of strong feelings arise from realizing we are in a place with people who don’t understand us or even perhaps trigger us as the type of people who were part of the traumas of our past. With time, the feelings can subside as we start adjusting to our environment and learning to set proper boundaries and feel confident in our new sense of self. I also know that even those things I will have to change cannot be changed immediately, and so it’s OK if I have those feelings for a while. In that sense, the COVID-19 lock downs have been a blessing. Working from home has allowed flexibility and been a chance to set a schedule and manage work interactions in ways that don’t derail where I want to go while I deal with where I am.

It’s also been valuable to express my feelings either in writing or to a therapist. I also talk about these feelings with new friends who can relate. Giving space to these feelings allows them to be honored and releases or dis-empowers those that are unhealthy or fleeting but strong in the moment.