The words "we are living in unprecedented times" continue to haunt me during these times of uncertainty and doubt. Sifting and sorting through multiple articles. Fact checking left and right. Washing my hands thoroughly in a panic. Wondering when I will ever return to work again. Continuously consuming information, whether it'd be from health or history professionals. I do all of this just to find concrete answers in order for things to go back to normal. So yes, it is safe to say that I am exhausted. I can never seem to stop this adrenaline from sorting through news articles in order to calm down. While it has been evident that COVID-19 has turned everyone's lives upside down, another element has been added in the midst of the pandemic: the fight for racism and police brutality. We are currently living in a time where we are seeing a definitive gap on where our society stands with racism and police brutality. Peaceful protests have been ongoing the entire week, -police are continuously abusing their power, curfews are established at random times, and the National Guard's helicopters would not stop circulating above my home. On top of all of this, my new neighbors seem to have a reoccurring routine of vacuuming at 2:30 in the morning.
While many of us see this definitive gap, there are those who refuse to understand the current societal shift - my family being one of them. I am the black sheep of the family during these times. To be frank, I don't remember the last time I had felt so alone for having a different opinion. My oldest sister and her husband are Trump supporters and are heavily influenced in their respective parties. I have kindly asked to not challenge my views any further, but my sister has continuously refused - claiming that she was once in my position, but challenged herself leading to where her views are today. My mom, as someone who did not study in the U.S., does not understand the severity of the reason these protests are happening. Her stance also stands firm with her previous experiences with Black people on the bus going to and from work, and denies their right to basic human rights. I can't reason with factual information and content that I have learned myself because they either 1) don't understand me or 2) use the argument that "I am too smart" or 3) use the facts I have provided against me, claiming that I am only booksmart. They are the ones who tell you to apply to college, earn a degree, then work for the rest of your life. Yet, here I am being denounced in my own home because they deny the reasoning I provide in order to give context. My sister has even told my mom behind my back that I have cognitive dissonance. It's experiences like these that make me lose hope, and take a toll on me mentally due to the validation I seek.
I firmly believe the people I surround myself with is the reason why my mental health continues to be stable. The uncomfortable conversations I share with either my significant other, close friends, or individuals I share the same values decompress and continue to give me clarity. Because of this clarity, these voices continue to motivate me to carry on with my further education on Black and Asian American history. My next step towards stability is being able to make my family's comments about my reasoning as a form of white noise in order to not be so affected emotionally and mentally. As these unprecedented times continue to haunt me day by day, I seek to see this as an opportunity - not only to prove that my further education is worth it, that there will be results in this societal change that will make them understand where I am coming from.