In the aftermath of last Sunday’s Oscars, we found ourselves confused, saddened, and unsure of how to process everything that happened. As I reflected on it last week, I knew I needed to unpack why the event had such a deep impact on us all. I want to start by being transparent and saying that I do not judge Will Smith, nor Chris Rock. And the truth is, it is not our place to pass judgment on anyone or their emotions, at the time, nor on the trauma they carried afterwards. As observers and witnesses, we are left with the task of understanding how the event shifts our perspective on self-governed actions. I realize by acknowledging and addressing this delicate matter, we can play a part in our collective healing.
There is no doubt that we all may have experienced some form of trauma or suffered victimization. These moments can unlock our deepest fears of not being able to protect ourselves, and by extension, our loved ones. It’s a fear and anguish that we feel imprisoned to, until we act. Sometimes those actions are small and unseen – hurting only ourselves – other times, we act on such a large scale that we are left with disappointment and fallout, beyond our imagination.
In the aftermath of the Oscar events, the world stage saw a lot of cries for healing – we saw the issue lifted of women feeling protected; we saw Black men attempting to shrug off years of conditioning; we saw attention brought to disparities of health and wellness, there was a lot of pain on that stage. And for years, we have been dealing with a community and people: and our ability to see, say and seek help for healing.
See, we are a community that has been taught to absorb and hide our pain, passing it on to each other and our children; often becoming ill in our efforts to seem like we are okay. Yet, conversely, we mock and joke about our pain as if we can laugh it off until it simply no longer hurts. What we’re actually doing is burying it deeper and deeper, refusing to give our pain the opportunity and time to heal.
The events of last Sunday are nuanced and complex. The hurt displayed on that stage will not be remedied by apologies nor penalties. And truthfully, some may not make peace with these events for a long time. However, the work we do here – through inner assessment and reflection, conversations, and compassion – is vital to our healing.
Truth be told, the only way to bring light into darkness is by opening doors and windows that have been chained far too long, to allow room for something new to grow. We must have the courage to step forward and forgive others and ourselves, working to embrace what a healed version of ourselves and our community, and the world can look like. Though it seems simple, seeking help is the biggest and bravest step we can take. It is taking a step towards a future of empathy and love, unshackled by the pain of the past. Let's normalize wellness, seeking healing for our souls, identifying the traumas that keep us hostage, getting the help we need and being help for someone else.
As you reflect on the incident at the Oscars, I challenge you to reflect on incidents in your life that may have caused trauma. Assess the silent surrounding circumstances that may be yelling loudly to speak, to be heard, for help, to heal. My first self-published book was a piece I entitled 'IT Matters'. IT is an acronym for Inner Turmoil. The idea is that if we do not deal with IT, at the most inopportune of times, it will deal with you. So let's express humanity and empathy for ourselves, and others, as we navigate this world. Meanwhile, let's move from the narrative of hurt people, hurt people, to HEALED PEOPLE HELP PEOPLE. Sometimes things are uncovered so that . . . healing the pain, can begin.
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