Navigating the Rage.

If you’ve looked at the news, it’s an absolute understatement to say, this month has been one of the most tragic in recent memory. Tragedy it seems, has hit all four corners of the Earth.

Murders. Protests. Shootings. And more murders, shootings, and protests.

The weight of it all compiling has lead to collective frustration, anger, rage, and loss of faith in humanity.

In what we’re all doing.

The consciousness compiled in mainstream and social media is a jumbled cocktail of mistruths, facts, opinions, observations, justifications and everything in between, filtered with thought, rage, sincerity, racism, etc.

In short, a mirror of current confusion.

Your thoughts may spiral into: What’s the point of it all? The world is going to hell. We’re in the last days.

And you’re not wrong for thinking this. It is your human right to be upset and angry and disgusted with injustice and violence. It is OK to be frustrated, and even beyond it.

This is a territory amongst those who care. Not just for justice or America’s future or the livelihood of themselves but also for the existence of others. This is a deep understanding that routine killings, neglect, and no due process for victims trickles down to you, me, and our children.

I’ve had, and am having a tough time myself with all of this tragedy compiling.

The news, the temperature of the US and our world, has found a way to crush me.

I don’t know how to take it any other way but personal. I feel this all the way in Medellin, where my day to day interactions with the law here is vastly different. Much safer.

“What is happening now is very, very old. We have some habits of responding to this familiar pain and trauma that are not serving us well. In many respects it’s amazing that we endure at all. I am inspired again and again by so much of the beautiful, brilliant and daring activism that is unfolding all over the country. Yet I also know that more is required than purely reactive protest and politics. A profound shift in our collective consciousness must occur, a shift that makes possible a new America.” — Michelle Alexander, Something More is Required of Us Now. What?

I was in a hole for a while, unable to publish anything, unable to be productive.

Witnessing injustice is something that should disrupt and disturb any human being. From Nice to Turkey to Baton Rouge.

But it doesn’t help when your mind is dealing with issues you can’t and weren’t meant to solve on your own.

This is complex. This is bigger than ‘thinking it through.’

Of all of the revolutionary leaders, thinkers, pioneers, of all of the great souls that have walked this Earth and were laid to rest, this problem of violence, injustice, and systematic racism still exists. No one man or woman should have to bear the weight of a society or collectives wrong-doing to come up with solutions, while also enraged.

I was fighting a war in my own body.

I got tired of it. All. Tired of the same old news. Tired of being tired. And tired of being down.

It’s weird sometimes. The feeling of wanting to make yourself happier, during sorrow can make you falsely feel guilty. Because it’s like you’re moving on from tragedy when a solution still hasn’t been found.

It’s important to not tell yourself this story, this lie. To not guilt yourself into staying sad and in a state of rage. It is possible to be upset about worldly injustice and misfortune while also being at peace with yourself and your life. No one should have to fight a war in their own body.

There’s nothing wrong with personally making yourself feel better.

And so, over the past week, I did just that.

Here are some things that helped me to restore the peace in my world, even while the world around me appeared mad and disappointing:

  1. I surrounded myself with people I love (and who love me). I was blessed enough that both my girlfriend and family was in town visiting during this time. This was vital.
  2. I disengaged from the negativity (and the news and the internet). I put Facebook down. Too much going on. Way too much for the soul to manage.
  3. I expressed myself frustration via other channels. I wrote for myself. To get out my feelings. I created art.
  4. I reconnected with my purpose (and what I could change). I thought, what can I do? I can use my voice. I’m only back to doing what I do because I gave myself time to think and reconnect.

Now, even though I’ve laid these suggestions out, it’s important for me to say this: This is no way an encouragement to make peace with injustice. This is in no way meant to veil or blind yourself to what’s going on. Living in the clouds is not what I’m suggesting, at all.

There is more that needs to be done. And we owe it to ourselves and those who come after us, our children to care about this. But it’s also paramount for us to take care of ourselves and the people around us so we don’t further endanger our well-being.

Care for yourself.

With love.

Additional resources:

Something more is required of us now. What? — Michelle Alexander

We must remember the Civil Rights Movement was 14 years long — Shaun King

Stop Condemning My Bitterness, Start Condemning the System — Dominique Matti

Black Lives Matter: A Fairy Tale — Joel Leon

Photo credit: dan carlson


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