Ashley Peterson, LPC
Black Lives Matter
I, like many other people, have struggled to wrap my head around everything that has transpired. Like many other black people, racism has always played a leading role in my life. It’s been hurtful, harmful, exhausting and just a generally negative experience. Also, as most black people, I’ve worked my hardest to not let it define me or limit my ability to hope and dream. These last couple of months have felt oppressive to say the least. It’s been draining and repetitive having to have the same conversation for the last 400+ years. I have worried about my safety as well as the safety of other black people as we continue to be murdered then turned into viral videos for public fodder and to be held up as proof that we didn’t deserve to die. I have struggled with my mental health, as well as how to best comfort and care for my valued clients. It’s rare that your therapist is experiencing the same “days” as your clients, as we are usually working from a space of sympathy that allows some distance. Now, it’s all empathy!! From experiencing COVID to witnessing a revolution and all the while being under quarantine and while also learning a new set of skills of how to navigate safely amongst family and friends; It’s been exhaustive. How do you protect your mental health when it’s constantly under attack? How do you navigate the internet and television when you are constantly seeing people who look like you killed and attacked for simply being born black? Where is the safe space and how do we keep it safe? These are the questions that I’ve been asked and that I ask myself. The answer is different for everyone. For me, I have tried to place myself in spaces that feel safe, being with family, my community and taking comfort in that I don’t have to walk this journey alone. Some days I can’t get on the internet because I don’t know what I’ll see! At this point the “trigger warning” that plays before a video automatically starts is a trigger. It tells me that I will see someone disrespecting black life, and that I have two choices, I can watch and be outraged, or not watch and still be outraged. So, sometimes it’s safest for me to just watch something predictable, a show that I’ve watched 100 times, where I know all the characters, the topics that will present themselves, no surprises to brace for and then time devoted to processing what I just saw. I listen to music that makes me feel proud to be a black woman, music that is uplifting and reinforces that I do matter regardless of what I’ve seen and heard majority of my life. I celebrate that amazing things continue to happen with people that look like me, despite life feeling so heavy that at times it is work to smile. That is the legacy of black people... we try. Against all odds, all the messaging, the oppression and the violence against us.. We still try. We lift ourselves up, we lift each other up and we fight the rough current and continue to move forward because that is and has always been our only option.
As a black owned business I thought it was pertinent that I made it clear specifically where I stand, ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER.