‘I can’t Breath’

I seldom have nightmares, quirky and weird dreams yes, but not nightmares. But I did yesterday. Dont remember the context but I do remember some strange thing happening in the dream and my life was in danger. Petrified, I tried to tell my sister and mum who were in my dream but they just wouldnt have any of it. Things were getting tensed, I was panicking.
I couldn’t breath.
I couldn’t get out of it. I screamed.
I guess I actually screamed which woke S up and he woke me up from the dream.
Thank goodness it was a dream.
I can breath.

Not a psychotherapist but I have always been fascinated with dreams and their interconnection with your subconscious feelings.I guess my brain really wont let me off unless I stop running away, reflect and write about my feelings and process them.

Past few days, I purposely steered away from all the posts and news about George Floyd and protests because I knew I couldn’t  afford to think about what he must have felt before he was murdered, what his family and friends are feeling right now, and what the world is feeling. I did however look up photos of him when he was alive, read about his life and his tragic death, and it’s been enough for me to say that I’m affected. I’m truly and painfully affected and I cant not write about it.

Being an ethnic minority myself, I know my fair share of what prejudice and racism can look like. I’d also be lying if I dont say that I’ve recieved far more appreciation, curiosity and relatibility towards my culture and ethnicity than prejudice or illtreatment.

What George and millions of others recieved and continue to receive is not that. What they recieve is hatred, abuse, biased thoughts and beliefs. Bad illustration this may be but when you see the white and juicy insides of an apple, your brain conveys it’s good and you consume it. When you see an apple that’s black and mouldy, you frown and throw it in the bin. Unfortunately, its not just food that we associate black colour with bad.

I sadly cant do much for George Floyds departed soul or anyone affected. At the very least, what I can do is try and be honest about my own feelings and reflections.

‘Do you have any inhibitions, fears or challenges with any particular type of people?’, asked my practice teacher during our group reflective exercise in my final year social work placement. Uninhibited , i said black people when it was my turn. He enquired why. I said its because of the unwanted attention I’d been getting from international Nigerian students during Uni. After the exercise,  he shared that now that we had an awareness of our said challenges, we can stay stay reflective and aware of our own biased thoughts and feelings about people and the impact of it when working with people.

What I didnt say or figured out that day was what lied deep underneath. It wasnt the guys’ interest in me that bothered me, it was the fact that they were Nigerians. Had it been any other nationality, the teenage me probably wouldve enjoyed the attention.

I can point my finger at media or my culture that either mocked or feared someone with black skin tone. But the truth is, I had it in me (or may be still have it in me). I’m aware of it. I tried (may be still try) my best to not let it ever affect anyone in anyways. I truly wish that the police officer/s who took George’s life had a reflective practice session like I did before he went into policing. An innocent soul wouldnt have been lost. I also sincerely hope that every other police officers and people of different skin tone can have an uninhibited reflective thinking about their own innate biased feelings so that no other innocent lives would be lost or no one else would have to say ‘I cant breath’



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