The White Guilt Death Spiral and how to avoid it

As a white person it’s easy to fall into the pitfall that is white guilt. Before even understanding constitutional/structural racism, you will likely have felt guilt on behalf of figurative ancestors. And some of you may actually be in the lineage of people who owned slaves, allowing you to carry generational guilt.

Here comes the important question: Does you expressing that you feel guilty of any of this help anyone today?

I’m quite convinced it doesn’t. And once you start talking about your white guilt you may experience guilt from expressing it, especially when you’re reminded to not project your white guilt on other people. A few days ago this happened to me, where I ended up projecting white guilt onto something a friend wrote online. Today, I could easily make excuses for why I expressed white guilt, but that’s only really important for myself in regards to not doing it again. But the occurrence reminded me what a vicious cycle it can be and how easy it could be to get trapped in a never ending spiral.

As stated above, if you express your white guilt, and someone in your surroundings call you out on it, you’re likely to feel another pang of guilt wanting to apologize profusely again. And in doing so you make the whole thing about you. You’re not doing anything to solve any of the systemic racism we all live in and are affected by, you just start spiraling and building more guilt about all the times you did something wrong.

“Why am I not allowed to express myself”, is possibly something you’re feeling right now. And honestly, you are allowed to express yourself, but you’re not free from the consequences of it.

I see it as part of any personal growth, you need to be willing to do a lot of internal work. Let me say that again: You Need To Be _Willing_ To Do A Lot Of Internal Work. I hope I emphasized that enough. Doing internal work can still allow space to vent to a friend or confidant, but try to avoid doing that to any friends who are at the opposite end of your white privilege. They don’t need to hear it, it’s not what they need from you, it will most likely drain them. As Bianca Xunise wrote “It’s not my job to absolve you of your white guilt”.

This is why I believe that anyone who feel like they are experiencing this kind of guilt, myself included, need to practice nipping it in the bud, as soon as that white guilt creeps in. Just don’t entertain it, and especially don’t express it. If you need to do something talk with yourself about it (this can be done in text, like a diary or such, or a letter to burn, or your workbook for dismantling your complicity in white supremacy).

I can’t tell you exactly how to have this conversation with yourself, but if I were to do it I’d take a lesson from coping with anxiety: ask yourself questions about the negative thought, the thought about feeling guilty. Ask yourself leading questions, questions you probably already know the answer but need to hear the answer to, you may not even be able to answer it immediately, but have to ask again or ask another question to work around it. These kind of exercises can be done mentally or written. Eventually this becomes second nature, and you’ll do it unconsciously.

Why would white guilt and anxiety be treated the same? I’d rather phrase it like this: Why not take lessons from areas where we’ve experienced how to cope with difficult things? It may not work in every situation, but where it does, it does.

This is me, trying to practice to not let my white guilt take over, but rather work pro-actively to help other people begin their anti-racist journey.

While musings can be supported elsewhere, I will never ask for money for any of my anti-racist work, and every time you’d consider giving me money for it I’d rather have you support other creatives or organizations who are non-white and already having these conversations and doing the work. Alt. if you really want to support me, support someone else with half of the money for the same time.
You can read about Anti-racist work for White People here.

Bullet Journal Without

I started using a Bullet Journal in early January. It was my first time, and it really clicked for me. Finally a tool that works with ADHD.

Considering how many years I didn’t even know that I had ADHD, me not realizing that Bullet Journaling could work for me comes as no surprised, but it also feels a bit unfortunate. I partially wish I would’ve been able to organize myself and my thoughts this way much sooner. Then again, I wish I would’ve understood that “yes, I have ADHD” a lot earlier too.

In September 2020 I decided to journal every day, and I did for about 3 months. Now I still journal a few times a week. I soon got eager and excited about buying a new journal, and maybe trying out a dotted journal. I would let myself buy it if I kept writing my journal until the end of the year. And I more or less did.

Kicking off 2021, I was ready to start using my BuJo, but I didn’t do it immediately, because it felt like an insurmountable task to even start. So I began with a table of content spread, and wrote myself an introduction. This is something I’ve done with some journals in the past. And I figured that maybe it would make it easier for me. And now, I don’t even remember what I wrote in that introduction.

The important part for me was to get started, and writing an introduction and setting expectations helped with that.

I didn’t really plan on writing anything about my bullet journaling, I didn’t expect that I’d become one of those people who dedicate their “content” to the magic of the bullet journal (no shade). And I don’t think that’s what this is. Rather this is me exploring something peculiar.

In my habit tracker, I accidentally set my writing (w) to every day for the next 7 days, when it was supposed to be walking (o = outdoor/walking). And because I don’t have whiteout, it will just sit there and wait for me to be done or failed, and I figured I may as well write something about it.

So here we are, at the end of this blog post, talking about how Bullet Journal Without Whiteout is rough. And I can now add this point to my writing tracker of a written and published post.