Is my kindness my downfall? My toxic trait? My fatal flaw? Before being vocal about anything on my mind, I acknowledge the privileges that I have in doing so, but this bothers those around me. At the same time, the moment I share my concerns, and do not explicitly acknowledge the privileges that I have, I am met with: “Why are you so ungrateful?” “Do you not recognize your privilege?” “I have gone through worse than you have.” I cannot win.

I am allowed to have my own problems. I am allowed to care about other people. These are not mutually exclusive. I am lost as to why others are so quick to to shame me for being cognizant of the life I have while gaslighting me for expressing whatever is weighing on my mind. I also need to realize that those who are quick to misunderstand me and pinpoint (what they think are) my flaws do not know me. They do not know me at all, and I need to learn to be okay with that.

My interests are not mutually exclusive either. I do what I can to help my community and be on the front lines of justice. I strive to establish meaningful processes to eradicate public health issues in everything that I do professionally, and incorporate a healthy (this is in-progress) amount of activism into my personal life as well (using my social media platforms, having conversations within my circle, attending protests, doing mutual aid work etc.). I also love singing, making playlists, reading, writing, running, swimming, dancing, hammocking, practicing yoga, decorating, driving, watching YouTube videos, playing Catchphrase, painting, and spending time with folks who add to my life. I love animals and chocolate. I love fashion. I love laughing and making others laugh. I love water, record stores, and throat coat tea. Humans are multi-faceted, so do not place me in a cupboard.

I do not choose to care about others because I am pursuing work in a field that requires it. I care about others because I personally value doing so. I push the people around me to care about communities, issues, and systems larger than themselves because I care. I want them to be in my corner and I want them to understand why compassion is an essential quality to have. I am not rewarded for educating those who choose to be ignorant or choose to not care. I am not rewarded for taking time out of my day, for using my energy, and for using my voice to explain human rights issues to my loved ones. Asking me to separate “personal” from “professional” when I mention anything that is slightly uncomfortable or pushes one to think about something beyond themselves is insensitive to the cause and gaslights me. Wanting others to be treated well and live comfortably should be personal for everyone. I do not uplift communities because it is within my line of work. I want to do this work and I refuse to watch others suffer while I enhance my own life.

I have always been told that I have a big heart. I have also been told to prioritize myself more. Part of the reason why I do not outwardly prioritize myself is because I experience judgment when I do. People assume that I do not practice gratitude, but they say that I am too hard on myself when I am bursting at the seams through having to validate everything I say or ensuring that my concerns are not interpreted incorrectly by anyone. Having to explain myself is exhausting, so I decided to write about it. Maybe someone reading this post can relate to it, but honestly, I just hope that the people in my life learn from it. I am proud of my heart. I am proud of how much I care. I am not going to decrease the amount of love that I give to others just to satisfy someone else’s ego.

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