Ep#26 Canceled: Odyssey of the Martyr

solo episode

Can you cancel somebody who has already canceled themselves? Can you get any more problematic than admitting how problematic you are versus trying to prove that you're not? It's kind of like saying something racist and then saying you're not a racist and then spending a lot of energy defending yourself only to make it worse.

Wouldn't it have been so much easier to just admit that you fucked up and what does accountability or repair look like from there? Because from what I'm seeing on this side, I don't even have any desire to be a part of a community that claims accountability or transformative justice, especially if I already felt like I was walking on eggshells going in there to begin with. 

Okay, welcome to today's solo podcast episode with me, your host, June a.k.a. Jumakae. And there is a lot that I have been feeling in my womb space about cancelling culture and just so many things that have been coming to the surface. And it feels so really good to be in a place where I can breathe, feel and observe what's coming up for me without immediately reacting to it. Because before I would be in the comments and I would make this a center of my focus because at that time I didn't know what I was creating for myself yet. So a lot of my energy was being exerted towards fixing other people's problems or getting into it, versus taking a moment to pause and reflect on my own and how is it that I am contributing to the alternative I want to see in the world, in the communities that I shared space with and most importantly for my future self and my future Children.

So just started the newest cohort of routes to rise. We are in our third round and it is such a magical group. We have about 10 people who are walking this path along me, alongside one another birthing, their own story, medicine and their sacred offerings. And I continue to learn more and more about myself with every group. And while the 12 weeks comes and goes quite quickly to outsiders on the inside, it feels like a death of somebody we once knew and this welcoming of who we are becoming.

So one of my students that just completed routes to rise with me completely disbanded their large Instagram following and we held this beautiful death ceremony, which was so interesting because the reason why they disbanded, honestly, I don't even know the details. I don't even care to know the story. I just remember looking at the comments, the ways people we're responding with such anger and pain and violence like why would you when somebody's life is feeling threatened? Because they fucked up? I think that that's something that we all should be worried about. But I also noticed not many people were coming to this person's defense because they were so fearful. If I am to say something, then these people who are co-signing these violent comments are going to come after me and my page too. And so of course I didn't say anything because just reading some of these extremely harmful comments, I'm like, did this person really cause you enough harm for you to tell them or anybody else who's coming to their defense to watch your back? I'm going to ruin your life. I don't know about you, but that's not the kind of community or accountability I want to be a part of. And so I proposed a death ceremony because I feel like we can grieve these old identities and oftentimes we do it in isolation. But how is it that we can also start cultivating a healthier relationship with death to not see it as a total ending, but as a composting, as a way to just burn it down. Like how our ancestors would burn certain crops with the intention that it was going to serve as compost as nourishment for new seedlings to be birthed.

And so maybe there's a part of you that you're holding onto, that you are afraid to put to rest, that you are afraid to let die. And what would it look like to the whole more of these death ceremonies for these parts of ourselves that we are shedding so that we can create the spaciousness to say yes, I feel safe in us enough now to embody someone new and to attract people who are in more alignment with who it is I'm becoming. The business coach side of me tells people, the offerings we are creating are oftentimes something our younger self needed. And one of the pieces of wisdom that unfolded from this most recent cohort is what it would look like to instead of creating something for who we once were to instead create for who it is. We are evolving into who we are becoming as well, and oftentimes before we can get to that we have to let these other parts of ourselves die. 

I also want to say that what I witnessed on this person's account is something that felt very familiar to my body. As somebody who was canceled before culture was even a phrase, but it did not happen on social media. It happened in real time. I don't even know if I want to share that story, but I guess because I started, I would love to give you a glimpse into what my life was like in between working in domestic violence at a nonprofit that supported Asian, an Asian American woman with creating safe housing and finding jobs. I was a rape crisis hotline counselor as well as a community organizer. And when I was fired or what I like to now say freed from that job, which you can learn more about in the first podcast episode of Your Story Medicine.

Before I got into running my own coaching business, supporting other healers with telling their own stories and creating their own offerings. I became a consultant. I was a consultant for a transformative justice organization. And if you are new to what transformative justice is, basically, the best way I can explain it is you believe that there are alternative means of violence intervention that do not have to involve the criminal justice system and you are actively working towards creating that. But here's the thing, transformative justice was exactly what so many of our ancestors did prior to us having these institutions to turn to. What would community care and a community care and accountability look like to where we can trust our neighbor, we can trust our friends to be our support if things were to go down. Because if you look at the statistics, let me know it out for a bit. I feel like I'm going back to my younger self. So during the women's liberation movement in the 60's, 70’s, rape became a criminalized issue, which was a huge win of course, to the organizers of the movement. But what many people don't know is that after that, incarceration rates went up by at least 500% majority of these people, over 90% of those who committed sexual violence where men continue, to be men. And did they come out as better people? No. In fact, what happened is we had a higher recidivism rate. People who tend to get locked up once will easily get locked up again and again and again. 

And so what does mental health support look like? What are these other resources outside of incarceration? Because prisons should not be mental health institutions and police were originally created to catch runaway slaves. I also have some of my own thoughts and critique about mental health, which is why I think it's so important that we come back to the individual. How much work have we done on ourselves to meet our own wounds and lovingly tend to them versus getting into professions or getting into relationships where we want to fix other people, which then becomes trauma bonding and codependency. And then we forget that there's a whole other world out there with billions of people who will love you just as you are. 

So going back to my life being a consultant for a transformative justice organization, I fell into that because one of the reasons why I was fired from my job is because of, I guess in their words, like I was, I'm very opinionated and I don't have a filter and that's okay because it serves me today. But at that time when I would push back at my agency about like why is it we need to collaborate with the police because my role was to actually explore alternatives, but because the industry I was in was heavily funded by the criminal justice system. Then of course there's going to be some push back.

And so I was so grateful to one of my early mentors after I left Mimi Kim, who is the founder of creative interventions who I love and adore. And so I started doing workshops throughout the community on transformative justice. But so much of it was in theory and doing it in practice was a whole another up level. I didn't stay long enough to actually be in that practice, because I just noticed that many of the people who were coming to these TJ workshops, TJ for short, we're so invested in exploring ways they can utilize these tools in their own communities. And yet so many people were bypassing the work that we have to do for ourselves in order to hold these containers where people get triggered, where there's going to be a lot of conflict and conflict is not a bad thing, especially when it can be generated when we can use that as feedback, as fuel of how it is to do better. But if we are not first willing to meet with a conflict within ourselves, then how is that going to play out in the ways we are holding space for others who are not showing up with a regulated nervous system.

And so I transitioned out of that role to explore that for myself, which led me into ancestral healing, which led me to my motherland, which led me into my own spiritual practice that I am still being met with every single day because entrepreneurship has been such a big vehicle into me facing my own shadows and no longer blaming external circumstances for my outcomes. 

So, I recently shared something on my Instagram about the drama triangle. And if you are new to the drama triangle, what that consists of is, the victor, the feeling and the victim. So who are the victors? Many of us who come into healing work do it because we are coming from this saviour mentality, don't deny it. Look, because this was me, the victor can also be seen as the martyr or as the people pleaser. So, if you are somebody who tends to sacrifice your own needs for the sake of others, it's probably because you have your people pleasing tendencies and the saviour mentality that you are still unknowingly clinging onto. And that was me. It's what brought me into community organizing my own trauma as a survivor of sexual violence. It is what brought me into nonprofit work. It's what attracted me to certain people and communities and organizations as somebody who has felt left out and didn't feel like I belonged. I knew what it was like to be victimized. And so I just wanted to make the world a better place. I wanted to help as many people as possible who have been harmed. And any hint of joy was often met with guilt because I knew that other people were suffering. So who am I to feel joy?

I also became politically conscious in many ways or read the books, took all the classes and people were intimidated by me because I was really quick to snap back. I was very quick to call other people out if I felt they were out of line until I was on the other side of it, until I myself fucked up. And to be honest, I don't exactly remember what it is I did. This was for another consulting job that I got actually after working in the transformative justice space, I just started getting these short gigs for wellness retreats for different social justice camps. And I just remember there was so much conflict that was happening in these circles and I was holding it down on the outside. I didn't know what the conflict was, but it was actually the very last day of this retreat that I ran, which was a social justice camp for a woman of color where we had an open mi. And I was like, yes, we're ending this off on a high note.

I organized it with a couple of other youths and I decided that I would close out the space with one of my poems because that's my roots, I'm a spoken word artist. And let me just, you know, let these young people know that I still have it in me. Something that I said in my poem triggered the same youth who had been in conflict throughout the week. And what happened after that is I was asked to leave. I was asked to not show my face. I didn't get to say goodbye to anybody, to any of the youth. There was no circle for me. There was no restoration. There was no transformation. I literally had to get snuck out of this camp, put on an airplane and went home. When I got home. I just remember my body feeling so tight but also so grateful that I had a healthy home and a relationship to come home to. I do not know what was happening with this young person, but I knew that in that moment I had become a projection of whatever it was she was struggling with and I became the martyr guilt, shame, feeling like I was burnt at the stake and this was a camp that was encouraging woman of color to embrace sisterhood and I did not feel that at all.

I remember getting an email that said, okay, we need to discuss what happened. But because I am my own boss at this point, I lovingly said, thank you, my contract is done. And good luck figuring this out. So while I came into this work as a victor, I quickly became a villain. Villain who? Me? But hey, sometimes those of us who come into this work with good intentions, what causes harm? We will cause harm and you may not like it, but some people are going to assign you the role as a villain, victor's flocked to victims in defense, fingers are pointed at a villain to blame and then relationships turn into a war zone.

So when people are operating from fight or flight, where's the room for growth? For restoration, for accountability, for transformation, we can use this fancy jargon. But how much of it is actually going to be embodied and what is the intention behind us even wanting to stay in these relationships if they don't even feel safe to begin with. So guess what I learned, I learned that sometimes the most radical thing you can do is walk away from people and from situations that are no longer in alignment with this person, you are becoming. That there doesn't always need to be a repair and that community should not feel like walking on eggshells and this has so much to do with why I created the space I did, where we can celebrate each other's fuck ups and see them as opportunities for growth, where we can move beyond identifying strongly as the victim, allowing our traumas or our pain to identify us, but we can actively practice embodying these new sensations, allowing ourselves to feel the pain and the anger, but be resourceful enough to know that it is a feeling that's going to pass.

When we observe, when we allow ourselves to breathe and when we allow ourselves to feel what is coming up for us. And instead of feeling like we need to save the world from all of its suffering, what would it look like to just acknowledge that everybody is a sovereign being and as a healer, our role is not to heal anybody. It is to witness the healer within each and every single one of us. That's why I don't work with everybody. I am now very, very mindful of who it is. I surround myself with. Do these people light me up? If I fucked up, is this person going to call me in because they love me and they want to see me do better, but not in a way where it feels like they are wanting to take control of my life and my narrative, but that's like, hey, I celebrate you for doing this scary new thing and if it's okay, I would love to give you feedback just as a gift. You can take it or leave it. Like those are the kind of relationships I want to be in. Where I'm not ashamed or I don't feel guilty or blamed but where I can be seen as a human who genuinely makes mistakes. 

So what is on the opposite side of being the victim, villain, and the victor? So if you go on my Instagram you can see the real that I made, which breaks this down, but I want to talk about it on here. So there's the creative, challenger and the coach. What does that mean? Victims. Hello! Make great creatives. The creatives are the ones who can educate, who can inspire, who can dream of what this alternative can look like and create spaces for us to feel even more of that in our body. We are creating the very spaces we needed back when we were in our victim consciousness. Yes, we need to acknowledge these systems of oppression that have victimized many of us and our lived experiences. But also if these systems were created to make us feel this way, then what would it look like to create something that is basically an if you to that story that isn't ours.

So those who are the villains and I know that everybody is listening is probably denying the villain within them. Look, if you've ever blamed somebody for something, then you would probably be labeled as the villain. The victims and the villains oftentimes like their roles go can go hand in hand if the victim is blaming somebody else for the harm that was caused. So the villains medicine gets to be as the challenger, the one who expands our window of tolerance, the one who pushes us to our edge to meet these new parts of yourself that can feel scary.

And the victor's medicine can be as the coach is the one who cheers you on. Is the one who asked, okay, what is the kind of world you want to create? What is the kind of life you want to live? Great. How are you going to do that? How are you going to do that? And the Challenger is like, all right, I'm going to push you to do the very things that is you say you're doing so the creative, the challenger and the coach, how is it that we can embody more of these identities as we break out of the drama triangle of the victim, the villain and the victor. But the thing about the creative, the challenger and the coach is that these are relationships we actually consent to, we know that we're going to be triggered or activated. We know that we're going to be stretched beyond our comfort zones and we acknowledge that we're going to mess up in the process of it. But at least we have this team that is by our side. That's saying it's all good. All right, let's just continue improving and we're all going to mess up and stumble together. But guess what? We get to witness each other's flaws and we get to grow alongside one another versus feeling like we need to hold so many of these stories and these burdens to ourselves.

And while many of us may be fearful of putting ourselves out there or speaking our mind because we don't want to get canceled either. That just goes away because like the people who are caught up in that drama triangle, they're going to get bored of you. And I'm saying this from personal experience, okay. Where the moment that I just accepted, you know what, I'm problematic and I've experienced being canceled. How much worse can it be? It's like I had this beautiful opportunity to start fresh. It's when I hired my very first coaches and mentors and I just remember being in these rooms with people who had a lot more money than me who were older than me and didn't know anything about transformative, restorative, justice, blase blase blah. It's like they were just so laser focused on the legacies they were creating and I remember feeling so alone and out of place, but I now knew that I had to be in those spaces so that I can create the containers that I needed so that I could speak the language or use the same words and unapologetically share my values to people that get it that are wanting to also be stretched into the unknown.

So enter the coach. I'm a mixture of all three. We’re a mixture of all three. The creative, the challenger, and the coach. But you can only discover these new parts of yourselves when you release the victim, the villain and the victor. And so I ask you, what role are you going to choose and what relationships will you consent to, that will allow yourself to be stretched or that will allow these old parts of you to die. And maybe you already have these relationships in your life. If that's the case, take a moment to thank them. Thank them for annoying you. They're not always likeable, but it does come from a deep place of radical love. 

Oh, so to close out today's solo podcast episode, I thought it would only be appropriate for me to share that poem that unfolded into so much of the creator that I get to reclaim today and it's called, “Communities that I'm a Part of.” 

That I want to change the world community. That half as a vegetarian holding up a peace sign community. That artists creative, free spirited, collective seeking community. That you ain't doing enough to make a change community. That you're doing too much, slow it down community. That Asian American, let's get our people together community. That hip hop, neo soul, vibe in love, and all that's brown skinned conscious Africana community.

That Thai Buddha bless, an ancient temple, alms to the monks ancestral prayer community. That forgiveness for the Christians that said you're going to hell community. That healing community. That dreamer commuting to Los Angeles on the 405 510 101 traffic community. That I'm tired of being the ethnic girl but don't want to play white community. That long beach, culturally diverse community. That cycling of the police and expensive spandex let's ride or die community. That I ain't no hipster just because I ride a bike community. That spit your heart out through words that don't always have to rhyme community.

That seem to express, not to impress, don't need a record deal community. That independent community. That village of strong women who grew up tomboy and now embrace the LGBTQ community, yep. That queer community scarred by men and dare to be stronger community. Writing plays and prose about our woes community. Even one woman show community. Grassroots organizing, empowering the youth community. Won't admit sometimes, too broke to eat out community. Craigslist, job hunting community. Struggling community. Happy to have health and happiness, if not material wealth community. Flat chested, don't need implants community. That love your natural state community. That be yourself community. That I'm too afraid to commit to one community. Afraid of being hurt by community. That it's okay you're still learning community. That don't mistake company for community. That it's okay, times are tough, but we've got to hold it together through community. 

Thank you so much for listening to my story medicine. I encourage you to please share this episode with somebody who has maybe been caught up in the drama triangle and gets to know there's something else beyond that, there is something outside of that and we get to actively create that together.

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