It can sometimes feel challenging to be in your body when emotions that are difficult to hold such as anger, grief, shame or even ecstasy are present. We may find ourselves lost in our thoughts OR we may experience feelings of dissociation, a foggy feeling or a sense of “checking out”; or maybe you dissociate inward and close off the outer world, retreating into your own thoughts. Many of us have been conditioned to do this when uncomfortable feelings are present because these feelings were not safe to exhibit in childhood. Maybe we were yelled at or punished when we cried or expressed emotion; perhaps our parents exhibited extreme anger and we had to suppress our own.
If you are in a white body, there’s another ancestral layer to consider. Our culture, in the US, is one built upon white bodied, colonizer supremacy and this dissociation is something that is passed down through the generations. Even those who have not directly experienced abuse do this. Ressma Menakem writes,
“Throughout the United States’s history as a nation, white bodies have colonized, oppressed, brutalized, and murdered Black and Native ones. But well before the United States began, powerful white bodies colonized, oppressed, brutalized, and murdered other, less powerful white ones. The ca