I have shown up perfectly zero percent of the time. One of my lifetime burdens is unlearning this desire for perfection. Perfect is not possible.

This past week I have done some digging into trauma-informed care and am looking forward tomorrow’s day one of our Behavioral Health Summit for Kody Russell, MSW, Executive Director of Kitsap Strong to talk to us about trauma-informed care. I’ve read that the foundation, as outlined by our Federal agencies, is that trauma is so widespread that one can assume a person’s behavior is a coping strategy developed because of past trauma. Our current pandemic and economic repercussions are traumatic. Racism is traumatic. Poverty is traumatic.

I recommend watching Oprah Winfrey’s 60 Minutes special on Treating Childhood Trauma. She says one of the life-changing lessons she took away from the report is learning to ask, “what happened to you.” This simple question forced her to unlearn her previous assumptions. Trauma-informed care forces you to unlearn that a person is always behaving rationally. 

The process of unlearning is lifelong. One of the other aspects I am building into our work this year is cultural humility. This comes out of a need to move away from the idea of cultural competence that implies a static state of mastery and toward the idea of a continuous process of self-questioning, like hiking up a mountain with no summit. So much of the process of cultural humility is aligned with work to be antiracist. For me, work to be antiracist is like being a person who runs. I do not identify as a runner, but I am a person who periodically runs and as I run all I can think about is that running is hard. Sometimes I hurt myself. Sometimes I would rather never have to exercise again and just float around on a perpetual Zoom call like the people in Wall-E (which feels a little too close to home at the moment). To be anti-racist one must continuously do the work. This is a process and the process can be hard.

I think we must teach ourselves to enjoy the struggle – that through striving we find our humanity. I so appreciate folks pointing out my blind spots – a person that I greatly respect responded to last week’s post that I should also include class and wealth in my list of people who our medical system disempowers. They are right!

I am still learning, and growing, and running up that hill.

Ginny Weir, MPH
Director, Bree Collaborative