Being mixed can be an incredibly isolating experience.
Think about it: as mixed people, we aren’t guaranteed to know other mixed people. We might be the only mixed person in our school or in our town. It’s also extremely common to be the only mixed person in your family (especially if you’re an only child).
On top of that, as mixed people we can experience a lot of rejection. Even from family members.
A lot of my clients don’t feel like they can bring their whole self into family dynamics. They feel like they have to push for their family to see them more fully. Some even have to defend themselves against family members who criticize or tease them about their skin tone, for instance.
In these cases, it’s really important that you can develop a nurturing community beyond your family of origin or chosen family.
Having relationships where you feel seen, nurtured and celebrated first and foremost is extremely validating.
When you aren’t hearing your experience reflected back to you through conversations with others it’s hard to make sense of it all. And when we can’t identify the external things shaping our experience, we tend to internalize it.
I find a lot of mixed people are surprised when they realize that a key source of their suffering and insecurity is actually related to their mixed identity. Even when people are aware of how their mixed identity impacts their confidence and ability to connect with others, it’s still a huge relief when you realize that you other people feel just like you do.
Recreate a Different Experience
I know from my work with clients that you might already feel exhausted by your many experiences of being microaggressed and rejected. You might not believe that you could ever feel satisfied by a community a friends. You don’t want to put yourself out there only to have it happen again.
But the truth is that not everyone is going to reject you. In fact, the right people will definitely not reject you.
When we see the world from the lens of “everyone is going to reject me” it makes it hard to really soak in when the opposite is happening. But if you can keep your eyes peeled for it, you can give your body a new experience and create a new story for yourself.
Get Out There
I notice sometimes that getting out there can be difficult, because people are waiting to be accepted by the people that are already in their lives. But I promise you that building community hits different when you stop waiting for your family - or others who have proven that they aren’t worthy of your attention - to accept you.
And when you feel like you have a community of people who got your back, then interacting with your family feels different too. You can choose how you engage with them, how deep you go with them, because you know you have other relationships that meet other needs.
Help is Here
If you want to process the grief that naturally comes up when you refocus your efforts to connect OR if you’re curious about or ready to build nurturing community I’d be honored to hold as much space as you need to move through this.
There are a few ways we can work together:
Individual Therapy: I support mixed race clients on a number of issues. I’m a trauma specialist by training, and help my clients not only reshape their lives in the face of racialized trauma, but other sources of trauma as well.
Individual Coaching: Coaching is targeted support focused on identity and belonging, and is open to anyone regardless of location.
Mindful Mixer: A free monthly event where we come together and practice mindfulness in community. A great opportunity to meet other mixed people and feel validated in your shared experiences.
Rooted This Year: A workshop for mixed folks, interracial couples, and other inbetweeners who want to handle family conflict without losing your sh!t over the holidays! Live on November 16, 2023 and then the replay will be available!