Creating your life, your own Fresh Tracks, requires you to live your life intentionally. During these crazy times it may seem even more difficult than usual to live intentionally let alone thrive! It may take all you’ve got to simply survive during a global pandemic, navigating the curve balls continually thrown your way. Forging Fresh Tracks requires embracing what is yours to do in all aspects of your life. Developing into the fullness of who you truly are requires this. Stay alert! The work may come in different directions than you expect.
The last several months I have found myself broken open in pain at the state of our country.
I stay home while witnessing everyone’s lives disrupted. Death, injustice, and fear surround me. Watching destruction, riots and police brutality on television and social media has me on edge. Feeling the fear and anger in people when I leave my house to grocery shop can still be overwhelming.
And now we are faced with such difficult decisions. How do we safely bring our children back to school? How can we keep our economy flowing long-term and keep ourselves safe? Are the very structures of our society based on racism and injustice? I see our country divided and growing angrier by the minute. It leads me back to the question, what is mine to do? How do I lean-in to this tumultuous time in the world and be “more fully me”?
I ask myself these questions and of course, the answer appears… In the form of “Karen” memes and videos.
Karen and her impact
Karen is a middle age white woman (like me). The recent spike in “Karen” video’s and memes have become famous for their “shameless displays of entitlement, privilege, and racism – and their tendency to call the police when they don’t get what they want” according to a recent article on Time.com.
I researched Karen and found some interesting information to share about white women and privilege.
The Karen meme started in 2017 and was originally making fun of white women with bad haircuts and a sense of entitlement, asking, “Can I speak to the manager?” Karen now represents the history of entitlement and victimhood of white women, which goes back to the era of American slavery.
With the recent world-wide protesting, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and repeated video recordings of police brutality, my attention turns to myself. The topics are so enormous it’s easy for me to watch powerlessly from my living room. To freeze in overwhelm. There is nothing I can do to change such grand, cultural norms. Does protesting and rioting even help? In the middle of the white suburbs of North America, I feel completely lost in my ability to make even the smallest of impacts.
What I can do is learn more about how Karen came to be and reflect on when and if I have ever Karen-ed my way in life to get what I want.
Black slaves were viewed as sexual threats to the pure and wholesome white women of their day. Because of this, black slaves became easy targets. White men demonstrated their power over the slaves and protected the helpless women in society. White women exerted power and control by being helpless victims in their lives. Portraying black men as out of control, sex ravaged beasts allowed both white men and women to rationalize violence towards black men or anyone else who threatened their power.
When we see Karen in a video, threatening to call the police and bringing up a person’s race, as we saw Amy Cooper do in “The Central Park Karen”, we are essentially seeing white women being violent themselves. In the way of entitled white women.
History shows a pattern of white women portraying themselves as a victim and using “victimhood” to their advantage.
Bringing ourselves back to living the fullest expression of ourselves that we can, take time to evaluate how you show up in life. Give yourself space for introspection and correlation to how, individually, each of us can relate to what is going on the world today.
Take some time and look at your life. Examine where you may be stuck or experience unwanted repeated patterns. How does being a victim serve you? Where have you, whether consciously or not, remained in a victim pattern? Let’s look at some examples of how this shows up today:
- Not having enough work to support yourself.
- Always in bad relationships.
- Consistent friend drama.
- A habit of being late and always having an excuse. “I’m late because the train was late and then I had to wait forever for the elevator”.
- Always getting the worst projects at work.
Victimhood boils down to having an external locus of control rather than an internal locus of control. An external locus of control means you blame other people for what’s happening in your life, or to you, rather than taking ownership of it. There is a difference in being a victim to a tragic event in life and having a victim mentality. When you have a victim mentality a “woe is me” attitude runs the show and you feel life is unfair.
There are benefits to being a victim. And this is the part that has been brought down through the ages…
- You get attention
- People feel sorry for you
- You have an interesting story to tell
- You get what you want
- You don’t have to take responsibility for your life
How does having an internal locus of control tie back into racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and making a difference in the world?
Understanding where Karen comes from can allow us to examine how it may show up in our own lives. I have never called the police on someone because I didn’t get my way. I have never threatened someone because they are black. I bet most of us haven’t. And yet, some of the underlying characteristics of victimhood and doing whatever it takes to get our way still exist. Our society and its systems, which were created many years ago, still exist. The extremeness of the Karen memes can make it easy for us to say, “that’s not me” and not take a deeper look at the issue.
Addressing these issues does not require specific political beliefs or a strong opinion of the Black Lives Matter movement. It requires you to be open and take an honest look at yourself, your past, and your automatic responses to situations.
What is mine to do?
When I get overwhelmed there is a predominant feeling that there is either too much to do and I can’t do it, or I don’t know where to start. I have spoken with many people who want to do something. Take some sort of action, but don’t know where to start. If, like me, you experience this, try out one or several of these ideas…
- Start with some research on the topic itself. In this instance it’s racism, but it can be anything. Learn more about it – not from your Facebook friends, but from reliable sources. Be open to seeing what you may not have noticed before. Watch movies. Read books. Listen to podcasts.
- Engage in conversation. For example, a book club or a discussion group.
- Do your inner work. Examine your role in racism. When have you watched or been a bystander? When have you participated? Have you ever had a Karen moment? Maybe you haven’t called 911 and invented false emergencies, but you’ve used your powers to intimidate and get your way.
- Ask yourself, “What is mine to do?” Continuously throughout the process.
What is mine to do often starts with understanding the situation and ourselves. And then looking at life knowing we are all One. That we are connected to each other. And it’s from this place that we create our lives.
There is innate power we access when we understand and harness the understanding that we are all One. We become and interact with love. There is also the option to create from the force of intimidation and privilege. Both options work. One is much easier and facilitates growth over the other.
Dissecting both the healthy and unhealthy aspects of our families, our upbringing, our ancestors, may give us permission to let go of what holds us back. There are so many aspects to each of us, peeling off the layers of who we are not is a major part of revealing the truth of who we are. Of expressing our true nature. Of living our lives more fully by embodying the truth of who we are. We are love. We are powerful beings of light. We are co-creators in an unlimited, abundant Universe.
And because of this each of us, individually, is called to do this work now.
About Kelly Robbins
Kelly Robbins, MA, is the lead Spiritual Practitioner at Center for Spiritual Living Boulder Valley in Colorado. She is the author of “Trust Your Next Step: Creating the Confidence to Cut Fresh Tracks” and produces the “Fresh Tracks” podcast. Kelly believes that by living your divine purpose, approaching life as a fun adventure, and trusting your next step we can all achieve the goal of creating our own Fresh Tracks. Ready to cut your Fresh Tracks? Connect with the coach, author and teacher and get the 10 Secrets to Creating Your Fresh Tracks here now.