Guest Column: It Matters | Kathryn H. Ross: Let’s Talk About Trauma

first_imgOpinion & Columnists Guest Column: It Matters | Kathryn H. Ross: Let’s Talk About Trauma By KATHRYN H. ROSS Published on Friday, January 29, 2021 | 3:30 am 46 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Kathryn H. RossAt the Inauguration on January 20th, I watched along with the rest of the country as youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman recited her stirring poem, “The Hill We Climb.” Between being utterly gobsmacked with admiration for this young woman and mounting feelings of this momentous day, something Gorman said stuck out to me more than anything else: she simply said she was, “descended from slaves.”It was a quick moment in the fullness of her poem. It was a truthful statement—a simple fact. But it was also me. And my family. My black friends and teachers. Coworkers. Colleagues. Every Black American I know—we are all descended from slaves. The horror of slavery is in our collective past and, as such, in our DNA in some way. We carry what our ancestors went through, as all humans do. But some human lines carry more trauma than others.What I mean is this: being a person of color in America, of any color, means you have a background of profound trauma. Now hear me: this is not to say that White Americans do not have trauma. I have dear friends whose grandparents lived in Europe during the Holocaust, who were directly touched and changed by its horrors, who carry the trauma of the World Wars and mass genocide in their DNA. The difference is that the trauma of POC in America comes directly at the hands of America, and as Americans ourselves, it’s hard to face that we essentially grew up in an abusive household. With that said, many of us have more experience with deep-rooted trauma than others whether we know it or not. But this past year has acted as an equalizer in some ways, tossing us all into the deep end at once.Yes, the world saw Covid-19 descend like a trap and the death and disease that’s spread from it is not just an American trauma. But right here in America, we’ve had the pandemic and we’ve watched it disproportionately ravage black and brown people. On top of that, we’ve battled with profound racial unrest. We’ve watched murder and police brutality erupt across our states like a rampant rash. We’ve seen protests and riots and the glaringly different responses to each depending on the color of those doing the protesting or rioting. We’ve had the most tense and, for lack of a more eloquent word, bonkers election any of us have seen in our lifetimes. And the cherry on top of it all? Our Capitol was attacked by our own after months (years, really) of conspiracies, lies, and hate.I say this objectively.These people are born from and of America, and they turned on it in the name of some sick, twisted “justice” that called for a noose and the cross of Christ to be erected in the same hallowed space. It was disgusting. Lives were lost. It was the crescendo of what has felt like an extremely long and heavy-handed episode of The Twilight Zone. But I’m not here to talk about the insurrection. I’m here to talk about Trauma.About a year ago, I wrote a column where I broke down trauma as my therapist explained it to me: “trauma is the response to learning something you thought was true doesn’t match reality.” With this definition in hand, trauma expands far beyond what we normally associate it with: war, death, assault, abuse. Or maybe it’s more apt to say that the definitions of war, death, assault, and abuse are expanded to encompass the moments in life that are objectively less dangerous, but just as emotionally dramatic and harmful: a sudden and messy breakup with a dear friend, estrangement from a family member, the awakening of the double consciousness, loss of an opportunity you hoped for, loss of direction, loss of faith. However you see these events, they serve the same purpose: you learn something about your world you thought was true actually doesn’t match reality.What’s so troubling about this past year is that we’ve had several big “T” traumas alongside smaller traumas and the normal trials of everyday life. What some generations experience in (maybe) a lifetime, we’ve experienced in a single year, and there’s no clear end in sight: Mass death. Loss of normalcy, of routine and structure. What’s scariest of all is that we know this year has affected us and continues to, but we may not know the full extent of the trauma that’s been inflicted—not for many years, and maybe not ever.Oftentimes now I find myself wondering: what coping mechanisms are being formed right now? What crutches are we learning to lean on? Are we responding in healthy ways? Are we talking to each other? Are we crying? Are we letting the dust settle when a silent moment comes, or are we too busy hustling and grinding and distracting ourselves? Have we taken a moment to mourn all that we’ve lost and continue to lose, to just sit and let the reality of what’s happened wash over us, or are we collectively saying, “I’ll process this later,” if we even allow ourselves to process it at all?My therapist has often mentioned The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk to me to remind me that however I perceive trauma, i.e. whether I deal with it, understand it, or even know about it, my body is always affected.Our bodies hold trauma and make it part of ourselves, and it eventually comes out. It manifests in our brain chemicals and the aches in our hands, the anxiety rushing through our veins and the palpitations of our hearts. Like the rings of a tree record time, our bodies record trauma, and so much has been recorded in the last ten months.Note: Recorded, not necessarily processed.Processing takes intentionality while recording—well that’s just a natural response that’s going to happen whether we acknowledge it or not.I say all of this because I can only imagine how we’ve been changed, and I often wonder what we’ll be like after this, God willing.Personally? Maybe I won’t be able to watch the news anymore, at least not for more than a few minutes. Maybe I’ll always fear police officers, regard them with trepidation. Maybe I’ll feel the urge to just sit and cry at random moments. Maybe I won’t sleep well, waking up every night at the same hour to stare at the dark ceiling. Maybe I’ll never feel comfortable in public again, worried about everything from germs to whether or not the person I just locked eyes with is a white supremacist. Maybe my future children will grapple with anxiety that was never their own. Maybe the month of March will forever fill me with dread. Maybe I’ll weep with joy each time I hug someone or say a maskless hello.What about you? How do you think your trauma will show itself? Is it showing already? Have you already changed?At the end of each day, all I know for sure is that my body—all of our bodies—has been imbibed with extensive trauma this year and it will need to be dealt with. It will grow with me and change with me. It will alter my life and the lives around me. There’s no stopping the effects and consequences of the history we’re living through, but there is a choice: to process rather than just record—intentionally, healthfully, and relentlessly.We can choose to talk and cry rather than power through. We can make therapy more accessible and actually go. We can pray and commiserate. We can take moments of silence. We can be gentle with ourselves and slow down. We can rest. But will we?This year is still new and we don’t know what’s ahead, but can I invite you to make the choice to care for yourself? Can I invite you to feel and work through your trauma now so that it doesn’t steamroll you later? Some of us already have experience with trauma. Many of us carry the trauma our ancestors never got to process. But now that we know what we’re facing and what it can do, can we do something about it? For ourselves, our children?I hope we can. I hope we will.Mental Health Resources:Psychology TodayRose City CenterSGV CounselingLAistCrisis Text Line Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena More Cool Stuff Your email address will not be published. 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Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Community News STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Make a comment STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Subscribelast_img read more

A national perspective on climate change

first_imgA surprisingly large group of Americans are worried enough about global warming to take action on the issue, said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, during a Harvard talk on March 6.For more than a decade, Leiserowitz has been conducting polls to gauge the country’s attitude toward environmental issues. Some 20 million Americans, he said, responded late last year that they already had or definitely would join a campaign to persuade lawmakers to pass climate change laws. However, the movement lacks the organization of other activist efforts, he said.Five percent of Americans are worried enough that they “definitely would” engage in nonviolent civil disobedience against corporations or government bodies that were making global warming worse, Leiserowitz added.“Kind of stunning to me,” he said. “That 5 percent right there for all Americans, that’s about 13 million people that say they would do that. Wow.”The findings are among a range of insights on Americans’ views toward climate change from a series of surveys conducted by the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The most recent poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points, questioned 830 Americans age 18 and older. It was conducted from Nov. 23 to Dec. 9.Leiserowitz spoke at a Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) seminar called “Climate Change in the American Mind.” The event was sponsored by the Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program. Cristine Russell, a senior fellow with the program and an adjunct lecturer in public policy, responded to Leiserowitz’s presentation.Leiserowitz’s surveys provide a snapshot of public views on climate change. Affirmative answers to whether it is happening and caused by humans peaked in 2007 and 2008, then dipped, bottoming out in 2010. The most recent survey puts belief that climate change is happening and caused by humans at 47 percent.Many citizens misunderstand scientific consensus on the issue. Only four in 10 Americans believe that scientists agree that global warming is happening, Leiserowitz said. Opponents of action on climate change, he said, have been successful at casting doubt on the accuracy and extent of scientific consensus, which is 97 percent.The disconnect is a critical one, Leiserowitz said, because most people don’t have the time to become specialists themselves on such a complex problem and will generally defer to expert opinion. If people believe that scientists disagree among themselves on an issue, they are likelier to tune it out or accept alternate explanations, he said.The result, Leiserowitz said, is that most Americans view climate change as a problem distant in both time and space, one more likely to affect polar bears, glaciers, and ice caps than their own lives. They miss the more immediate connections to health trends and extreme weather.“It’s another of those issues we feel we’ll get to it later and put it on the back burner, not realizing that the pot is boiling over on the back burner,” Leiserowitz said. “It’s not about polar bears. It’s about us. It’s really about us.”last_img read more

Pandemic taking a toll on church finances as they keep parishioners safe

first_imgLike many churches, St. Anthony of Padua in Endicott had to close down during the pandemic. Once churches were able to open up at limited capacity, that’s where the real challenge began. “We’re doing our best to keep everyone safe,” said Deacon Matts. “We have a sign-in process where people can come and they can sign in after doing the phone registration. And out there we have the hand sanitizer again and masks for people who forget their masks.” Matts says they have resumed the full church schedule. You can register for a spot at one of the services by calling the church, since there is limited space available. ENDICOTT (WBNG) — In wake of two local churches seeing a positive case of COVID-19, St. Anthony of Padua says it’s taking extra safety precautions to make sure people are safe while keeping the faith. However, the pandemic has posed even more problems. With fewer people being able to afford donating money to the church recently due to financial hardship, St. Anthony’s has had to make more adjustments. Deacon of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph’s, Bill Matts, says his churches have been working around the clock to make sure they have proper safety measures in place. Not only does everyone wear a mask, but also every pew is wiped down between services multiple times. There is no choir and people are being seated far apart in the pews. “To help us, we’ve had to do cut backs in our office in our expenses, so that we can continue to provide the services for our parishioners as well as the community,” said Matts. “I think when people get back on their feet, I’m sure everything will be fine.”last_img read more

SeaRenergy and N-Sea Secure DolWin Alpha Work

first_imgA consortium of SeaRenergy and N-Sea has won a contract by TenneT for modification works to the jacket foundation of the HVDC platform DolWin alpha.The lead partner SeaRenergy is in charge of the engineering and design services, as well as the fabrication of clamps, which will be installed on each of the six jacket legs in order to increase the overall lifetime of the HVDC transmission system.Once SeaRenergy completes the trial of mockup test structures, N-Sea will provide subsea installation services using a dive support vessel (DSV) with a diving team and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).“This award is the culmination of months of hard work by the consortium team. We look forward to delivering the project with our partner and building on the cooperation and trust we have established with SeaRenergy,” N-Sea CEO Gerard Keser said.Located in the German Exclusive Economic Zone of the North Sea, DolWin alpha comprises five decks that rise 80m above the water surface.The platform connects offshore wind farms around 75km off the coast in the DolWin cluster with the country’s transmission grid.last_img read more

Despite record start, Orange now looking to prove legitimacy

first_imgFor the first 17 games of the season, everything seemed easy for Syracuse. It went up against opponents who were clearly not as skilled, and disposed of them without a problem. But once conference play started, things got tougher. Wins haven’t come as easily. And heading into the weekend, the Orange is going to look to prove what type of team it really is: Is it a Big East contender? Or just a non-conference bully? ‘I think the girls want to prove that they’re a good team,’ assistant coach Carol LaMarche said. ‘Starting off 1-2 in the Big East gets people talking that we aren’t as good as our (non-conference) record showed.’ After a 17-0 start, the best in program history, SU’s (18-2, 1-2 Big East) dominance hasn’t carried into its Big East schedule. The team is in a good position to turn things around this weekend, going up against two teams that are 0-3 against conference opponents this season in Connecticut and St. John’s.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text UConn has struggled overall, coming into Syracuse with a 2-12 overall record. And although it might be winless in conference, the Red Storm could be a tough challenge as it goes into the weekend 13-7. Despite having the best overall record in the Big East, the Orange’s success against conference opponents has been minimal. Syracuse’s lone conference victory came in a 3-1 win over Georgetown. Its first loss of the season came at the hands of South Florida. Then, SU had its worst game of the season in a 3-1 loss to Villanova. If the Orange could take any solace in its match against the Wildcats, it’s the fact that it didn’t necessarily lose because it wasn’t good enough. Really, SU beat itself, not getting to balls it should have been able to get to. ‘Not everything clicked the way it had been clicking,’ outside hitter Mindy Stanislovaitis said. ‘We just need to keep working on the things that happened this weekend and come out stronger.’ It’s obvious that the level of competition SU faced throughout its non-conference schedule was much lower. So low, in fact, that Syracuse played 10 straight games without losing a single set. Still, the Orange displayed an offense that looked to be capable of beating any opponent. But that hasn’t been the case. And that’s what the Orange will try to turn around this weekend. SU does have an advantage in that both of its next two games are at home. For the first time this season, the Orange will have the crowd behind it for a conference game. ‘It makes such a big difference,’ defensive specialist Sarah Hayes said. ‘When we’re on the road, we’re on a bus for six hours a day. It’s miserable, your body hurts, everything just isn’t right.’ Although it’s still early to start thinking seriously about winning the conference championship, there’s still some significance to this weekend. If SU loses both games, it’ll remain at the very bottom of the Big East, in a position that could be impossible to recover from. The best-case scenario would clearly be to take both games and head into next week with a 3-2 conference record. Also on the line for SU is getting into the top five in the conference, which would be an improvement over its current 10th-place position. Otherwise, Hayes said, SU could play itself out of contention. ‘Definitely teams we need to beat,’ Hayes said. ‘(Head coach) Jing (Pu) was telling us that this is crucial for us to get into the top five this weekend. If we don’t, then we won’t. And that’s where we need to be.’ For the first time this year, the Orange heads into a game with its back against the wall. Not so much because the Huskies are better, but because questions of the Orange’s true skill will linger. This isn’t a position SU is used to. At least not this season. But if the Orange wants to prove that it really is a good team, and deserves to be top five in the Big East, it will have to try to use that to its advantage. Especially if Syracuse wants to prove that it belongs in the conversation for conference contenders. ‘Just come out strong, that’s really what we need to do,’ Stanislovaitis said. ‘When it comes down to it, we’ve been underdogs in the Big East all four years I’ve been here. We need to take on that underdog mentality. That fighter mentality that we’re not going to let anybody roll over us.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on October 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemanlast_img read more