Letter writer: Learning to stand in one’s truth

Nicole Townsend

I’ve been told that I am “too sensitive” and that I “take things to heart too much.” Until recently, I’ve always felt as if my sensitivity was a negative thing. After much self-reflection, I now have a great sense of gratitude for my sensitivity. I internalize the hurt of others on a daily basis, and sometimes it is debilitating. But this is my role. This is me.

Sunday, Sept. 25, I stood in a green space across from the entrance of the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, standing in solidarity with Charlotte Uprising. I held the hands of two folks I did not know, and we looked into the eyes of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers. They were dressed in riot gear. Almost directly in front of me stood two female police officers: one white and one black. Those women stood out to me. I don’t know much about energies, but I believe I felt their energy.

I must note that when I learned the history of how and why police/patrols organizations were formed, I felt numb. I do not consider myself to be anti-police. However, I refuse to pretend that police organizations in America are just. I will not paint a beautiful picture because social media has been used to idolize police who hand out ice cream and play basketball games. The disgusting truth is that police organizations are laced with folk who are bigots who crave a sense of power. Bigots who would love nothing more than to unleash their rage on the very people whom they harbor so much hate for.

The two police officers — I felt their energy. Two black men yelled at these women in a way that allowed them to know just how angry they were, and rightfully so. Suddenly, the attention was focused primarily on the black police officer. A few things that I heard: “Oh, you got dreads, you must be from the hood.” “You think if you kill someone, the police will protect your black self?” I can’t remember much that was said. I do remember the words continuing to focus on her lack of support for the black community because she made the decision to side with the opposition — in this case, the opposition being the police force. I could see the hurt in her eyes.

My gut told me to stand between the two police officers and the protesters. At that moment, I did not see two police officers. I saw two little girls who had dreams of making a difference — growing up to “protect.” My inner nurturer wanted so badly to hug the little girls who were still within those women.

I did not do what my gut was telling me to do. There are a few reasons why I did not move from my spot: I could not bring myself to interfere with someone’s freedom of speech; I was afraid of what folks might have thought about me, said to me/about me; and, worse case, what folks might have done.

Instead of standing in my truth, I stood there and I cried. It took every bit of strength that I had in me to not fall to the ground and cry. I looked one of the women in the eyes, placed my hand over my heart and tapped it two times; she nodded with acknowledgement. I know that was not enough. That is not the equivalent of looking them both in the eyes and telling them that “I am sorry that the two little girls who wanted to save they world had to grow up to become women who work for a system that is unjust.” I’ve always prided myself on standing for women, and even more so, black women. That day, I felt as if I had done neither.

This represents the love that I did not share. It represents the fear that I let win. It represents all that I am not. It may take a very long time for me to forgive myself. Standing in one’s truth has nothing to do with other people — it has all to do with fulfilling our purpose. That of which I run away from each time I don’t stand in truth.

— Nicole Townsend
Filmmaker, writer and community organizer
Asheville

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21 thoughts on “Letter writer: Learning to stand in one’s truth

  1. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    What a poisoned, dysfunctional mind a progressive education gave you..

    • Lulz

      Diversity + Proximity = War. Think about that because that’s what is coming. Diversity is not “our” strength. It’s the undoing of the fabric that holds the nation together. Merely because the left us using it as a proxy to attack whites. There is not turning back now as people like the LTR double down on stupidity along with countless others who think turning the country into a 3rd world hellhole where only whites are subjugated to laws and standards and everyone else is absolved from them continues. I have nothing in common with them nor do I view them as my fellow countrymen.

      • huhsure

        Thanks for clarifying, Lulz. I love how Trump is empowering people like you to give full air to their most vile thoughts. Now I think many will have a clearer picture of your motivations. Thank you.

  2. The Real World

    In the first third of this letter I thought, ‘hhmm, I think I know what may be going on here’. And when I was finished reading, I thought it even more so. Nicole, I hope you’re reading this.

    These are the statements of a depressed person (I know several so am familiar with how they view things):

    “I internalize the hurt of others on a daily basis, and sometimes it is debilitating.” — “learned the history of how and why police/patrols organizations were formed, I felt numb.” — “My inner nurturer wanted so badly to hug the little girls who were still within those women.” —- there are more.

    Empathy sounds different. It evidences an understanding of pain or suffering or struggle but in a more balanced, lucid way. Life is utterly full of difficulty (always has been) so when a person is feeling psychologically debilitated by it, it’s really important to consider that something else is going on. Fortunately, there is much help available. Nicole, please consider this and I wish you the best.

    • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

      Unfortunately, universities now promote this kind of destructive narcissistic self-indulgence as being normal.

      • Deplorable Infidel

        YES.. all government screwls have this agenda! Get YOUR children OUTTA there as FAST as you CAN! Government DEPENDENCE is the agenda in GOVERNMENT SCREWLS !

      • bsummers

        This is not the place for comments about Donald Trump, or his short-lived “University”.

    • Anon

      Don’t listen to this Nicole – nothing is wrong with you. You are learning your empathy in a sick society and don’t let them tell you something is WRONG. You are beautiful and moving forward with heart and grace.

  3. Mitch

    Nicole, way to take a chance, by acknowledging your feelings to the officers & writing your letter, & stand in your truth by doing so! More of us need to do so & see the beauty in others being vulnerable. Keep it up & you’ll lead a richer life!!

  4. bsummers

    Thank you, Nicole, for sharing this experience and your insight. Don’t let the local anonymous trolls discourage you from speaking from the heart.

  5. Deplorable Infidel

    yes, Nicoie is a true victim of government screwls where they instill LOW self esteem to keep the underclass down as that is what the
    leftwing progressives need to take over the country to loss of freedoms…hillary wants your GUNS soon!

  6. Anon

    You are a beautiful person Nicole. Thank you for being here and doing the hard work that most trolls can’t even fathom. Sending you much love!

  7. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    I went back and read this letter, and to my surprise realized that it was not what I thought. So many times I just skim read this stuff thinking that this is just more of the same BS talking points repeated over and over. Boy was I wrong this time.

    Nicole, I have to commend you for the inward stance you took towards two human beings, and the self honesty to admit your perceived failings. It does take courage to stand against the crowd, and for even wanting to do that I respect and admire you. So please forgive me for misjudging you. And btw, be true and honest with yourself, but don’t be hard on yourself. Self forgiveness is your healing.

    • bsummers

      So you called this brave young woman a “poisoned, dysfunctional mind” without even having read what she wrote first?

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        Can’t YOU read what I wrote? I skimmed it and picked up certain things like

        “I refuse to pretend that police organizations in America are just”

        and

        “The disgusting truth is that police organizations are laced with folk who are bigots who crave a sense of power. Bigots who would love nothing more than to unleash their rage on the very people whom they harbor so much hate for.”

        and reflexively said, ‘Oh brother. Here we go again.’

        • Peter Robbins

          Give yourself permission to blame your ineptitude on gubmint screwls.

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