Rings of Fear, Rings of Grief

So, a ways back, I wrote a bit about the rings of grief — more properly, Susan Silk’s Ring Theory. Go ahead and click that link if you want to read that post, but really, the picture says it all.


This has been a guide that has stood me in good stead as I’ve sought to retreat less and less into my ignorance bubble, and I want to repost it here primarily for my readers who are White, who are able-bodied, who, at a glance, can or do ‘pass’ as the privileged group/s, with a plea: model your actions and your words, seek your support networks, with this image in mind.

I’m terrified. I’m terrified for too many loved ones to count, POC, people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, anyone and everyone who is not cis, straight, white, and male has something to fear, and this is very valid. I’m terrified for the girl-child (who, despite being closer to 30 than to 20, is still referred to as the girl-child) in a city that is experiencing on outbreak of racist vandalism, who is clear across the country, and refusing to cower at home despite being a woman of color.I’m terrified for myself, and for Beth, though we’re in a super liberal area, and we face more with her losing her healthcare than we face by being two women living together. I’m scared that something will happen, and we won’t be able to help the daughter. I’m just scared.

I won’t pretend otherwise.

But I’m also not going to look toward people who are in more danger than I am, to express my fear to them, to ask them to make me feel better or even for them to commiserate with me. That the bits and pieces of my ‘otherness’ can be optional for me (it makes my stomach churn, and it disgusts me, but I’d be lying if my first thoughts after the results were announced did not go to ‘how can I blend in better if I need to?’) means that I inherently have more privilege, and thus less danger, and the burden of my fear is my own to bear, not theirs.

Look to your peers. Look to those who suffer or could suffer in the same way, to a similar degree. Shore one another up, and offer your support inward. Do not demand that those who have less to give, give more.

I’m terrified — but  I’m not going to get jumped in the street because of my skin. My scarf is probably not going to get pulled from my head, because of my skin. I’m female, and nothing I do can really hide that, but I’m also white.

Those closer to the center of that circle? They need our support, and further more, they get to dictate how those needs are to be met.


4 thoughts on “Rings of Fear, Rings of Grief

  1. Pingback: After the Election: Some Words for Those Feeling Helpless | whiskey and incense

  2. Hi Jolene,

    This is off topic….

    I’ve been reading your and River’s blogs for years and chiming in occasionally.

    This is just a quick not to say thank you for something you did awhile back and that you still discuss on here periodically… and that is getting on medication for mental health. Long story short, I’ve finally given in and am now starting my first course of meds. It’s only day two, but one is already helping a lot. So I just wanted to say thanks for being authentic, vulnerable, honest, and open about this issue with your readers. It’s helped more than you can imagine….

    Btw, love the new shop and shop name. Sea bunnies? SQUEEE….I’m thinking you guys should ad sea bunny shop shirts! I’d buy it!

    Best regards to you and the whole family. 🙂


    • Thank you so much for this. I hope the medication regimen works for you. If it doesn’t, please don’t be discouraged. I’m incredibly lucky that I’m responding so well to the first one this doctor tried. We did have to go up a strength, too, so it did need tweaking around. I really do not recognize myself some days, and it’s heartbreaking to think, I could always have felt like this? This is how people who are not depressed feel?

      Sea bunnies are so cute. So cute. Am actually working on a design. I hadn’t thought of a shirt, but dayum. I’d buy the heck out of that, now that you mention it!

      Best of luck to you, and YAY for getting the help you need. Mental health is important, it’s part of our body, and I fucking hate how much stigma is associated with it. It’s incredibly brave and awesome, to address this. So HOORAY for you.

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