I consider myself to be a spiritual person. I do not follow a specific religion or dogma, although I was raised Catholic, but allow myself to wonder and question what others believe so that I may expand my knowledge of the world. My journey began during my sophomore year of college when drastic, life-changing events occurred that forced me to challenge what I perceived as "faith". I wanted to explore what normally made me uncomfortable. Thus, after many trips to bookstores, libraries and friends' houses my room became stuffed with literature on everything from Hinduism and Buddhism to Wicca and Native American Shamanism. I thought that by opening myself to other beliefs I would find answers to my daily issues and long-term struggles. I thought that this was the key to making me a better, more approachable person. I've mostly kept this as a secret from everyone outside my immediate friends so this is my bearing my soul to you.

After all the trials I went through, I was exhausted and thirsting for clarity about my life. I discovered many beautiful truths in these books, along with certain practices that made me cringe, but I don't regret the path I took. In fact, I can honestly say that because of changing my spiritual system I am happier and more driven to succeed in life than I ever have been before. But as the months came, so did the political chaos of the 2016 election. The downward spiral was happening outside my little bubble of routine. In the beginning, I did not think it was a big deal, or that it would affect me at all, so I chose not to pay attention (which was my first mistake), but that quickly became untrue as I noticed my minority, immigrant, indigenous and LGBTQ+ friends suffering from blatant oppression and ridicule at the hands of conservatives.

I admit that I was stuck in an emotionally tumultuous medium as I tried to figure out how to protest the injustice happening around me without the risk of being shunned by my family or compromising my spiritual practice (this was my second mistake). A few weeks after election night, my old friend, and college roommate, sent me an article that made my hearth both spark with curiosity and race with panic: 6 Ways Spiritual Thinking Can Reinforce Oppression and Racism.

I knew that the only reason she would send this article was due to the false safety of escapism that I allowed my spirituality to become. I created a wall of separation between me and those I was trying to help instead of opening my mind's eye and realizing that I was at fault with all 6 examples of subconscious spiritual oppression listed in the article. My third mistake was reading it, but never admitting that the way I was living was wrong.

Nearly two months later, I revisited the article to remind myself that humility is the foundation to making a difference in my life and that if I truly desire to resist the pressure of a greedy, capitalist, patriarchal, appropriating society it was time for me to tell the world that my own subconscious spiritual oppression ends now, and to sincerely apologize to anyone who has felt that from me. I do not wish to be known as the basic white girl who poses with an "aesthetic" spiritual lifestyle that they post on social media to garner attention. My spirituality includes self-care and compassion for those hurting. My spirituality includes solidarity with oppressed people and lands.

It's been a tough change, one that has sometimes caused conflicts with my family and close relationships, but it's a necessary one. I do confess that I am not a perfect human being, but I am not going back to the way I used to be. I refuse. I have big dreams that I'm aiming to accomplish this year and I'm determined to push past anything that gets in my way. I am part of a generation that is breaking down barriers and exposing the truth behind the lies that society has programmed into us for too long.

So, I will finish with this message: We are the seekers. We are the light-bringers. We are the warriors awakening to our highest potential.