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I am a Cuban-American daughter of immigrants. Raised to believe America was the promised land. A land flowing with milk & honey. A land that hated communists, and if you know anything about Cuban-Americans, hating communists is as close to godliness as you can get. We came with nothing, we “earned” everything. We re-made ourselves. We scoffed at anyone who couldn’t “make it” in America. Immigrants are hard people. Hard people who believe in boot-strap theory more than almost anyone else.


I love my heritage, I love our music, our food, the loudness of our talk, the Spanglish that we weave, the “visitas” that last until 1 am for no good reason. The smell that fills the house of onions and garlic and the stews that fill your insides with warmth. I love the kisses and the dances and the depth of love we have for each other.


When I left my family bubble, I found the rest of the country not so in love with all of us. It was too loud, too “spicy”, too sensual, too late, too aggressive….too everything. We came to this country to succeed. Succeed I MUST. My family’s pride rested heavy across my shoulders. Succeed I MUST. Up went my Enneagram 3 spidey senses. The senses that helped me know what success looks like in any environment I enter. To succeed here, I must be ashamed of myself, my culture, my ways, my body. I must contort to “the norm” and maybe then I will find a seat at the table.


I did. I worked my ass off for a seat at the table, and when I got there, it was disappointing to say the least. I couldn’t have named it at the time, but in learning the “structures” of white supremacy and learning what a brown woman must do and not do to be accepted by whiteness I had to sacrifice my power for position. It was watered down power, but it was mine. It was success in image only (imaginary) but it was mine. Uphold the status quo, play the game, get yours. Send money back to family in Cuba, make sure your kids have a better life than you did - the immigrant dream. Succeed I MUST.


I could see the racial biases, even in my own culture. The way lighter skinned Cubans sneered and called darker-skinned Cubans derogatory terms. I never felt comfortable with it…but I never spoke up, I never called it out. Survival mode doesn’t leave much room for caring about the plight of others. The weight of success didn’t afford me the margin to carry other’s burdens. My own oppression was my “get out of jail free” card when it came to my complicitness in racism. I cared, but I couldn’t be bothered. It was wrong, but I had no time to stop it.


Slowly over time, through the deep and beautiful relationships, I was blessed to have with several Back women, I began to awaken. As I continued my Enneagram studies and realized we are all ONE, and the pain and oppression inflicted on one is inflicted on us all, I began to feel uncomfortable with moving through life as I had. As I engaged in deeper self-compassion and courage to look at my shadow side, the layers began to fall away.


Jumping into action I decided to fix it.

I, ME, ALONE would FIX THIS.

I could. I just knew I could.

I did some performative allyship. (As we all do at the beginning)

Got called out. Realized what an idiot I was being.

Dug into the inner work.

Felt completely crushed by it all.

Picked myself up.

Kept going, kept listening, kept looking within.


I confronted white friends & family.

I worked hard to hold space for Black friends.

I wrote.

I wept.

I was just FLYING, spinning, swirling.


Until, I couldn’t.

I was seeing white supremacy EVERYWHERE and starting to realize….maybe I couldn’t fix it…and also, maybe I had also been wounded by it, all my life.

Maybe, in ways I had never realized before, I was not only fighting this for OTHERS, but for myself as well.

And maybe, being a “brown-skinned girl” who is not Black, but certainly not white, who feels shame for upholding white supremacy and also shame for never being white enough to have real white power. Maybe, all that shame, all that hate, all that external and internal oppression was building up. It was not being fully felt or processed - and if I didn’t stop, and heal, and surrender to the pain (which, I am learning is very different from “managing” it) I could see so clearly, I would bleed on those who never cut me. I will become a greater part of the problem rather than a solution.


Unhealed individuals cannot heal.

Individuals full of hate can not spread love.

Shame induced allyship will break down in a nasty way.


This poem is a reflection on my journey of “being a bridge”.

The need I had to re-humanize and re-connect to myself.

The tension of my life experiences.


It’s a confusing place to be.

Not Black.

Not White.

Oppressed.

The oppressor.

Shamed by others.

Shamed by yourself.


Freedom lies on the other side of love.

I journey on.



Be the Bridge


Be the bridge they said

There’s hurting people on both sides


Stand in the gap

Hold the space

Let the tension pull you from both sides


But don’t break


So I stretched

Beyond my white fragility

Pushing the limits of my mental capacity.


I absorbed stories

I wept

I took a look at the ugliness within


I realized how I had become part of the problem

Upholding, out of fear that which oppresses us all

Attempting to leverage my brownness into pseudo power


Believing I had not the luxury to care

Survival, numbing my empathy, and blinding my awareness


Be the bridge they said

And when whiteness asks you where you’re from

And when whiteness assumes they know your story

Because of your dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin


And when they reduce

And when they dehumanize

And when they fetishize

And when they act surprised at your wit and wisdom

And when they give you a “seat at the table" but you are not taken into account.


Your words bearing no more weight than a feather floating through the window

Your screams holding no more volume than a whisper


So I stretched

Contorting myself to their expectations

Shrinking down my bigness

My boldness, my hips, my sass


Be the bridge they said

And I was…

But the cracks started widening

Person by person walking across

as I stretched and held my breath

Will this be the day I break?


The hate aimed at me from outside

Combined with the hate I felt for myself

Destabilized my very internal structure


Be the bridge they said…

But they never told me how to begin

They never told me how to rehumanize

They never told me that I needed a cleanse of hate

They never fortified me with self-compassion

They never told me how to confront the voices that stripped me of my dignity,


They never….


I never….


I never felt safe enough to rehumanize

I never allowed myself to cleanse from the hate

I never received self-compassion

I never confronted the voices that stripped me of my dignity.


Be the bridge they said….

Support yourself, with

Steel beams of SELF LOVE running through your core.

Cement compounds of standing in your GLORY filling every crack.

Cable wires of TRUTH pulled tight by embodied healing holding you secure.


Be the bridge.

Read more from Vanessa and follow her story on Instagram: @theenneagramworkshop

So many emotions

So many tears

So much joy and laughter

I'm living beyond my fears

I marched in the '60s

as a little Justice Warrior

I stayed the course of love and truth

and survived to turn this corner


You have no way of knowing what this day means to me

You have no way of sharing the pain to set me free

And still, I stand in the stark light of my truth, my reality

Knowing that the road ahead is steeped with bigotry

Maya whispers in my ear “this is your time to fly”

I rise up as she would have me do to keep a watchful eye


The battle is not yet over and you have a role to play

Pick up God’s full armor and report in for love this day

For God has chosen me to be a leader in this space

I accept this anointing and ease gently into place. 

The seeds of hatred and bigotry will not thrive in my soul

I choose the path of love and light and do as I am told

For God so loved the world that He gave His only son

Who am I to question that He chose me and you to complete what must be done


On this day I choose love, as it has been my place to thrive

I choose love when I know that somehow I must rise

I choose love when you reject me

And Spirit whispers to my soul

This is your time

This is your place

Prepare yourself

love wins this race


- Deborah Egerton


Greetings all!


We've been cultivating our new online experience and we would love to hear from our community. Our mission is to bring Dr. Egerton's knowledge & wisdom to the world through easily accessible online content.

We invite you to take a stroll through our new site DeborahEgerton.com and let us know what you would like to see more of, unexplored topics of interest you'd like Dr. E to address, features we should add to our website, and anything else that's on your mind.


We are so excited to be able to share Dr. E's wisdom on a fully inclusive and open platform for all people to access. You can contact us through the site or send messages to our Creative Team here: https://www.deborahegerton.com/contact-us


We look forward to hearing from you!

-The Creative Team at DeborahEgerton.com



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