Last weekend I chose discomfort over comfort. i chose the work of showing up in body and heart to hear stories, people’s stories, stories grounded in violent historical contextual stories. i chose the work of feeling my own story swirling and whirling within the interconnected complexity of all our stories. Last weekend I chose the Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers, Embodying Diversity and Inclusion workshop at the Tatamagouche Centre.
Last weekend I chose to share circle with white and black folks, people of color, indigenous folks, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, bisexual, multi cultural, multi religious folks; people struggling with invisible and visible mental and physical health issues; all of us holding an array of emotions: rage, sadness, grief, joy, gratitude, confusion, hate, love. All of us coming from various forms of violence: sexual, gender, racial, family, economic; violence we recognize deeply rooted within systemic institutionalized anti-black racial oppression, built on a firm solid scaffolding of slavery, colonialism, native genocide resulting in imposed supremacy and dominance in Canada and globally privileging white race and culture over all others.
As a white bodied folk I continue to learn the transformative possibilities of choosing discomfort over comfort when it comes to the work of breaking barriers and building bridges; when it comes to the work of recognizing that we too as white folks embody a race and that the work of disrupting, dismantling violent systems rooted in supremacy and domination is our work; it is our work to listen and to understand deeper and deeper the complexities of this stained and denied history that results today in institutional practices that intentionally and systematically oppress black and other dark bodied folks. i continue to learn that feeling guilt or shame is not as helpful as understanding that we have a lot of work to do.
I was in deep awe and respect of the other white bodied folks in circle last weekend as some of us held deeply raw, tender stories/experiences around sexual and gender-based violence; some of us living in bodies that do not match the beauty and exquisiteness of our souls; some of us dealing with a history of visible and mental health issues. Within this pain we recognized our own race privilege and power and we listened to stories and frameworks to deepen our understanding of a system built on white supremacy and domination.
I was in deep awe and respect for the black folks and people of colour in circle as they shared with courage and vulnerability their pain, hate, confusion, fear, rage; their love, joy, grace and humour. i was in awe of folks protecting themselves, walking away when feeling harm and/or potential of harm and then walking right back in again. I was deeply honoured for the stories shared and the opportunities to bear witness.
How do we keep showing up to this kinda work knowing none of us are unproblematic and that it takes work, hard arduous uncomfortable work to show up, to lean in, to walk away and then to come back, over and over come back again and again to build bridges, break barriers, embody diversity and inclusion and commit to action.
Fierce Gratitude to everyone!!!
Here’s to choosing discomfort over comfort in the name of radical personal and social transformation!