Today I finished my week away from social media in respect of the request for quietness on these otherwise busy channels. The #Amplify Melanated Voices challenge asked that we make space for black speakers, activists and leaders to be heard during this time. While my following is small and my impact negligible, I took the opportunity to live the values of my business and took the challenge anyway.
What I found during my week of silence and reflection was a deep sense of communal despair. I was surprised by the number of people who had been triggered by something during this time and that this memory was associated with a sense of shame and led to a great mourning – something that often took them by surprise. I had this same experience myself. My response was visceral and overwhelming. I sat in this experience as a way of purging this negativity from myself at the most cellular level. I can’t help but feel this was exacerbated by the pain and grief that has been compounding as the protests which started in America, and are now seen across the world, have grown and exposed us all to the realities of systemic racism. Particularly as we learn and start to understand our contribution to this, especially when our contribution has been denial and inaction.
I also used this opportunity last week to learn how to knit. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I own a fabric and yarn store with my sister – I don’t sew, knit or crochet. I do this as an act of love! I usually spend Fridays there and I’m always comforted by the wonderful sense of community and friendship that envelopes ever corner of the store. This space is filled with women who come together over a common love of creating and sharing. I was finally compelled to share in this experience and find something to do that helped create those quiet moments. With the promise of knitting being a soothing and rhythmic mindfulness practice, I decided to give it a go.
What I have learnt through these experiences last week is that learning something new, whether it be a skill or a truth is hard. Its uncomfortable, it’s confronting, and it exposes our weakness and vulnerabilities to those around us. It sits in our bodies in the way mine ached from head to toe and it sits in our ego’s as I had to experience the frustration of learning to knit. It expresses itself in our actions and while we can justify ourselves, make excuses or just not bother trying, we need to remember it’s never about who we are but who we will become in pursuit of this change.