Dare to speak your own truth but don’t try to silence mine or theirs.
I am awake, I am alive and this morning, all I can think of … are feelings.
The Anishinabe are feeling people. We feel the wind in our veins and Mother Earth in our hearts. We feel the pain of rock and tree being cut as passionately as we feel the birth of a child or bird or cub.
But years of colonial interference, Western rules, and non-Indigenous abuse has taught us not to, the pain just too great to feel. We were taught numbers to replace our stories and their facts replaced feelings.
But we continue to feel as surely as the audience continues to be absent. Our kids feel but have no one to speak to and no one has taught them how to talk to the waters and trees as their ancestors did because those stories were silenced as well. They hurt and without age-acquired wisdom, without support, without guidance of an Anishinabe kind, the pain grows rather than diminishes until it all gets to be just too much.
And our adults fare no better as they attempt to share – in meetings, in counselor’s offices, in court rooms and hearings of all sizes and shapes. Time limits, agendas, and the egos of others limit what we can say and for Gawds sake, don’t get emotional! (Accept maybe in an AA or NA meeting, that is.)
Because emotions make people nervous, especially those people who were taught that emotions have no place in boardrooms, offices, or classrooms and that my Anishinabe friends is the lie. That my friends is assimilation in all it’s ugliness because we, the Anishinabe, are holistic people and we bring all of us when we enter a room, not just the convenient parts.
But their discomfort is their baggage to deal with. Their restrictions, their rules of conduct are just that – theirs. They have never worked for us and we must stop trying to obey, especially when we pay with our healing, our health, our mental and emotional well-being, our lives. Just as we must overcome the generational training we endured – the training that has us fearing anything that upsets … them.
So today my friend, cry if need be and if a child sees you, do not stop. Do not hide. Invite them to sit quietly with you. Invite them to cry too if they feel the need.
Cry those tears. Learn to love the release they bring. Get comfy with feeling again, for it is our strength (not a weakness as they would have us believe) and we deserve to be strong again.
Cry in your classroom, your boardroom, your office. Cry in your car, on the street, in church or in a circle. Cry where you stand or sit or lay. Cry for crying is not our enemy but our healing. Do not let anyone stop your healing, not again.
And if it is not needed. If you are okay for now, then hold space for the stories, the tears, the healing of another. Shut down the Chair when he cuts someone off, using the clock as a weapon to shut down their healing as no doubt his/her ancestors have done for eons. Hold space for their tears, for them to be, for them to heal. Refuse to be limited in your words or the length of your speech. Refuse to be … colonized.
It is time – to cry, to scream, to share, to tell, to feel and to heal. It is time my friend, to get use to just how alive we were designed to be.
I love you. Today let us dare to be ALIVE!