My first seedlings have begun to emerge and with this exciting visual, I can’t help but briefly reflect on my journey so far.
It seems that there is always room for growth and self-discovery. This past year, or even perhaps the past few years have really highlighted this to me. I know that I am not alone in this and that there are many others who have experienced this darkness, this wondering if it is ever going to be possible to emerge again. The soil that surrounds is dark and unfamiliar but there is no option but to trust that it contains all that is needed for one to thrive.
The world around has suggested, repeatedly, that it is only survival of the fittest that counts but I’d like to contest that. It seems entirely ableist, reductionist, individualist and elitist to imagine this is the case – not a world that is inclusive, caring, nurturing or supportive to those in need. I wonder whether survival links more to solidarity, to supportive social structures and ability to adapt to the prevailing external culture or else creating a new culture altogether. Just a thought.
One of my favourite poets, Audre Lorde discusses internalised oppression and suggests the need to locate & challenge this. It is the notion of having aspects of ourselves that reinforce negative, unhelpful, hateful and often toxic thoughts, feelings and opinions for ourselves as well as other.
If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed only against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough. In order to be whole, we must recognize the despair oppression plants within each of us… But we can put our finger down upon that loathing buried deep within each one of us and see who it encourages us to despise, and we can lessen its potency by the knowledge of our real connectedness, arcing across our differences.
– Audre Lourde, 1982.
Challenging these internalised constructs can help a lot, as far too much time can be spent in consequent fear and self-doubt. It is easy enough to feel inadequate in the world around us: there constant messages from the media suggesting that there is less and less space for people who are queer, women, of colour, physically disabled, have poor mental health, have low income etc.
For me, as a queer woman of colour, I have found it felt essential to return to my self, and to stand boldly and courageously in my truth. My artistic expression has been and is a huge part of this, as a visual artist, writer, and performer. These forms are pre-language and can be made very accessible. Again the main barriers are often our own internalised constructs/self-beliefs, which tells us that we are not good enough, but of course we are.
Within my own process, I have used the countless powerful & transformative tools that I have gained throughout my training as a Creative Arts Practitioner, as well as being informed by my engagement in practices such as Biodanza, Creative Writing, Spoken Word, Kundalini Dance & Movement Medicine. These teachers & mentors have helped me to access my own inner resources for healing and remind me of my own power & capacity to do so.
These rich experiences have catalysed my practice and I look forward to sharing the tools and techniques, that have also played an integral part of my transformative journey. This will be through a variety of workshops which will include exploring, expressing and embracing different aspects of self, with a focus on inner truth, feminine empowerment and unity.
So as I tend my seedlings and as they begin grow, I’d like to set the intention that they will have every chance of not only surviving but also thriving. I have every faith that through time, nurturing and care, that they will.