They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin
Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark all is deluge. – Horace Mann
Our obsession with protecting ourselves makes us less safe. – Eve Ensler
We live in uncertain times. That’s all we can be certain about, really. And during uncertain times, we experience fear enough to cause us to put up walls and shut things out in an effort to feel more safe. Of course, these kinds of walls make creating connections difficult, make creating art difficult. In group, we asked ourselves: “What is safe? What does it feel like? What threatens our safety? What do we hold out or hold in?”
We illustrated images of our own safe spaces and wrote on the concept of safety. Thankfully, the writers in our circle did not shut themselves in or each other out. Within the safety of the circle, we were able share our words and the kindness of witnessing silence. Their words, freely and safely offered, are below.
A PIECE OF OURSELVES
At a certain level we all know that yelling cannot be stopped with yelling. Fighting is only ceased when those at odds lay their weapons down completely. Security is not achieved by locking someone away behind cement walls. No color, no voices to save the mind. Security makes a madness of mankind.
I remember helping at a daycare. Heavy in my late pregnancy. Across the room, a small boy held a tonka truck tightly in his hand. Waiting to strike it over the head of another boy in front of him. I was too slow to get up and stop him. Yelling would not have saved the day. I did not think but to say, Aba Yo-Yo. A childhood tale rose to my lips and I told the story of the dancing giant. The tonka truck hit the floor as all came around to listen.
Perhaps if we can all stop to tell a piece of ourselves, our history, if we can all listen with gentle ears, there will be no need for fighting.
SAFE AND SECURE?
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel safe and secure, 100%.The conclusion I’ve come up with looking back over the years would be: no I won’t, not 100% at least. To me, to be safe and secure means safe from harm’s way and living and thinking in perfect harmony. But that’s in fairytales, just to feel safe and/or secure even a little bit is so much better than how I feel right now. Right now, during this pathetic part of my life, I don’t feel safe or secure actually I feel very alone and vulnerable and having to be sober through it is torture. These last six months have emotionally been hell for me but on the outside and what I tell back home is “I’m fine, it’s not that bad.” I couldn’t tell them the truth that I’m scared and the scars that I thought healed reminded me that they were not and the fact that I’ve got so much anger in me and am being tested constantly reminds me of the long road of hard work that lies ahead of me knowing that at the end I’ll be back around the people that truly do care about me and show real respect, that I don’t have to question on a minute to minute basis, and that is what gives me the courage and strength to trudge through all this painful b.s.
It’s always something.
If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.
There’s always something
to take the joy out of life!
I learned this saying
from a very beautiful old woman.
We called her…Nawna
not my Nawna but someone’s.
She was always dressed to the nines,
hair done, makeup on, nails always polished.
She was secure in her own body,
always said what was on her mind.
She made no bones about anything.
I admired that.
She was old. She got sick
and yes, she died at 98.
I’m quite a way from that age.
I like to fix my hair,
put on a little make up,
and dress in the best I can afford.
So Nawna, you made an impression
because it’s always something
if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.
There’s always something
to take the joy out of life
or as I like to say,
when life hands you lemons