The many faces of resistance

Today, I write about resistance, and the many manifestations it can take. There is such a familiar image one thinks of when they see the word “resistance” — a passionate crowd wielding signs and shouting; a defiant gaze against an authoritative figure; maybe even Star Wars?

After a month of the “Reclaiming My Time” workshop, I am realizing that “resistance” can look so different from these preconceptions: a circle of crying faces mourning the loss of a community member; getting up every morning to show your face at an institution that strips you of your identity and culture; and pushing through to have a difficult conversation with a friend.

I am starting to realize that oftentimes, the strongest people are those who don’t shout, but whisper. These are the people that continually try to make themselves accessible and open, in the effort to educate and spread understanding. It takes strength to shout, but it takes even more strength to show restraint, so that the other side may still listen — so that the relationships remain intact, so that your words may live to fight another day for you.

Silence is speech. A whisper is a shout. One conversation can change the world. So just when you think I am succumbing, I am not. I am resisting.


Daily Post prompt: Succumb

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The Night & I

I listen to the Night, raucous in its pitch-black silence.
If I scream into the Night, will it swallow all my sounds?
Spit it back out onto another Earth?
Will there be another me listening on the other side?

I stare out into the Night, inscrutable in its mystery.
What secrets does it keep, that the Night surrenders nothing to me?
What dark entity has paid for the Night’s loyalty?
Have I not paid enough in sleepless evenings to learn some confidences?

I feel the Night, my hands reaching for this onyx creature.
Feeling strength in its velvety wings.
I wonder, can I tame the Night?
Could the Night take pity on me, flying me away from sunlit realities?

I speak to the Night, my red-rimmed eyes struggling open.
Tired, I say, “Night, what purpose do you serve, keeping me from resting?
Why do you torture me so, lingering at my windowsill?
Causing my restlessness, then doing nothing to ease it?”

The Night replies in a slow and volcanic voice:

I do not torture; I mirror.
I am not the cause; I am the effect.
What you see in me already exists in you.
I, the Night, do not take action. Only you do.
I do not linger; my place is, and always has been, by your side.

I snort irreverently and think, Well, don’t quit your day job just yet.


Daily Post prompt: Unseen

Kelp, fish, and sand

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My headspace, as I listen to you.

Stream-of-consciousness post (ha-ha, pun intended).

***

Dear you,

I am your captive audience. Sit down, talk to me, and I will make eye contact with you and put each of your words in my mouth and swish it around. After a couple seconds, I will finish processing it and tell you how it tastes — but only if you ask for my feedback. Otherwise, it will reside in the void of my brain.

People often tell me I’m a good listener. I imagine it’s not just because I sit there and nod like a bobble-head. Sure, that’s a contributing factor. But I understand that each person has a struggle that they are trying to communicate. Each sentence spoken is this person trying to cause stress on the universe, trying to get what they want. And I, in my solicitousness, am the first step to the universe obliging you.

The slight pauses, head tilts, and eye squinting are a story I read and memorize.

But, there’s something you should know about me. Please do not mistake my silence for powerlessness — because underneath my reflective surface are kelp, waving in a rhythm only I can establish; fish lurking, fleeting back and forth like synapses; and sand forever shifting, a restless foundation. My storm inside reflects the storm on your face, on your body, in your words. But I will remain still for you.

My silence is my authenticity. I am not going to tell you everything’s going to be okay, or ask if you’ve been enjoying this lovely weather we’ve been having. That is not what I wonder about you, and that is not what people who say these things wonder about you.

I wonder about you in intimate and devastating ways, like the blind silence of your mother’s belly as you were growing inside her.

I will be here for you, in the quietest of ways; to understand everything you are saying and give you a temporary home in my eyes, in my nods, in my smiles, during our time together.

All the deities in this world know I do not have the brain power or energy to do and remember everything.

If I give you my time, you are special to me. If I remember many things about you, you have been in my head every day for years.

It is such a wondrous thing, to sit in that little nook between two consciousnesses—yours and mine—and just let things be.

Sincerely,

me

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