This holiday season, we are bidding farewell to 2020 and welcoming 2021 with a series we are calling “The Conversation” a collection of brief but meaningful insights and reflections curated and shared by members of the Domain7 team. Centring on themes that help us reflect on a tumultuous year and move forward into the future, we are exploring change, resilience, community, transformation, and grounded hope. Today’s host is Kirsten Boyle, Project Manager at Domain7. Just a note that we are, like many of you, working largely from home and that these recordings may have a homemade flavour. We hope you enjoy joining us in our work and neighbourhood environments for a little audio visit. Here’s Kirsten.
Hello, and happy holidays. Today I’m sharing a poem from a writer, Noël Russell.
“I don’t know who might need to hear this today, but here’s a reminder. Just because you have the strength to make it through something, doesn’t mean you deserve to. You’re allowed to acknowledge the suffering of unfair actions without feeling weak and call into question the justice of challenges without being a victim. You can be filled with fury and sadness without sacrificing strength and grit. You can be disappointed and disillusioned without forfeiting your fearlessness. People will say, ‘Life doesn’t throw you things you can’t handle.’ But just because you can handle them, doesn’t make them merited. You see, all the goodness you embody has been with you all along. And though these trials might make your best traits rise to the top, that doesn’t mean they weren’t always with you. So continue to fight and to bash your way through, but please know that the light on the other end doesn’t justify the darkness you’ve endured. It doesn’t make it right or warranted. It doesn’t redeem a damn thing. And you’d be just as brave without being tested, just as tough without shouldering that burden, and just as resilient without enduring that pain. Your ability to do hard things doesn’t redeem them of their wrong. I once sat with a young person from my shelter while they were being interviewed by a reporter who asked them, ‘Do you think all the things you’ve been through have made you the strong person you are today?’ ‘Nah,’ they responded immediately, ‘That’s just who I am. I didn’t need to go through shit to prove it.’ Please remember, you were indeed born a badass and I know you’ve got this, but also, it’s unfair that you have to.”
Noël wrote this piece in August of this year and the reason I chose to share her words is because I’ve learned through my pain—the physical trauma I’ve endured—that it doesn’t need to be justified in order to feel the full spectrum of it. And as we’re looking at 2020, whether in regards to the climate, racial and social injustice, widening inequality, or this pandemic, our response to it doesn’t need to be justified.
So I’ll ask, is there freedom that can be found from stepping away from the pressure to find the silver lining or reframing dark and difficult things and just letting those situations be what they are?
I’m Kirsten Boyle with Domain7. Thanks for listening.
Kirsten read a poem published by Noël Russell on Instagram in August of 2020. We encourage you to find Noël’s work and follow her and noelruss.com.
The Conversation is a special edition of Domain7’s podcast Change is in the Making. Our audio producer is Kurt Wilkinson and our designer is Ryan Martinez. Music provided by James Boraas. Leadership and editorial support provided by Sarah Butterworth, Kevan Gilbert and myself, Veronica Collins. Please tune in each weekday for the first half of December to hear more from our team on moving from 2020 into 2021 with hope and purpose, or visit us at domain7.com for more ideas, resources and podcasts. Happy holidays.