my pedagogy has been out of wack.
i’ve been in the i-don’t-really-want-to-talk-to-you-i-just-need-you-to-know-that-i’m-right state of mind. reactive. and feeling alone. this tends to happen when i’m in close proximity to family. it’s probably because i’m quite unacceptable to them. my anti-capitalist, meditation sitting, brown community loving, resistance marching, womyn holding, vegetarian eating, sloppy boigirl wearing ways confound them. i’m unlike anyone they have the confusion of knowing.
i am how they understand the word “strange”.
perhaps it is my strangeness that makes them think that i will not survive. this makes some sense because lonely strange creatures do not survive evolution. i guess then it’s no wonder why this lonely strange creature in an environment unaccepting would defend hard, strong, and frankly, stubbornly, their right to survive.
maybe that’s why i have recently approached every question of me and my walk through the world as a match i must win.
i listen only for their weakness and stumble.
i stalk their contradictions.
i let out steam and roar to cue my beginning.
i shred each limb that stretch into my borders,
silence every screech that penetrate my comfort.
but every time i can’t look into their eyes without attacking, every instance that i refuse to listen to their strengths and guide their stumbles (and let them guide mine), every moment i remove support from where they are, is every bit closer i come to the demise of the collective, every bit further i move away from radical pedagogy based on curiosity, listening and love.
because we aren’t always gonna like what others have to say about the world, how they perceive us in it and whether or not they accept us fully. but none of us are there yet, we can’t be, we still got a system to take down and a beautiful story to create-a story full of magnificently strange revolutionaries building life communally. and we ain’t gonna do that without each other.
so what can we do to distance ourselves from reaction and connect us to our community (whether with one that’s formed or forming):
- notice our bodies internal physical reactions, they tell us that external reactions may be on their way.
- breathe before speaking or doing to create space between evolving self and reaction. this can dull reaction or even bring forth a response.¹
- ask questions with curiosity rather than give answers for this will deepen our connection and sharpen our understanding of why people’s feelings, experiences and opinions are what they are. we need this to grow empathy between one another and to know how to proceed intentionally into challenging and transformative relationships. it is a necessary component of pedagogy with a revolutionary base. this will also create space between our ego, our reaction and our evolving self because, really, we don’t always have it right and the sometimes that we do, people don’t often learn from rude awakenings.
- express how we feel or what we think under the framework of relating to the other person or people, so barriers against understanding each other break down. for example, using shared language or relating similar experiences. this will serve to also break down the barriers that reactiveness puts up: we are alone, no one understands us, these other people are sucky, ignorant and ridiculous.
- take physical space from people when we feel our triggers are bordering on trauma. retraumatizing ourselves only takes us away from connection and our own power. we need to be kind to ourselves to maintain our kindness towards others.
- remember those that we’re in loving, accepting community with, including our own accepting selves. those with whom our weirdness is reciprocated. those who fiercely get us and find our strangeness absolutely delightful because we need to remind ourselves when we feel alone and alienated that we aren’t and people are there, we are there.
it is true lonely strange creatures will not survive…
but we don’t have to be alone.
¹ a reaction is similar to a response but without choice or agency over how, what, when and to what degree our emotions, thoughts and actions will be exchanged.