There are certain words/phrases that are used often in the spaces I tend to wander into. “My journey” is one that sparks ambivalence in me.
I’m not sure I believe that viewing every event/activity/experience in our lives as part of an epic narrative with profound significance for communal consumption is such a great thing.
It isn’t so much the narcissistic trap this put in our way, but the pressure to shape a meaningful narrative that will somehow justify our little lives. We write our own biographies as we live. We judge our experiences in terms of a self-constructed trajectory towards meaningfulness. More than that, for some of us: significance.
Taking on the role of a god – divining our own fates – is an impossible burden. And maybe there is an irony in the probability that the further we come from from a faith in a god, the closer we come to believing in the powers of that god?
Another quasi-divine phrase that tugs at my solar plexus is “a safe space”.
I believe in the importance of safe spaces. I long for them. But I also believe most of us conflate safe spaces with secure spaces, believing that if we are able to secure a “space” – be it a conversation or a home – with enough restrictions, we will be safe.
But that’s not true.
The “being” of safe is not defined by a geophysical coordinate system or by a relational placement to things, ideas, beliefs. What we don’t know/aren’t aware of can hurt us.
The “being” of safe is a metaphysical state.
We try to create our own safety by securing our surroundings. But nothing is every really secure. All the alarm systems, forbidden language, and powerful friends can never guarantee us from harm – though they might give us temporary illusion of control, and a temporary a feeling of safety.
Though it may be a necessary step towards creating the connections, community and calm we need to be safe, providing a safe place for one another isn’t simply a matter of shuttering ourselves against the phenomena that cause us pain.
People I love were robbed yesterday.
I don’t know how to help make them feel safe again.
My first thought is, “Come home“.
As though I had that power.