courage or comfort: you cannot have both.

Let me just begin by saying this: I do not and will not have the perfect words.

Truthfully, this post is one of the hardest that I have ever felt inspired to write. No, inspired isn’t the right word. More like called. Moved. Can’t stay silent anymore. Fucking furious with love and heartache and anger.

It may not be about cultivating a writing practice or content, it may not be about brand voice or the creative process, but this post is, in its own way, about creativity and voice.

We create our reality. In each and every moment, we have the power to build our world in the name of peace and courage - or to destroy it in the name of fear and violence.

And we use our voices to do it.

Part of me is afraid of pushing “publish.” I’m afraid that I’ll say the wrong thing (and I might). That my privilege as a mostly-white, heterosexual woman will show up (and it could). That the words that I use won’t be enough (and they won’t). 

But more of me knows that, just as this is a time to listen and seek to understand, it is also a time to speak up, use my voice, and own my role in the conversation.

To publicly acknowledge my own privilege.

To recognize my part in our system of institutionalized racism and oppression. And to admit that I'm still learning what that looks like.

To lean into the discomfort and hold space for people of color to express and share their own experiences as the victims of this system. Without interruption. Without reactivity. Without defensiveness.

To understand that it is not up to people of color to articulate a vision or coach white people on how to respond, much less to worry about our feelings. 

To recognize that the fact that I could choose whether or not to watch the videos, read the articles, engage in the conversation, enter into the trauma, and mourn is a clear sign of my privilege. Those who live it, each and every day, do not have that choice. 

To use my voice as a white, heterosexual woman to dismantle the patriarchy, a system of oppression and fear that holds us all captive -- but most especially people of color, women, and people of queer and transgender identity and experience.

To demand action from our leaders and politicians. To demand action from myself.

To know better. To do better.

To show up. To be in active solidarity. To challenge myself to engage in spaces of risk and discomfort.

To refuse to surrender to a culture of fear and hopelessness. To instead lean in - despite the discomfort - to love with increased ferocity and forgiveness.

To remain open and curious to people’s experiences outside of my own. And, when I catch myself disengaging, to only open my heart more to theirs.

I don’t have the answers. Hell, right now, I struggle to even find the words.

But I do know this:

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both.”

- Brene Brown

I know that these words are not enough. I know that there is a depth and breadth and history to this conversation that could not possibly be captured in a single blog post.

Those words will come. In self-inquiry, in conversation, in spaces of discomfort and transformation, in the midst of active solidarity. In doing the work to dismantle my own biases along with the system that built them. 

If you are interested in continuing this dialogue, in leaning into the discomfort together, and in seeking to understand with curiosity and openness, I would love to struggle through the tough conversations with you. (Only those seeking to speak and act with love and greater understanding need apply.)

I'm here. Mostly to listen, learn and understand, but also to speak and engage and act. Feel free to reach out via email or Facebook.

I love you, friend. May we use our voices to build our world in the name of peace, love, and courage.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?
it answered
— warsan shire