In reading Bell Hooks article on ‘choosing the margin…’ I was struck by two sentences. The first, ‘our presence is a disruption.’ The next, ‘invent spaces of radical openness.’ The idea that your presence may disrupt the status quo is one of the key reasons she asks that we do our part to simultaneously seek new knowledge, new experience. And when we do, in the spaces we create for ourselves, we will survive. In the new year, silence is one space that I intend to keep eloquently, where I intend to plan. But survival, the radical possibilities and openness of it, a site that nourishes my capacity to see, to create, even to build, is the other space I am keeping this year. I am keeping survival blazing, all it’s possibilities, all it’s openness, even it’s resistance, will burn fiercely for me.

A surviving castle

In survival, I am like my daughter’s playtime activity pictured above, where she uses magnetic shapes to build anything including castles that are brilliant to her. Carefully and with one piece after another, she builds and builds and the castle keeps growing and growing brighter. Every addition is a test of survival. And when her castle survives intact, she is happy and everyone cheers. The construction is sterling and a delight to watch. So to is survival. It’s possibilities are transforming. Also sterling when you navigate it’s many landscapes.

Survival, like the Bob Marley song, Bell Hooks quoted in her piece, ‘allows me to refuse to be what you want me to be.’ Instead, I am who I am because I choose to survive and that’s the gift of it’s possibilities. I choose to survive despite whatever challenges I experience. I understand that my daughter’s castle may topple anytime and the idea of it remaining intact is minimal. But here is the truth and gift of survival and why choosing is blazing: ‘you know that it may unravel.’ The knowledge of the unraveling is survival at it’s finest. We are able to survive because we know. Survival is knowing. Survival is reality. In survival, I know reality. I am able to articulate my reality to the world because I choose to survive. I know about my survival. For in survival, my perspective, all of it remains sustained. My perspective burns fiercely for me. It’s my story after all and I I’ll tell it however I choose. That’s what survival entails. And I am firmly keeping it blazing in the new year.

Building the castle.