There’s dust on the ledges, but not on the tables, and definitely not on the gold dragon statue by the front door that almost no one remembers to rub for good luck.
And neither of them have ever put their hands on it. No, instead they come in even before the buffet is fully set, look the Dragon straight in its opal eye and grimace, their heads thinking “here’s another day yet!”
“Still giving us plates, heh?” they say to Meng, whose name I know but they do not. He will be back to fill their coffee twice, sometimes three times, but they won’t speak again. Some things do not change, even in 20 years.
It’s easy to get me riled up: just a headline will do it. So as someone prone to quick anger, and moreso disheartened by every headline passing her screen, I just couldn’t help but be drawn in by the begrudgingly difficult and careful drama of truth-telling put forth between the pages of She Said: a heartfelt and frustrating account of not only #MeToo and the Weinstein cases, but of the prospect of journalism in an age becoming more and more defined by easy misinformation.
My stomach hurts and I realize I’m sucking it in again. I sit up straight and try to relax, giving my organs some room to breathe. I’m listening to the person talking across from me, but now I’m also wondering: where did this come from? When did my body learn to sit this way?
I fall away into conversation again and not two minutes later I catch it all over: the sucking in. The hunch. The pressing of my knees together and the curving down of my shoulders; the tension already building in my hips at 29.
When and how did I learn to hold myself this way?
It’s a question I’ve been examining more and more lately as I begin to tackle these issues—as I begin to address the developmental scoliosis in my spine and the hump at the base of my neck. I’ve been doing yoga, and strengthening my core, and learning to catch myself every time I fall into the “crouch”. Always, the mental instructions are the same:
Even out your hips. Push your butt into your seat. Relax your jaw. Tuck your chin. Drop your shoulders. Lift your neck. Expand your chest. Breathe.
“…the most important feature of powerful social movements, is an affirmation of community.”
– From “Young, Brown and Proud: Personal purpose and political activism” by Harsha Walia
Connection requires a crossing of boundaries. It requires seeing one thing in another without disturbance of difference: that old mean thing still snipping at the threads we THE PEOPLE weave when we breach the gap between ourselves and another, when we see ourselves as one. And it seems these days that those who are best at connecting were born to difference, too. With wide focus, they can see it for what it truly is and pass through as if there were no boundary at all—grasping at those other strands with ease and bringing the rest of us gratefully along.
A person who hands themselves over in the service of revealing truth; who gives even their voice in making sure the untold is spoken.
Here in Canada, many still shy away from the basic truth of our colonial history: that European settlers erased the voices of entire populations already living here, stifling the heart of What-We-Could-Have-Been.
Even today reconciliation with this truth sometimes seems little more than a distant hope on the horizon; and yet, there are those who refuse to let such a cause die. Who give even their voices to this truth above all else, and who aren’t afraid to stand up for the many voices which were lost then—voices of healing that we need now more than ever to understand.