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‘What kind of experience…?’

Posted: December 19, 2013 2:06 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Today is my last day at the Chronicle-Independent, but surely just the beginning of my exploration into the wonderful world of traditional and new media forms. Instead of a good-bye or reflection of my time in Kershaw County, I wanted to leave you with parts of three of my journal entries from a few weeks ago. Thanks to everyone I’ve worked with throughout the last two years; I’ve surely enjoyed Kershaw County and I’m sure I will see many of you again in the future.

“Who do you want to be and what kind of experience do you want to have?”

A woman I admire posed the poignant question several months ago, right around the time I started wondering about my purpose in life -- not my career or what I’ll do to support myself financially -- but my true aim -- my guiding force, despite my location, title, personal, professional or spiritual affiliations in this world. In standard practice, I asked the question and am currently living into the answer. I wonder how long it’s going to take for me to see the answer.

“Who do you want to be and what kind of experience do you want to have?”

This question has essentially shaken my entire world. I’ve never really thought about creating an overarching theme to my life, but I’ve been ruminating over the question for several days. Because I do think that life is more about creating yourself versus finding yourself, I’ve settled on the answer. It is a combination of the following parts from what will probably always be my favorite text, Audre Lorde’s “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action:”

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.... My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other (people) while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences. And it was the concern and caring of all those (people) which gave me strength and enabled me to scrutinize the essentials of my living….. What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? ....because I am myself…a warrior poet doing my work- (I) come to ask you, are you doing yours? And of course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger.… And that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength. Each of us is here now because in one way or another we share a commitment to language and to the power of language, and to the reclaiming of that language which has been made to work against us. In the transformation of silence into language and action, it is vitally necessary for each one of us to establish or examine (his or) her function in that transformation and to recognize (his or) her role as vital within that transformation….

 “But primarily for us all, it is necessary to teach by living and speaking those truths which we believe and know beyond understanding…. And where the words of (people) are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives. That we not hide behind the mockeries of separations that have been imposed upon us and which so often we accept as our own…..

“The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of the differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to broken.”

“Who do you want to be and what kind of experience do you want to have?”

There is no try -- we do or we don’t do. I will be a person who transforms silences and difference into language and connection. There are so many ways to help breakdown the differences created in silence through language and action via conversation, news articles, TV spots, art, music, books, love, touch and even a simple smile. Breaking down the differences through language and action -- no matter where I am, who I’m with or whether I’m working at a newspaper, a health food store, a coffee shop or become some person’s secretary -- will allow me to live my life in accordance to the only real intention in my life: to continuously grow into a more loving and giving person with no strings attached; to give what I have been given. We are to be a light for others in our own special way.

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