Artwork by Irene Hardwicke Olivieri

Artwork by Irene Hardwicke Olivieri

We must each in our own way resist the pull of apathy. Not only in relationship to the troubled world around us, but towards our own hearts. That icy spread around our hurt which protects us too well when it keeps grief frozen. That shrug towards our own wounding which regards our pain as common, and says, “what else is new?”

We may have difficulty recognising it as oppression because we’ve never learned to give voice to the wound. But there is a song that needs to be sung from there. And anything that silences it, like the underestimation of our pain, the dismissal which says nobody wants to listen, or the inner cajoling with tells us to get over it already – all of these strategies which once protected us eventually become our own oppressions.

It is the other voice – the one which has never been given encouragement, the one who is burdened with shame, who is terrified of emerging – this is the one we need to lend courage to. This means standing up defiantly and repeatedly to the invalidations we’ve grown familiar with, demanding the right with which we have been gifted, inherent to our life, to sing.

Give up your vows of silence which only serve to protect the old and the stale. Air out that exhaustion and holding, unspiral your bracing and sing the truth you long to hear. Be the champion of your own right to be here.

Excerpted from the forthcoming book on “Belonging” © Toko-pa Turner 2016. To read more, sign up for Toko-pa’s free newsletter here: