Using words to performatively fight fear



I usually love the way that acknowledging a day for a particular reason can alter your mindset into a unique place. Though because a date this week included one I worry about, May 18th seemed to force me into a separate sort of isolation. Last year, I prepared for such feelings by confronting them. I posted a lengthy reflection (included below), about what I’d learnt since that day in 2015. This year, I didn’t want to give unneeded significance to the day, but that didn’t work well. Through the emotions of this weekend, I’ve learnt to go back and listen to what I said last year. I explained how struggling taught me to value people, vulnerability and words. Through sharing that post, I actively battled the negatives of the day. Last year, I felt strong and that I had reason to celebrate myself and humans in general.

It’s a lot to try and think what I’ve learnt this year, but I do know what I’ve re-learnt this weekend. The action of openness is truly a powerful tool. I wrote about how words and people changed my life, then I forgot to put it into practice. It seems that this year, the whole world has tuned in to this lesson as well. Through the momentum behind #metoo and any time we make space to listen and learn from difficult truths, we’re able to use words to performatively fight fear within ourselves, as well as fight for others and the future. Last year, on May 18th, I felt powerful and in control because I decided which words and tone I wanted for a day that 2 years before, all hope of power and control felt irretrievable. This year, the day reminded me that even though progress can seem impossible, and I often still feel wordless and isolated, I do have a lasting way within myself to seek out stability. This here, performatively alters how I think about how well I’m doing. As I stressed about lack of progress, I remembered that for me, openness is success and not things I can’t control. Regardless of how long this process takes, if I can share – good or bad, that’s still success. And that seems an undeniably solid reason to encourage us all to keep raising up the volume on all of the hardest and scariest truths within us.

Written on May 18th, 2017: