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Will Naming Be Enuf?

Render Free Essay XVI

“Being alive and being a woman is all I got but being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet” - For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf, Ntozake Shange

Somehow, the days of high sun have past. Now the morning light spills across the horizon. Flecks of sunshine lift slower, reaching lazily through the trees. The chill of the morning is stubborn as the sun illuminates what was night. It’s late summer now.

Illumination is at the center of one of our mantras at Render Free. PAUSE. ILLUMINATE. LIBERATE. With this refrain, we remind one another that freedom can be found by turning the light inward.

One of the ways I’ve made sense of living, is by giving the world around me acute attention. At its best, this attention is caring consideration for those around me. Yet, it is also made up in part by a will to survive, high alert – fight, flight, freeze.

In this place, when my conscious thought is overloaded with observations of the world around me, my inner world is neglected. I live completely outside of myself, forgetting that my existence is beyond what others see.

But when I PAUSE, remembering saves me. My thoughts, feelings and sensations are heard, no longer drowned out by the cacophony. My innermost self rises to the surface, where it is greeted by light.

At Render Free, amongst our assemblage of people in bodies that are often overwhelmed by the needs, desires, criticisms and opinions of others, we incite ILLUMINATION. We are convinced that the deservingness, the worthiness, the belovedness of our community is true even as the light shines upon our darkest stories, our weaknesses, our worries. We encourage the practice of putting language to our experiences – naming our want, naming our hurt.

But will naming be enough? What darkness will this light of knowing be met with when we find a need for something we have no capacity to address? What are we to do with an awareness of our yearning if we do not have the power to make the changes we long for? If a need cannot be immediately fulfilled, is it better left in the darkness of unknowing?

These questions often overshadow the light of naming. They emphasize the limitation of our control, the finality of our resources in honest ways. Yet, it is the continuation of such honesty that brings about liberation.

In the safety of holding the wholeness of who we are - beloved and broken, worthy and weary - we find freedom by confronting that which we can not control and what we can. We, who are often overwhelmed by the needs, desires, criticisms and opinions of others, rarely consciously consider what available to us may be reallocated for us to meet the depths of our needs.

This is possibility, what may be found or not yet imagined, that is for now hidden and yet now available. A possibility that might lead to my healing in spite what I can not control. Obtainable yet simply not yet thought of – like earth beneath my feet that reminds me of my connection to this universe, like the breath in my lungs that moves my body from a fear state to a free state. Like short naps, hand to heart or the sun on my skin.

Confessing what I need, admitting my own limitations, and choosing to love myself with what I have – freeing me.


Written by Founder + Executive Director of Render Free, Arielle Grant


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