by Kamna Shastri
Please do not lose your Self to the world’s reckless turmoil.
The deluge of news and happenstances will rock your heart – break it too.
There are too many excruciating injustices
That subjugate life and preach hypocrisy of law and leadership
That hold our boundless imaginations hostage to standard and expectation.
They will take our breath and our love, our possibilities.
They will rob us, leave us hollow and broken.
Please, do not forget your strength is ever burnished gold.
When you are ready to pick up the pieces reach for your heart-
it know the methods of its own healing.
Please, remember you are the center of your world,
the sun about which your days turn.
The universe that holds you is also held inside you,
vast and expansive as a sky the blue of childhood.
Please, rest and surrender when your heart is tired.
The world will drain you and steal your hope.
Let someone else do the work, as you curl into your Self
To rediscover your dulled radiance.
Remember what our foremothers have taught us:
We are phoenixes.
In Life’s kiln we burn ourselves to the ground.
From rested ashes, we always, always rise again.
I have learned, from the communities I’ve shared space with, and especially the women in my life, that the coffers of internal strength are ever flowing. Life will throw blow after blow and eventually we learn that we cannot truly resist the pain and heartbreak. Watching the world burn, losing people we love, and losing ourselves are not circumstances to idolize and glamorize in the name of “resilience” and making the heart stronger. But these are the things of life as we know it today. These are the casualties of a humanity that has lost its heart compass and they are the circumstances that break and build us.
I’ve been a community journalist for four years now and in 2020 my resolve weakened between my own personal response to the world and the pressure to keep covering the very news that overwhelmed me. I kept pushing, I kept trying to keep my head above water but by the end I couldn’t. Decided that I had to stop and breathe — I couldn’t do this work for a while because it was too draining, for too little return, and the world just seemed to tumble into itself. In my attempts to address – whether directly or indirectly – our social justice issues, struggles for representation and the fight to simply take up space with our varied and beautiful identities, I lost sight of myself.
Kamna Shastri is a Seattle-based writer and media creative with a love for place-based community storytelling and journalism that centers personal narrative, identity, and social justice. Her print work has appeared in The Seattle Globalist, Real Change, The International Examiner and her audio work on KUOW, KEXP, and KBCS. More of her stuff at www.kamnashastri.wordpress.com. Twitter: @KShastri2, IG: ms_kamna.
Featured illustration by Kamna Shastri.
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