Collective Conscious

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I said that I would write about my own decolonization process too, but my humour minimizes and sh*t gets real. To have a balance between these two is important, one cannot be all jokes nor be straight-faced and serious.

I heard an Native artist who said that her work, that targets First Nations issues, is always viewed as “political”. The artist said that her work portrayed a struggle of who she was and that it was personal. The personal is political.

I have been doing an immense amount of writing that reflects my constant struggle to reclaim myself as an Indigenous woman. The process entails connecting and reinstating the beliefs surrounding the woman while tossing out colonialist beliefs.

I am sacred.

Last week, I broke down.

I sat with my younger cousin on the sofa and we talked about media imposed standards versus a traditional view of women.

“No matter how much I write about it. It’s still words. I can write all the words I want but they don’t replace what I’m holding inside,” I said with a cracking voice.

I cried.

Shortly after we drove out to a lake so we could connect with the water and listen to the passing wind orchestrate melodies with frail autumn leaves.

I prayed. Then I prayed some more.

I realized that I was trying to reassert myself as an Indigenous woman, yet an Indigenous woman is a part of the collective. A link within the circle of life. If I want to reclaim myself I have to understand the role I play within this larger circle and the cycle itself. I cannot take myself out of context and focus on the individual because the beliefs of my ancestors did not focus on just “I”.

“I” is an inherent part of “us” and understanding that is an inherent part of finding myself.

There are only so many books I can read, so many phrases I can write before the mental stage exhausts me and I find that I have moved nowhere. It is about holistic growth, mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally and our medicine wheels need to maintain this balance.

I can only put my intention out there and pray.

I prayed for guidance from my grandmothers.

I prayed for teachers.

I prayed and gave thanks.

I prayed because sometimes we can only surrender to the reality that we do not know how to get where we are meant to go and in that surrender we will find the direction we are looking for.

It is an odd feeling when the ribcage longs to be held by something that has never embraced it. To see phantom Indian villages in valleys materialize solely out of yearning. To know that what you seek is still here, unweathered by time and accessible by spirit, and to not be able to feel it.

This journey is a fickle thing indeed, but I dare not turn back, for the sureness that I will lose “me”.

In Spirit,

Helen K

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