Seeing New Slivers of Life

Jillian Carter Ford

By Jillian Carter Ford

"Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which men and women transform the world. To exist, humanly, is to name the world, to change it. Once named, the world in its turn reappears to the namers as a problem and requires of them a new naming. Human beings are not built in silence, but in word, in work, in action-reflection."           
—Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

I'm big on building. I appreciate authentic connections with others because truth is as we construct it. We build with those with whom we have connections, be they living with us or living in past lives. Connections come through the memories we hold, the books we read, the places we travel, and the dreams we dream. We cross over time and space to connect and reconnect. It helps to hold onto humility as our oldest, best friend, because she allows us to hear one another.

Jillian Ford pull quoteEvery so often, the goddesses set up life's constellations such that we get to see a sliver of life in a different dimension. It is in those moments that I feel most loved. We meet up with someone who, at first glance, seems regular. Beautiful, humorous, smart, stylish, and warm, no doubt. But regular: at first. But on those rare occasions when the connection is synonymous with truth itself, all notions of regularity cease. It is in one another's presence that both individuals are lifted, and this elevated space is beautiful ground for praxis.

If praxis is "reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it," then those who come together in constellation-aided connections are the most powerful agents of change. Energy born of them has the strength to create revolution; the beauty of such strength is that it starts out of the public eye. Prior to liberating those on death row/realizing a universal living wage/dismantling oppressive regimes, the two in the connection experience a revolution of their own. It's phat because it's quiet, but to those engaged, it is still paradigm shifting. As such, the reflection and the action that make up this praxis are intensely personal and powerfully meaningful. Finding out about one another is the stuff of each new day. Finding out about one another helps each understand more about the world. And finding out about one another helps each develop and discover new elements of herself. 

I am thankful to say that I have had the honor of being visited by the goddesses that create the constellations that set up the connections that make way for the building sessions that serve as the foundation for praxis. They set it up so that I would meet this anything-but-regular woman who has the power and wisdom to show me a new sliver of life. She is beautiful, humorous, smart, stylish, and warm. But she is also brilliant, in a new-new kind of way. She earns a living by ushering new souls into the world daily: she is a nurse. She is daily inspired by the souls she has held in her own womb: she is a mother. 

But her brilliance emerges from a space even more foundational than her roles as nurse and mother. It comes from an organic insightfulness that allows her to see multiple slivers of life. I am thankful and honored that she is here. I am navigating the ways to do it right, only I don't really know what that means. I'll defer to the goddesses who set up the stars to begin with and ask them how to proceed. For now, I'll continue to peek through the sliver that is created by our connection.

Jillian Carter Ford 10G is the Center for Women graduate fellow for 2009–2010 and a student in the Division of Educational Studies. She is particularly interested in positive ways to educate queer youth and is an active volunteer at YouthPride of Atlanta.