People pull you out of yourself.– Binyavanga Wainaina
The first time I read this and every time I remembered it after, it served (and continues to serve) as my heart’s nudge to my mind. A push to allow others to show up and hold space for me. Especially at the time I read this, I was struggling with letting myself need people and beyond that, seek them out. I have always thought that just my mind and I are good at making things figureoutable. So in my process of unlearning this, I have begun to allow my people to pull single, often tiny, threads that help me inch a little closer out of myself. Even when my mind is convinced we are more than enough.
While I’m not always successful in my unlearning, it’s a steep learning curve so I’m allowing it. For a lot of this process, I visualised some better version of myself that was able to ask for whatever I needed whenever I needed it. She always felt far off and that’s largely because she could only look like this to be the ‘better successful version’. Now, I acknowledge that what feels like insurmountable pain can force you to take all the help you can get. Pain that consumes you and takes the shape of your coping mechanisms, good and bad. When you’re an open wound, you don’t need to allow or let it, the pulling happens, people (should) try. But this isn’t how I wanted it to happen, I wanted to choose to let my people be there for me the way I wanted and needed them to be.
My most recent recollection of this quote brought with it new meaning. I strongly believe that art meets us where we are, as we are and so, things often mean to us what we need them to. Now I understand that the people pulling me out of myself don’t always have to be my people, at least not directly. Art has always saved me – in its different forms. I always treated the art as this force fixing things, making them make sense. I never thought about it this way: that the people behind that art, the musicians, the writers, poets, creatives, their words always carried me. They carried me. They were always the people continually saving me, pulling me out of myself.
Music makes whole worlds, out of unwholesome lives. Like crying and pissing and laughter, it promises to carry all of you, even the parts of you that cannot work together.– Binyavanga Wainaina
So now, I consider it progress when my people share art that pulls me and a lot of the time, also pushes me even a little out of myself. I affirm that it is beautiful, I needed it and I am grateful that it caught me when I was slipping. Maybe not always or in those words, but I recognise this as part of my way of allowing them in. Allowing other people to pull me outside myself.
Be Kind and Have Courage,