I come here interdependent, taught to be independent. I have come to Turtle Island, to the land stolen from its inhabitants, as a refugee. I come to ask what was my family running from that coming to a land of intentionally forgotten genocide was called "Freedom".
I was born on the native land of the Uzbeks, most recently colonialized by the Soviet Union. I was raised on the unceded territory of the Canarsie and Munsee Lenape peoples, currently known as Brooklyn. I reside on the unceded territory of the Pawtucket and Massa-adchu-es-et peoples, currently known as Boston.
I come on the backs and shoulders of my ancestors and yours. I come to learn from the predecessors of this earth, of my bones, of the elements.
I come here with white-privilege. I come to see the systems that dehumanize us: colonialization, patriarchy, white-supremacy, racism, homophobia, able-bodyism, classism, genderism and more. I come to see systems that devalue interdependence and trust. I vow to see how these systems operate within me, my mind, my perspective, my actions and my community. I vow to dismantle the systems from within myself and support others in their inner and outer liberty.
I have been the colonizer and the colonized. The oppressor and the oppressed. The lover and the hater. More recently, I have come to acknowledge also being a witness. I see that I do not fully see, and this humbles me.
I come choosing love; to meet life with the eyes, heart and body of love. I come to do what I do not know how, and to trust the way. I come to thank those who came before me and who are doing the work by me, near and far.
I did not always believe what I believe now. I thank this in-body [embodied] human experience for breaking me open. Raised on land whose tongue I did not speak. Hurt and pain of disconnection too great to be felt. Years of drug use to numb out. Living in a gender that did not allow all of me. I acknowledge the pain of life; the pain of losing beliefs; all the deaths that are part of life. I acknowledge the joy and pleasure of letting love in, of support, of surprise, of mystery.
“Every living thing has its own creation song, its own language, and its own story. In order to live harmoniously with the rest of creation, we must be willing to listen to and respect all of the harmonies that are moving around us.” Sherri Mitchell
I come with gratitude for indigenous wisdom and generosity. I am learning from indigenous forgiveness and love. I am learning from those who see life differently than I. I come to bow to diversity and difference. Inside myself and those of others.
I come from a long lineage of untouched, unprocessed trauma. I come with tools: some that work, some that harm. I come with responsibility to discern. I vow to do no harm.
I come with seeds in my pockets, of ancestral wisdom, trust, love and courage. I come with seeds not ready to be planted, seeds that yearn for clean water, soil and trust. I come with seeds native to where my path has brought me. I come aware that you too come with native seeds in your pockets.