I am just trying to figure out what it means to live in the Open Space of Democracy. I never thought it would be simple, so I have been making it more complicated than necessary. I am realizing that I do not have to dig too far to find the point of talking about democracy. I could talk about the point of democracy in terms of history of politics and government, of the history of evolution. No, that is not what I want. That has been done. I want to talk about the point of democracy in our lives, every day, and how the creative projects of my peers is an expression of this point.
It was when I stopped thinking about it that I started to uncover it.
I was at a house party, in someone’s bedroom attempting to to curb my desire for alcohol, which I gave up several years ago. Just because I am outgoing that does not mean that I do not feel social anxiety. I still want something to ease the tension between me and that person who I see five times a week while we are pretending to know each other although we both know that we do not know each other at all.
Then she came. I anticipated a fake conversation this girl who had an outwardly harsh demeanor that always made me assume that she did not like me.
Then she mentioned something about literature, or poetry. I do not remember the words but I remember lighting up at the sound of something that did not have to do with drinking. She was talking about Milk & Honey by rupi kaur. It was a book of poems that had come out earlier that week, I had heard of it.
She took a drag of her cigarette and placed her heart on her chest as she expressed emotion at the book. Again here I felt intrigued that someone was sharing emotion as a result of poetry, something I had plenty of experience with.
I guess she could tell that I was interested. She told me all about the book, took out her phone, read me some poems, we were both almost in tears as she shared her personal stories and I put myself in her shoes as the reader.
I never expected that, but it was exactly what I appreciate about democracy. All of the literature, all of the emotion, all of the intelligence, the empathy that we are allowed to share. It is too bad we often use this freedom to have mindless conversations while drowning our emotions in alcohol.
Maybe the point of democracy is to recognize all that is inside us that we are given the freedom to manifest and reveal. Maybe if we recognize it we will be more likely to engage with it in positive ways. Maybe then, we would make more gold, as rupi kaur would say.