Issue 36, Something We Don't Talk About
The cost of saying yes and yes and yes
As artists we return to the wounds that haven’t healed
Are you feeling the shift in seasons? I am myself, back to a season I thought was over, relearning a lesson I thought, I had learnt – the one about boundaries. There is an intimacy to growing up in community-driven cultures prevalent in Asia, I have missed it every day since leaving. There is however one particular part of the culture that has always had a chokehold on me - people pleasing. In a society where your happiness is so intricately tied with that of people all around you, it is a matter of survival, primordial.
And so what a lot of people in my life have interpreted as diplomacy has merely been conflict aversion, a chronic inability to say no and face whatever comes after. As I am learning to reframe this and center myself for a change, it has helped immensely to think about saying no to something or someone as actually saying yes to myself and to my needs.
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Today I want to share with you a poem by Sarah Kay - I first came across her work while living in New York at the Bowery Poetry Club which is also where she got her start. She was one of the first poets I ever came across who was young, and Asian, and whose poetry seemed accessible enough for me to even imagine myself walking the path of a poet.
Something We Don’t Talk About, Part II
by Sarah Kay
how many times I said yes
how many times I said yes and yes and yes
because it was what you wanted to hear
and what I wanted you to hear
and what I wanted you to want
and every time the walls
stayed above my head instead of
falling down upon us
because if it was going to stop
then it would have to be me who said no
the walls were not going to help
and I didn’t say no I didn’t I never did
it was never your fault never yours
never mine only the walls that didn’t tumble
when they should have
when they should have known
they should have been able to tell
when was the right time to fall
I love how easily these lines depict the dance we play with ourselves, waiting for something outside of ourselves to give us the signal, to be the forcing factor for making a hard decision. And of course it’s never the right time - until you decide it is.
Let this be the season of inspiration
I am saying yes to my innate creativity and letting myself be inspired by others around me who have said yes to their own unique creative paths.
My friend Coleen, whose newsletter I have share previously, has just finished her labour of love - an animated short titled ‘Chamoe’. It premiered last week and having followed along her hard work for nearly a year I could not wait to see it. I highly recommend following her work and watching the short.
Another friend’s journey I have been following is ‘Saeyri’ - a south asian-owned jewellery brand, who made great efforts to get their Masala collection to me in London despite only operating in the US. The name of the brand means ‘poetry’ in Urdu (Shayri) and each piece feels like a poem - delicate and breathtaking.
If what you’re after is some more inspiration yourself, I recommend The Sample, a newsletter that curates a new type of newsletter to your inbox every time.
Thank you so much for the shoutout! 🙏😭