This Is a Safe Space

A virtual embrace

Charlie Cole

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© Charlie Cole

A familiar feeling sits in my chest, that aching feel taking hold of my heart. So often, too often really, I let negativity creep its way in and consume me. My thoughts, reactions, and attitudes slide toward the pessimistic, always eyeing things with a view of suspicion. Taking the steps to undo this is a long, and hard road that I actively work on as much as I can, but the fact remains — the world can be so awful so much of the time.

I wanted to take a moment to simply say I am here for you. A virtual stranger may not mean much or even do much, but putting a beacon out there for the hurt is worth doing all the same. I choose to believe that, I think I have to believe that. So here I am typing away just letting whoever may be reading this that they have a friend in me, that the pain you feel is valid, and that all the voices that seek to shut you out are the ones shut out here.

Being an ally is no good unless you’re willing to open your mouth up about it. There is so much more I could be doing, I know this, and it will be one of the many notes to the chorus of this continual heartache of mine, but maybe this is something. Words have long been said to not a hold candle to all the sticks and stones out there, but they can certainly hurt us. If they can do that then, surely, they can do the opposite and have many times.

Something else I believe in when it’s healthy is radical vulnerability. Opening yourself up and sharing yourself in ways that contribute to the ongoing dialogue of the human race. I still find myself being too guarded and secretive over things I shouldn’t be worried about, ashamed of, or otherwise tight-lipped over. That tether I feel to others loosens every time doing this becomes more of a detriment rather than a protection.

The ugliness, the darkness, the anxieties you may hold about yourself and the world do not scare me. We are more alike in that regard than you may think. Creating a safe space has been derided and made fun of, and used as an example of something weak, but my friends, that could not be more wrong. Having a place to go to where you can feel welcomed, wanted, and yourself has so much more good in it than bad. Softness is valuable and very much needed in tough times, for a hug will always be a more revolutionary act than a fist.

Marginalization does so much damage, and this impulse to otherize only makes us more foreign to the humanity inside of ourselves. I have no grand illusions about changing the world, or that my writing can make some huge difference, but I do know if you can be the kind of person others feel safe to go to in times of need, or even just for a break from everything else, you are doing something right. That is a space we should all strive to live in. I, myself, have decided to build a home here, and there’s always a housewarming going on inside.

Come in, won’t you?

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Charlie Cole

Writer • Photographer • Editor • Champion Overthinker • She/Her • https://linktr.ee/charliecole_