What if we can’t dismantle what we can’t deconstruct?

A freedom I have experienced in not working full time for an institution is space to share more of my writing publicly.

I started blogging just about two and a half years ago, but recently I’ve been blocked.

Not blocked from writing, but blocked from writing for outside audiences.

In these moments, getting unblocked is fueled by repeated listening. Hearing a word, phrase, or series of phrases over and over again. Often music.

Blank stares at blank pages,

No easy way to say this.

You mean well, but you make this hard on me..

I’m not gonna write you a love song, ’cause you asked for it

‘cuz you need one, you see

I’m not gonna write you a love song ’cause you tell me it’s make or breaking this if you’re on your way

I’m not gonna write you to stay

If all you have is leaving, I’ma need a better reason to write you

A love song today.

These lyrics are from Love Song by Sara Bareilles.

I probably replayed this song yesterday one hundred times, listening closely to the storyline.

And as I listened a picture formed.

One where folks’ fatigue for listening is glaring.

One where truth is being shared left and right.

One where what we won’t say is in conflict with what we can’t hear.

One where collectives are attracted to problem solving for individuals.

One where attachment to ways of being is high.

One where embarrassment for ways of being is maybe higher.

One where we are angry, still below the surface.

One where our threat is leaving, ending a relationship.

And, one where that threat is maybe not threatening, but honest.

My childhood taught me to pay attention to patterns.

My teen years taught me how to act on my gut instincts.

My twenties taught me that not all learning can be instinctual.

Now in my thirties, I’m learning to recognize the importance of context.

Contextual learning has a view point, and it makes that view point clear. As information is integrated, context broadens and narrows. Context broadens by accentuating trends, and it narrows by accentuating relevance.

Much of my facilitation experience has incorporated three party relationships that operate within ongoing contextual learning. This has often meant that learning is joint, but not necessarily shared.

When asked, what makes you effective in this role, I answered easily, if also facetiously.

I am better at instigating than being instigated. In creating learning arcs, one of the first questions is — how do we tolerate our own learning processes? How do we stay in them?

What takes us from threatening to leave an uncomfortable experience, to wanting to stay?

What helps us differentiate unsafe, unwanted and uncomfortable?

Later Sara Bareilles sings, “Cuz I believe there’s a way you can love me because I say I won’t write you a love song ’cause you asked for it, ’cause you need one..”

She shows a new tone to the audience that is astonishingly clear and compassionate.

She references her boundary and the other person’s needs.

She points to unshared experiences, without changing her response.

She deconstructs before she dismantles.

She breaks down concepts into their smaller parts, so that when the relationship ends, there is a preserved record.

She tells a story in public, and it doesn’t resolve the harm. It doesn’t aim to.

In our learning, our advocacy, our activism, our caregiving, our consumption, our repair work, how do we gain practice deconstructing ideas and experiences?

How do we navigate gaslighting, half-truths, mistruths, emoting and loyalty amidst learning?

A mentor of mine said recently that she has a threshold in introducing her child to new content.

She has to be able to deconstruct the presented ideas.

What could it be like to change our orientation to how we learn, and how we learn together?

What could it be like to value readiness as a threshold in learning?

What could it look like to enter and exit relationships not as threats, but as choices?

Choices that ask us to deconstruct our needs and our ways of having our needs met.

One principle of learning that I embrace is that not all learning is for all places at all times.

We are not often ready at the same times, and past learning creates additional, personal needs.

A sense of urgency can motivate and demotivate us in significant ways.

And still, we are presented with too much risk and not enough safety by prescribing safe spaces.

My childhood taught me that to be safe you needed to be alone.

My teen years taught me that to be safe you needed to be out of your way.

My twenties taught me that safety doesn’t exist.

At thirty, I wonder if there is more safety in deconstructing together, than in learning alone.

I wonder if learning so that we can deconstruct, rather than learning so that we understand, is a goal I am more curious about.

I wonder if recognizing separate parts and combined parts is important for safety.

I wonder if distinguishing and disrupting are skills we practice together.

I wonder if letting things end comes after letting things be shown as they are.

Our thoughts as they are.

Our relationships as they are.

Our bodies as they are.

Our understandings as they are.

Our readiness as important to express honestly.

Our unreadiness as just as important to understand.

Over lavender hot chocolate a friend asked me after reading my first blog post a question I’ve returned to this week.

“Amanda, what if we don’t have to deconstruct alone? What if we give that chance to collectives?”

I write this blog in honor of that question, and how it continues to transform my learning.

Writer. Thinker. Facilitator. Advocate. Invested in accountability for power based violence, creative initiatives, and meaningful, nuanced dialoguing.