Written by Sarah Graham, Producer, Q Theatre
To want. To want to grow up. To want something new. I think I can feel safe in the knowledge that we all know what that feels like. Wanting.
I had no idea what to expect from this year and this Programme; other than the obvious suits, shoulder pads, important looking bits of paper and briefcases, but what I did know, was that I wanted something in myself to shift. I wanted practical ways of being a better person with the possibility of conquering that overwhelming sense of self-doubt and find fresh ways of taking ownership of my seemingly accidental career. Nothing major.
How little did I know what this year would actually bring. No suits, well hardly any, and absolutely no shoulder pads. A heck of a lot of sitting in circles, something I thought I’d let go from my drama school years and engaging in that oh so dangerous and life-changing pastime –
talking and listening to each other.
But what’s struck me the most this year is just how by being part of this cohort and considered equal with such incredible humans, has allowed me to re-engage with the world around me, see it from different perspectives, and be curious. 2016 has seen the world and our own country sit on the precipice of the past and the present, with old views we liberals thought or maybe more naively hoped were disappearing coming back with vengeance; women have a seat at the table but walking home in the dark is risky, we recycle but buy Nespresso machines, and in our very own country, Aotearoa, a sense of other and entitlement still exists.
This world has grown up in so many ways but there is still so far to go when the state of fear overwhelms our humanity. Fear is all around us, in the people we didn’t talk to, in the quick judgment of someone we interact with, in the conversation we’re pretending to listen to while
wanting to check Facebook, it’s all over us and in us, our own fear keeps us safe and allows us the opportunity to sit back and observe the world we live in without ever really having to be in it. This is what this Programme has given me. While I was looking for permission to move forward in my career, this Programme has allowed me to open my eyes.
However, for me, opening my eyes has brought with it a sense of dread, of uncontrol, of wanting to fix it. But mainly, an overwhelming feeling that I myself am not capable of changing a bloody thing. Then I stopped and started to listen, to the questions being put to us. Who are
you? What do you stand for? What is your sense of self-care? Where is the place you can make the greatest difference? And finally, from Pat Snedden, ‘What would you be prepared to be arrested for?’ Through all this questioning I realised we each, including myself, need first to put on that oxygen mask before we can help others, come from our own grounded place of truth and not conquer our self-doubt, allow it to be present, acknowledge it and get on with nourishing our purpose.
I found this quote recently, on Pinterest of all things:
It’s stuck with me. We hurt each other. We hurt our planet. Whether we intend to or not. But we have the opportunity to change that interaction by what we do next, by coming back into ourselves, hearing from someone else’s perspective, engaging in empathy. Because we’re all
different, what we each value is different. We can respect that; we don’t have to change each other. We can find common ground. And we can change the world.