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Pride and Protest: Courage and Growth

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

By Andre Blackman, December 2020

A relative concept from the dawn of time, growth and courage are not constants engrained in each living entity in equal measure. Instead they are given as seeds to nurture and develop with each experience and closing chapter of our lives, from the womb to the tomb.

Each experience can shape and strengthen or can force one to stumble under the rigours of life. Ignorance is bliss, knowledge is power, coal is worthless and diamonds are coveted forever the world over. As with each breath, growth and courage are personal to the bearer: mindset, perspective, grit and reflection. Growth and courage to a child for instance; the first shaky steps that marks a memorable graduation from crawling to walking or being weaned to self sufficiency and independence are major milestones many celebrated taking pride and place in photo albums and social media streams. To an adult growth and courage can come in the form of marriage proposals, starting a family, working daily on forgiveness and patience… letting go… rebuilding.

Personally, growth and courage takes on a quiet reckless determination that embodies renewal, determination and self assured pride. Privacy is power and openness can be seen as vulnerability and taken advantage of or misunderstood. Not being perturbed by what others think is the cornerstone to personal success. There is power in not knowing or understanding. As the author of ones life, in wielding this pen, be mindful that with each experience, good and bad, knowledge has been gained, understanding fostered, clarity forthcoming, balance and peace, much like a garden, maintained with vigilant oversight.

Not all growth is visible nor is all courage loud. Neither does one’s journey need to make sense to another.

Honesty is appreciated, trust is earned and loyalty is returned. These tenants of responsibility confirm that honesty while expensive ensures you have nothing to remember, trust is fragile but its bonds are strong and evident in its son and heir loyalty. With age comes responsibility, with responsibility an innate understanding of the need to do your part, for self and for others... selflessness, within reason.

Know thyself and live unapologetically in community. No man is an island. Having the courage to stand up and fight for those who cannot be fought for or who may have temporarily lost their voice or sight as a result of life experiences is strength. So to is recognising that another has innate gifts yet realised and doing your part to ensure they bloom.

In matters of principle stand like a rock, in matters of style, go with the current. The courage to grow, to find comfort in discomfort, to ignore perception, to explore and challenge or question, to be intentional in continually becoming, messy as it can be, is positive, powerful and the highest form of self-compassion. In embracing imperfection the gifts of perfection, confidence and competence shine through.

It takes growth and courage daily to be brave, to be beautiful, to be honest and always be kind on this sojourn called life.

I am

Our last poems of our glorious Pride and Protest collection, that has taken us from December into January and this poem is such a powerful ode to self love, perfect for the start of another year!

I am written by the wonderful Andre Blackman in 2008.

Read eloquently by Odhrán McNulty, Conor Cupples, Petros Kourtellaris and amazing artwork by Lizzie Knott and gentle sound design by Charlie Foran.

This series has spread so much love and hope, at least for me, and I hope this year is full of this things too. We really couldn't do it without all of you and your wonderful creativity, so thank you so much and all the love and courage to you.

We hope that 2021 is a year of peace for you.

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