The Myth of Safe Spaces

Once upon a time, a peaceful people found themselves together.

As seasons changed, so did the people, and they found their peace became disrupted and disturbed. And the people said this was bad.

Disagreements arose where steady ground once was, and the people said this, too was bad.

A call arose from those loudest, “Our space needs Safety!” And the people said this was good.

As time progressed, the people created rules, laws, and culture that sought “Safety.” And they said this was good.

Yet their shadows, the disagreements, the untended felt-but-unspoken, began to fester and quake. And the people, within their perception of Safety, did not see.
Until one day, the formless shadows found form. In a crash of expression and need to be seen, what once hidden, became known. And the people, though not all, said this was bad.

They went to the elder council and asked, “What do we do? What of our Safety?” they demanded.

The council took pause and said they would discuss and return with their guidance in the morning.

All throughout the day, and all throughout the night, the people heard and felt within the council’s tent discourse, silence, shouting, and laughter.

All the while, the people waited with emotions swirling and needing release. Holding each other, some shook, some cried, some called out in grief of the safety that once was.

Upon the morning, the elder’s tent opened and the council formed its shape around the people.

“Safety is an Illusion,” one voice spoke clear as a bell.

“Without Control, it is but a dream.” a trusted voice spoke.

“Who here, desires to be Controlled?” the eldest of them asked.

Silence covered the crowd as they looked to one another. Controlled? Not I they each thought!

“Is there no one present, who desires dominion over others, desiring also to be dominated?”

“But… what of our Safety? How can we be safe?” a small but steady voice asked from the crowd.

“If there is no Safety, what is left?” asked the first voice, still clear as their voice carried.

Murmurs and discussion arose as the people turned to each other, eyes wide and present to the inquiry, and each other.

As the crowd found they had no sure answers, they began to look back toward the elder council, silent and present in their wisdom.

Finally, breaking the silence, spoke a young initiate who had but only recently returned from their quest.

“What’s left is Bravery.”

At this, the crowd looked to each other with confusion and curiosity in their eyes. The elders smiled.

“Speak further,” the eldest of them requested.

Shy but sure, the youth spoke, “If Safety is an illusion, and what seeks it is Control, then what’s left if, we are to remain with each other, is Bravery.”

Looks of budding awareness crossed the crowd, and smiles arose on the faces of the elders.

“And it is so,” spoke the first voice, “Our space is Brave, perhaps not Safe. Yet we remain together, present, willing, and without the illusion of Control. There may be conflict, there may be disagreement, yet our Circle remains. And we will be Brave.”

At this, the people looked at each other with fresh eyes. They knew, the days ahead would be hard, and there would be strife, and yet they felt something new.

A spark of what had always been there, once stifled by the blanket of illusion, now given space to breathe. Each finding more space for themselves, and each other as fires burned bright within and without, all the days and nights evermore.

And the people, said this was good.


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