This week I had the opportunity to sit with a few members at Exodus in an attempt to find material not just for this blog, but information that could bolster my knowledge of how far this organisation has come, so as to assist me in the long term project I’ll be working on.
At the end of the week I had a meeting with Abs, an employee who assists with the general duties and organisational responsibilities both behind the scenes and front of house.
Abs and I revisited the Exodus poetry slam, ‘That Time of Month’ (TTOM) which ran for two years and had only stopped, because the location it was held in was no longer affordable.
There were two themes that struck me in this conversation: transformation and self-expression. While I will concentrate on self-expression in this blog, it seems to lend itself to transformation quite a bit anyway.
When it comes to the lives of others, there appears to be only a few ways we can know about the details, through first hand experience or some form of communication (e.g. verbal, literary or visual).
Likewise, there are a limited amount of people who are privy to our lives, those who are present with us and those who may hear about it after the fact. It’s also quite possible that we experience life completely alone, even when there are people around, and words couldn’t be any more important.
Words are access, access into people’s world: one’s thoughts, feelings and experiences, and since we think in language, words allow us to externalise our inner lives, which enable us in some ways to purge our miseries and despondencies.
How important is it then to allow disengaged young people to truthfully speak their minds? The platform that TTOM provided for our community had profound material effects on those who utilised it, for some it provided an avenue for discussion, support, understanding and expression, where there would otherwise be none.
Truly the word can either create or destroy and it needn’t even leave the mouth of the individual, but when it does, it may invite intervention that could save a life from silent affliction – but that is, if those around care to listen.