October 4, 2019

Action Letters, Identity

035 Breaking/Beginning/Faith

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rainbow outdoor mural

“Before you can fight, you have to know what you are fighting for.”

Many different people, most recently seen in this post


There’s nothing like moving through public scrutiny, racist attacks, and difficult electoral loses to slap one (me) into questioning who you are and who you want to be.

This summer I wrote about my own experiences of awakening from very public slaps in the face. When I was writing then, I wasn’t sure where those experiences would take me. Several months later, I see April as the full breaking of a crack in my identity that had been crumbling for several years. I no longer identified as the tough as nails political being I thought I had to be. That political being was tied to a patriarchal definition of political power that didn’t feel right as I came to better understand my strengths and what Lewiston most needed from me.

I have been inspired by Stacey Abrams confident march forward from her own electoral fights of last year: publishing her playbook to help all of us in 2020. I can only imagine the inner grief, fear, and courage she must wrestle with to lead so publicly and hopefully. I can imagine all the other pathways she could have taken instead of making a stand against voter suppression. Stacey had a deeply rupturous break from the path she had worked so hard to build for her state, and in that defeat she has found an incredible beginning.


In my own journey of breaking from an old identity that no longer fits, that of political community organizer, I had to step back and listen to the whispers of my new identity that was emerging: healer, companion, dancer, and coach.

I started to see a space in my mind – I couldn’t stop thinking about it actually. I kept seeing large carts of art supplies and people coming to be creative together. I saw a space for dancing and movement – moving beyond words. I started to see people smiling at each other over computer tops. I realized instead of fighting Lewiston, I wanted to create a garden for growing the type of change I think Lewiston is inherently capable of. 

And so, on July 1st, Up With Community opened Co-Lab Create a community space for collaboration, creativity, and connection. By opening this space, we acknowledge there are many paths to change that are not linear, are not verbal, and are not pre-planned. We want a co-lab where people can incubate their ideas and experiences for community change in Lewiston. We are deeply grateful for all the founding community members and supporters that have helped us bring this space to life.

If you’re in Maine, we hope you’ll join us (and sign up for our updates). If you’re outside of Maine, and looking to nurture a space like this in your community – let’s connect. We look forward to sharing good vibes with you on Instagram.


As I’ve moved from breaking to beginning, I find myself settling into faith. I’m working from a playbook that I’ve never read before, and so the prospects for failure loom large. It’s at this point in any project that we most need to hang on. So many great ideas launch only to fall into the pits of despair, loss of vision, and disconnection. Here we go.

What helps motivate your faith through your own breaking and beginnings? Let us know, and we’ll share.

Check out our Brass Tacks this month with Professor Leslie Hill – she shares valuable insights on moving through new identities.

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