Be bold, ask questions...
I ask questions for a living, and it is something that is both an art form and a joy. There is an intimate dance that is filled with grace when performed precisely. To watch an agile journalist ask questions is a gorgeous experience, especially when the interview subject willingly surrenders to the process. For as long as I can remember, I have been in awe with the power of questions.
During recess as a first grader, rather than enjoying recess, I hung out with my teachers and asked them adult questions. I wanted to know about my teacher's internal lives and the world outside my rural classroom. My mother tells me that she knew then that I was destined to be a detective or a reporter. I became the latter...
Questioning is not something that we are good at culturally, especially women. Secrets deemed classified are filed away. Too many people live without answers and too many family have secrets that are shrouded in shame. My insatiable curiosity was not something celebrated within my tribe. In fact, the latter was true. My maternal grandma called me a metiche, or Spanish for nosy body and it wasn't meant as a compliment either. As an adult, my daring to engage people in intimate conversation has made some of those around me uncomfortable. And just like my grandma, they'd make a snide comment about my not ever minding my own business.
Thing is, I have never asked just to be nosy or to hurt and open wounds. And I appreciate too that in some cities / neighborhoods / countries / asking the wrong person the wrong question can get you disappeared.
But what I am talking about the cultural aversion to know, dig and inquire something beyond the superficial. I get sometimes people are afraid to know. To know about their health condition, to hear about how they hurt someone, or were hurt, to know that they may not be engaging in healthy behaviors. Questions can only be hard if you are not ready for the answers. But I believe there is an urgency to ask hard questions. Growth happens when you ask.
Do you know where the food you eat comes from?
Just for fun yesterday while grocery shopping I made it a point to know where everything I bought came from. I noticed asparagus from California, wild salmon from Alaska, oat milk from Sacramento, tangerines from Chile. The coat I wore was made in China, and the hat that protected my head from the chilly weather crotchet by Peruvian weaver who has a table on Prince Street in Soho. She said it took her four hours to finish.
But there is the even deeper and more personal questions that I have for me. And the thing is, these questions push me to grow. One thing I learned is that if I ask the question, I must be ready for the answer.
Be hold, have fun, dig a little deeper today. And listen.