The Strong Women of Comm-Un
Jonathan Lebire

Wow, the days at Comm-Un. It's so intense to be fully immersed in this adventure.
I would like to first highlight the theme of the day: strong women. It's something I've particularly noticed since Comm-Un began. Listening to stories of marginalization or trauma, lending an ear to the women around me, both on and off the street. It's another good example for when I talk about the unacceptable things we accept daily. I'll come back to this in my thoughts on marginalization, but if you look at the percentage of women on the planet, it probably makes them the largest marginalized group in history.
Anyway! All of this brings me back to this beautiful day filled with powerful and inspiring women.
It started off strongly at Santropol Roulant, with Magalie, the coordinator, and Rachel from the Centre de Femmes de Montréal, who specializes in working with Indigenous women. Two women I greatly respect for their integrity, wisdom, and incredible creative abilities. We discussed the future of the magic garden, the possibility of slowly making it a place of hospitality and healing. (Note: here, I was inspired for another text about the CDH strategy, and I returned to write this piece of thought. I'm writing this here, a strategy on the other screen, and reflections on the tablet! Just a summary…)
So, yes, this morning with Rachel, Magalie–just a magical moment where I felt good, understood, supported, and where I also had something to contribute.
You should know that Shlee, a member of the Indigenous team who does street work, had the idea to create an evening where the team of 3 is entirely composed of women. Wow, what a great idea.  The team includes CJ, an incredible Inuit woman who has seen and experienced everything, whom I've known for a long time and always respected. (Wow, if she ever agrees to share a bit about her life journey with us!! I'm keeping that to myself for now, precious information.) There is also Mary, whom I'm happily discovering is a true Polar Bear, if she allows me to say that. Such pure and intense energy. And, of course, Shlee herself, whom I'm getting to know and who has a fascinating spirituality. It's like an active, practical way of being spiritual, unlike the more contemplative or reflective one we're used to. For each of them, I could write hundreds of pages!
And of course, it being Comm-Un, there was much more than that in the day. So you know, my friend May also spent the day at the office, which she rarely does. She's one of the strongest, almost terrifying haha, women that I know. She's one of the people who inspired me to write "Histoire hors du Comm-Un." Someone I've known since the beginning of my journey with this community, over 15 years ago.
All of this is to say that although we experienced many things today, the highlight was clear: seeing all these passionate women around me who have an incredible way of living and of seeing life. So, before I write anything else from the storm of things I want to write, I wanted to sincerely acknowledge these wonderful people with whom I'm walking, who teach me and inspire me.
Also, thanks to a mystery person who tonight inspired me to take my anxiety and turn it into something creative. On a more personal note, you need to get to know me to learn to see it, but I also have my own history, my traumas... So, yesterday and today were super beautiful days, but sometimes those days actually make me more anxious, as it becomes more difficult to manage everything when you have something to lose. A simple comment from a friend, where I felt misunderstood, triggered a panic attack. During an hour of walking, listening to a song by Erykah Badu, "As One", I thought about this person who writes for a living and with whom I exchange. The two thoughts together made me think that I could- should- write songs, or something else, about everything I see, experience, and think. And here I am writing, creatively exorcizing my anxiety from the day. I thought that maybe this is precisely the key to dealing with traumas: creation. Healing is also a form of creation, leaving only a scar. In concrete terms, it's illustrated on the street, where a small benign wound regularly turns into a long infection. So, yes, creation, art, healing are all connected.
Of course, when I'm anxious, at the depths of the crisis I think of the big picture, globally! So thinking back on my suffering, I actually empathize with my friends who, though it doesn't compare, have many more wounds than me. I think about the fact that what we call homelessness is the paroxysm of the unacceptable in our society. I think about what we accept daily as a people, the story of every person who is homeless, the story of our Indigenous peoples which gives you chills. In fact, a percentage of the world's population is immersed in even worse conditions. That as a society, what I see is people who get up every morning in their illusory bubble to “go to work”. But to work on what? What project? The capitalist illusion perhaps as some of my activist friends call it?
We understand and we don't understand at the same time. I may be going too fast for you to follow me, but by this point I was thinking about our reality shows. They all end up having the same principle: survival, justifying eliminations using pretexts, clans, strategies, power, etc. So we clearly see it, we understand it because we use it for entertainment, but then we don’t make the connection with our life. Most work environments are like Survivor, schools are like Big Brother, and so on.
On the one hand we don't know how to manage difference and on the other we still have our primary survival instinct. So we oppress, hunger justifies the means and humans are so hungry...It is this oppression that the system does so well, which serves us as an excuse or justification. A system we created that now pretty much runs the entire world.
Marginality, difference, therefore the possibility of truly evolving, is chewed up, digested and then absorbed by this system. I look at people in the subway, in the media, now tattoos everywhere, piercings, torn clothes, Queer symbols, etc. All the symbols of “rebellion” end up assimilated by the masses.
To complete my flight! I make the connection that perhaps this is what we call colonialism? I have the impression that as soon as there were enough humans grouped together in villages or towns, Power was understood and divided between government and religion, which gave an impression or illusion of balance. History now proves it, Popes and Kings hand in hand... And we have found that the colonial model is exactly the same: integrate a culture that is not yours, understand it briefly, appropriate its broad outlines and include it in your dogma, book, rule or other. How many supposedly Christian holidays are actually taken from other cultures!
Okay, here's what needed to be expressed today. Thank you Comm-Un for taking the time to read and think about all of this. I really believe that it is high time that we rethink our way of living and better understand the relationships we have with everything. The Natives have been saying it for so long, now the ecologists also understand, so it’s our turn Comm-Un ;)
Take care of yourself and those around you...

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