This is the Journey – It ain’t always nice…

by Joy Faulkner December 7, 2016 A

I was invited to write a blog post on Akala and Mic Rightous track ‘the journey’ and I love Akala so…

This track made me think about so many things:

About our role in challenging injustice,

‘This year I’m encouraging anyone with the courage to go up against the system we’re stuck up in, and if you ain’t with us then fuck it then’

About how we encourage young people to change their situations,

‘Every journey begins with just one step Turn over the page, open the book, just look Every journey begins with just one step Put your foot in front of the other and just move.’

But mainly this track reminded me that it wasn’t written for me. Not really. I can pretend it’s an invitation to journey with young people who are struggling, but at it’s really about the artists inviting their people to journey with them.

It’s a track for young people- not youth workers. (listen to it– it is amazing- just remember it’s not for you!)

The lyrics that really got to me were: ‘I’ve been livin’ in a prison in my mind, you been nothin’ like mine, when you talk pigs fly, what you call this life, what you glamorize is a pack of lies’

and

‘You don’t know shit about us, do not discuss what you cannot suss.’

We do journey with young people but at the end of the day we get to go home, and sometimes because of that with that we can slip into using young people’s journeys to justify our own. Sometimes we buy into the idea that the youth worker with most extreme young people win or that the more dramatic the change in a young person the better the youth worker.  It’s cool to talk about how you were there when the young people you worked with navigated the death of a friend, or being unfairly treated by the police. It makes us feel more credible, more useful, we matter more the more terrible things are for young people, and sometimes we revel in that.

This song forced me to remember that at the end of the day I’m not living this stuff: ‘you wasn’t there when the rental was in arrears, and the bailiffs came to the door. You wasn’t there, didn’t witness the tears, in fact have you ever been poor before? You sure this ain’t Jersey Shore, this is real life, it is totally raw.’

It reminded me that just because you think you’re walking next to someone, doesn’t mean that you’re really with them, and that really journeying with people is about being quiet and listening, listening sometimes without comment and then waiting so that if and when you are invited to speak you actually have something to say.