Courage & curiosity to ask questions, no one is asking

Leaning into the cold metal machine as a stranger pulled and pushed my body parts into position, my brain went on a little skip around the block weaving through a maze of silent but pressing questions.  This was all routine, but what if it suddenly turned out not to be routine?  How many of the women in the darkened quiet waiting room were writhing internally with fear?  Who designed this crazy test anyway? Why were the lights dimmed in the waiting room?  What did they do with men who needed a mammography?  Was there a special room for the men?  Or did they bring men through a back door and not make them sit half dressed in a ridiculous pink kimono top large enough for an elephant?

The kimono thing lay in a puddle on the chair as the machine began to move, squishing me between the plates. The metal does not warm up.  It is one unforgiving machine.  I watch as the poundage of the pressure increases.  "Don't move.  Hold your breath."

Sure, easier said than done when you are so cold you need to shiver to stay warm. Only one question remains and I have to ask, "Does this machine have an automatic release if the power goes off?"

She said I was the first person to ever ask that question.  I am confident many women before me have wanted to ask, but it made me reflect on a similar incident years ago when I went to a massage therapist for the first time.  It was winter in Alberta.  The clinic was on the second floor of a professional building located on a busy thoroughfare.  I was given the usual instructions to disrobe and my curiosity kicked into high gear.  What if there was a fire alarm?  Was there a robe I could grab before I had to run downstairs and out onto the busy street?  Or would I be the crazy half-naked lady in the stairwell exiting with all the suits and medical professionals?  I had to ask, "What happens if the fire alarm goes off?"

No one ever asked that question before, according to the massage therapist.  If no one is asking those kind of questions, is anyone asking the hard questions?  There are so many more important questions we need to be asking about the world we live in.  How is it possible that Boko Haram have kidnapped another hundred young girls from school and the world remains largely silent?  Why are children in the USA having to - in the words of Steven Levingson, "shame adults into discovering their conscience?"  What questions must we ask and answer in Canada if we want to begin to heal the messes in our own backyard?

We will need a sprinkle of curiosity and courage if we are going to ask the hard questions.  I'm afraid we are pulling back from asking hard questions out of fear.   We are afraid to ask if we don't know the answer.  We are scared of backlash and trolls.  We don't want to have important questions reduced to ridiculous hate filled social media exchanges.  There are two options we can pursue.  We can sit quietly on the sidelines in the hope that injustice around us doesn't spill over into our nice lives, or we can begin to rumble with the stories in an effort to find the truth.

"Curiosity is a shit-starter.  But that's okay, sometimes we have to rumble with a story to find the truth."
Brene Brown

Thanks for reading, this one wasn't light!  If it made you think, please share with your communities and offer your comments.


  1. "If no one is asking those kind of questions, is anyone asking the hard questions?" SO TRUE. So many of us are walking through live on automatic, not questioning when there are so many things to be questioned. How can we encourage and create a culture of curiosity, even when, or maybe especially because, it is a shit-starter? Thanks for this!

    1. Hi Allison! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm glad the blog resonated with you. Here's to a week filled with asking questions.


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