Do it. Create. / by Kelly Hofer

You probably all know I left the colony a half a year ago.There are several reasons, one is because my definition of love is not accepted yet in society, and because I wanted the freedom to create without always being afraid of the consequences. But being out here for a few months has taught me a lot. It has taught me that I had an irrational fear for consequences.The hutterite culture is too great, too precious to not talk about, too precious to try and morph into what we call the outside world. Here in Calgary I really am able to create what I want, love whoever I want to love, but what one cannot find here in Calgary is the close knit community of people that don't come together just because they have the same interests, but because they want to talk about their normal day to day experiences. It's often hard to get used to the way people segregate segments of population based purely on shared interests.

A ELA teacher of mine recently posted on Facebook, commenting how Hutterites should take initiative and write more about being hutterite. I feel Hutterites should create more pieces of art, be it photos, paintings, poems, books, essays or songs that express how it feels to be hutterite, Being out here, now removed from the culture at home, the few pieces of art that make its way through various channels are so so valuable. I love the hutterite culture, the little connection I get through the art I see is incredibly powerful. I just wish there were more. One of the girls from at home recently posted a photo that her mom took. It's not a spectacular photo, it's a personal photo. It's an incredibly powerful photo even though it's a simple photo of her reading a book to a child in the sewing room. But the environment in which the photo was shot it's so quintessentially hutterite that it struck me how such a simple photo could have such an effect on me. When I first started taking photos and sharing them online I would often get into trouble with my parents or the colony leaders.Eventually I just ignored both and kept on publishing photos. Not because I wanted to be a rebel but because the feedback I got from sharing our culture made me realized that Hutterites had an unquenchable craving to see photos of their culture shared.They could relate to them and that made the photos I posted incredibly powerful. Now imagine how it would be if all hutterites started creating pieces of art and sharing them with other hutterites.It would transform the culture into such a tight knit community that it would astound you. When art is used as a medium for difficult messages, they humanize them. There are so many issues that should be written about in a public manner, topics that have to be discussed. Maybe art can be used to convey the power of education to the colonies that do not fully offer it. Just imagine, the majority of colonies don't offer high school education yet.That is absolutely prosperous. Way back in the day used to be at the forefront of education and artistic expression, what in this world happened to all of that. Where has the pride of our people gone? There is no excuse, absolutely none, to not write about topics like that, if they upset  you. People will get upset but that is exactly what needs to happen for minds to be changed. If everyone is living a comfortable life with their ideas never challenged, they will never change. It's your duty, as a hutterite to embrace art and make our culture one and you are utterly proud to be a part of, not something you try and make as indistinguishable from the world out here as possible. Coming from someone that left their culture you might be thinking I'm being ironic. But I'll let you know that I didn't leave the culture for reasons of being held back, I left because the idea of what love is too narrowly defined and removed from what love truly resembles. Maybe one day the acceptable definition of love will have changed, but I'm not seeing that happening soon. So here I am, totally in love with a culture that for the most part is disgusted by people like me. It's very easy to sit back and wait for other people to step up to the plate and take initiative in creating art about our culture, but make it your job. You will be rewarded by creating a connection with other people so strong that it'll change your life forever. I know it’s hard, but challenge yourself to create something that you would be afraid of showing others, for it is either too truthful, too revealing or because it makes you vulnerable. If you want to say something, say it. If you want to make something, make it. If you want to be someone, be that person. If you want to change something, change it. If you want to do something, do it. If you don't know how to do it, learn. Don't be another person living life like one reads an instruction book from ikea to assemble furniture.

I am writing this because I believe that hutterites can be so much more than they are right now. Nobody gave me permission to write this, I just felt like doing it because I want hutterites to be the greatest culture I know.

And Facebook users, if you quote someone, try and at least to some extent, live up to that quote. Anyone can mindlessly quote quotes. LIVE THEM!