This is no truer than ever after last Friday’s Barista Graduation event. The final 2012 Barista cohort contained two former Zine superstars–Josh and Justin who rocked it in Zine and, not surprisingly, went on to rock it in Barista.
For two weeks they studied coffee. For five weeks they worked at a cafe serving real life customers at Fare Start’s Cafe at the 2100 building in South Seattle. And for a final week they looked for jobs, getting a chance to get interviewed by current management at neighboring Starbucks.
Last Friday, they celebrated. The Barista Grads made gourmet drinks for their guests and then got a chance to read words of thanks.
Graduation from Barista meant employment success continued from their Zine Project tenure. But, of course, it meant more. It meant a moment of victory for young people still struggling with difficult issues like poverty and addiction that make it difficult for young people to finish things.
Justin, after thanking the Barista staff and his fellow graduates, shared the following:
I had a lot of struggles during the program. Fears of the future, guilt from the past, stuff that matters, and mostly, just stuff that really shouldn’t matter but does. I was scared I wouldn’t finish the program a few times. I hit a rough spot, a rough week really, and I was doubtful I would get out of it.
To quote one of my favorite writers, Hubert Selby, and I’m paraphrasing here: “We despair because we choose to fight against pain instead of letting go”. That clicked on one of those despair days, and I promised myself that I would work to get better. I don’t want to fight pain anymore. It’s just as much a part of me as the happiness I feel here now. And you know what? Its ok to hurt sometimes, because it sure as heck makes these moments when I feel accomplished that much better.
This is a crucial insight. Especially considering that so many youth problems stem from the impulse to fly from feeling pain. An insight gleaned from literature, acted out in the crucible of meaningful work and shared through the spoken word with the young person’s community: this is what Zine hopes for for all of its graduates.
It’s a tall order. But both Justin and Josh did it last Friday.
I had a blast in this program. I am most happy when I’m bettering myself and my craft, be it writing, or running, or making coffee. It satiates me spiritually. My idea of happiness is something that takes struggle and change. Something that is built with my hands. We are the sculptors as well as the marble as the saying goes. And though I’m not perfect, and have plenty of work to do. I’m happy to say that I’m finally sculpting the person I want to become.
Way to go Barista Grads!
Click here to check out more of Justin’s writing in his zine, Unhinged.
Click here to read Josh’s zine The Book of Life.