Ms. published “Ending the Silence” article & New Website Coming!
I’m so torn. On the one hand, it is gratifying to see my name under the Ms. Magazine Online masthead. http://msmagazine.com/blog/2014/02/10/childhood-sex-abuse-silence-equals-shame/
I have admired Gloria Steinam’s writing, activism and work forever. My boss met her and got her to sign my copy of Revolution from Within YEARS ago when I worked at Little, Brown and Co. I was so proud to be employed by the place that published her work. The writer and activist in me is happy.
The difficult part (the other hand) is reading the comments section after my writing on Facebook and the Ms. site and hearing about so much pain, abuse and childhood trauma. One woman, 69, talked about people who are in their 90’s who are still struggling with abuse issues. Some have told no one til now and are speaking up for the first time. Some have admitted that they were abused but can’t say who abused them.
The reach of childhood can be so long it’s staggering. Women mentioned hurts from not being believed or supported. Some are still carrying the shame that isn’t theirs. It’s tragic.
One person wrote to say it’s great that people are telling their stories but more needs to happen. I agree. And that is one of the reason I will be retiring this blog and blogging at my website (almost done) http://www.healwritenow.com where the focus will be on healing, writing and mindfulness.
Another comment I received publishing my story in Ms. was “You are so brave.” But honestly, at this point, it’s not that brave. And for that I’m grateful. The substance of my life doesn’t change no matter what I write or what activism I do. I don’t have to worry about my job security or housing or what others think. No matter what I do or don’t share, I’m going to get up in the morning, make a cup of coffee and find out if my daughter wants pancakes, a bagel or yogurt with peanut butter. I’ll still be shoveling later today like everyone else. That’s a beautiful truth.
The main thing that has changed is I walk lighter, feel less shame and am excited and motivated to connect with others who embrace healing, wholeness after trauma and who want to make the world a better place.
Individual healing isn’t enough. We live in a culture where violence to women and children is still too common and requires activism. Women didn’t get the right to vote from men who said, “This is just ridiculously unfair. Where is my daughter? Sister? Spouse? Aunt? Mother? I won’t stand for it for another moment.” First a few people have to say, “Wait a minute, why aren’t I allowed to vote? That doesn’t seem fair, feel good, is wrong.” Then, people start congregating and brainstorming.
When Dylan Farrow’s letter went viral, some of the responses were shaming and silencing, but many were not. Many people started talking to each other, in person and online, to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes and the “that’s private” nonsense said to an adult woman who voluntary asked for a public conversation about her father’s actions.
Because we have social media we can reach each other directly. I’m thrilled to live in a time when people can speak directly without being silenced. We can get courage from one another online as well as in person.
When total strangers are sharing on their Facebook pages and dozens of people I have never met comment and share and get active about speaking up and feeling empowered, it makes me happy to my core. Writing truthfully about our lives is a form of activism and is healing. Also, I no longer have the feeling I need to do what I’m supposed to be doing. I feel like I am. And that makes me enjoy EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in my life that much more. I used to be haunted by a feeling that I was off track and not on course somehow and I no longer am. It’s blissful.
The topics are hard. The issues are big. But there is so much joy in my heart and peace in my life. Yay!
P.S. Elephant Journal published my piece on self-care as a second language as well. Yay. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/02/self-care-as-a-second-language-christine-cissy-white/