This rings so true, that I cried! . . . I cried a lot. I cried for the author, I cried for myself, I cried for my daughters and my friends.
So many of these examples are ones that made me say “Oh! Me too!”… Sometimes “Oh! Me too!” is a cry of joy, in recognition that someone, somewhere, is experiencing what I experience, and I feel a kinship that transcends the fact that I don’t know them, for we “belong” in some way. But not this time.
This time, “Oh! Me too!” feels like a cry of pain and dismay, in recognition that someone, somewhere has experienced what I have experienced, even if the details are different, and I feel a kinship that hurts because we both hurt, and our stories are not unique, they are all too common and this is the world we all live in together.
There are so many ways in which the world says “don’t be assertive, don’t talk back, don’t stand up for yourself, don’t tell, don’t be so sensitive, don’t demand equality, don’t demand justice, don’t think, don’t show yourself, don’t own your sexuality, don’t be a girl, just … don’t be.”
In my life, I’ve been repeatedly molested, I’ve been date-raped, I’ve been assaulted, I’ve been emotionally and physically abused by people that “loved me”, I’ve been shamed, I’ve been abandoned, I’ve been threatened with death threats, I’ve been stalked, I’ve had things taken from me that should have been mine to keep or give by choice, I’ve been humiliated publicly, I’ve been taught to be afraid of being seen, I’ve been ashamed and afraid to tell people my truths about the violence in my life.
I’ve been practicing this, this telling my truths, for a couple of years now, and still it’s terrifying. But this FEAR is not how I want to live my life! This fear tries to tell me I will lose my family, I will lose my friends, I will lose my dignity, I will lose my self. But the reality is that telling my secrets, and re-defining how I will live my life and who will be in it, actually gives me so much strength and confidence and a new sense of dignity and integrity that I wasn’t able to find in myself before, when I was scrambling to hide in the dark.
So, bring on the light! Shine the light into these dark corners! I will redefine what it’s like to be a girl and maybe I will help someone else do the same thing. Because seeing someone else who is willing to tell the truth makes it that much more possible for the next person. So, I’m saying to myself and to you: STOP HIDING!!!
Thank you to my friend for sharing this post on your facebook page. Thank you for noting that it was 99% familiar to you. Thank you for pointing out that most women have experienced similar things. It made me read it, and it prompted me to share it as well. Much love.