Post #6 in my recycling series… only 2-3 more to go, I promise 😉 This one is from September 2015 and the content has been changed a fair bit (the second half deleted and replaced by different content) so it is not actually by rights the same post 🙂
My friend posted a quote on FB for me yesterday. She said it reminded her of me and some of the stuff I’ve said recently about telling my stories.
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”
I’ve said things about telling my stories so others can learn from my mistakes. I had noted an old friend who knew David said she liked my book… and with slight concern I asked her if she was still in touch with him in any capacity. She’s not and told me that he shouldn’t care about events from so long ago, and besides I was nice and concealed his identity. If she wrote a book she would protect the innocent, not the guilty. This Ann Lamont quote just seemed so fitting for me, and I love when people see something that reminds them of you and fits so well – it makes you realize that at least that one person has paid some attention to you in some way or another.
I also strongly believe in telling one’s stories not only for learning from each other’s mistakes, but also to create a sense of community. More than likely if you tell your story, you will find that there are others like you that have experienced similar experiences. It creates a sense of not being alone – and as I have discovered it emboldens others to also tell there stories – or at the least confide in the original story teller. I can’t count how many women have approached me in private to tell me they connect with my accounts of abuse or how many people have come to relay their struggles with depression. Often I get the sense that I am the only person they have told, or at least in a select few.
For a very long time, I had been ashamed of various parts of my past. This was a hard thing to admit to myself, in all honesty. For a long time I pushed certain things down or brushed them to the side; choosing to ignore them. That wasn’t healthy. I realise that now.
Making the conscious decision not to be ashamed, or at least to fight the sense of shame, I had about the abusive situations I endured has resulted in a cathartic release for me as well as serving as inspiration for other women to open up, even just a little bit, and start their own coping processes. It has resulted in changes for the better in my marriage and, I hope, changes for the better in how I interact with my family as a whole. My writing and frank discussions have also served to cause others to reach out for help for their depression – even in crises.
I like to think, though I have no proof as yet, that writing my stories about events that contributed to rape culture have also assisted in opening some people’s eyes to understanding that side of our society – a side that maybe they didn’t recognise or realise was such an ingrained problem.
This is why I feel we all must continue to tell our stories; to strengthen each other, to embolden the victimised or abused, to make real change in our society where it’s warranted.