I've been gone a while. Sitting in silence. Letting self-doubt and fear do a number on the words pent up inside. A friend told me recently my absence in this world of words made her sad. And her words were like a blow to the center of my chest. Another lets the subject of my worldlessness lie silently between us in our conversations, all the while asking me the question with her eyes.
And now, on International Women's Day, I find myself surrounded, inundated by words from women who refuse to be silent any longer. And I feel the fire lit by their words, burning deep inside my gut. Words about oppression and privilege, silence and truth, position and power. The conversations spark emotion, passion, pain and I feel the words surging inside me for the first time in a while.
Julie Daley is hosting a series on Silence. The result of her words has been a push to end my own silence. Silence I've held, costing me the power of my own truth, because I'm afraid of losing the privileges my silence buys.
Heather Plett over at Sophia Leadership asked the question "how can women change the world and how can we change the world for women?" There have been a lot of wonderful words of wisdom. But for me, the most important thing we can do, for each other, is to share our stories and listen to the stories of others.
The conversation over at Julie's site has touched on the topic of the comparison of pain and suffering. It's an easy game to play - I've suffered more, or less than you. Your suffering is so great I can't possibly understand. My suffering has been silent, and so, non-existent to some. Class or category or description or disability simply separates. But our stories bring us together.
We have lost, in this modern world, safe places to share our stories. We don't honor myth and ritual and story and dreams. I busy myself with all manner of useful activities and starve my soul for lack of real community. But there is energy moving in this world of words on the web. Women - and men - are connecting across miles and cross categories and groupings that might otherwise keep us separated. Stories are being shared. Pain is being held. Victories are being celebrated. Dreams are being honored. And something sacred is being born.
So my contribution, on this International Women's Day, is to break my silence, in spite of my fear. To put my toe into the water. To rejoin the conversation. The blog site needs a little maintenance, so I'll be working on that in the next few weeks. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who have held me in this silence and who have encouraged me to begin again to find the words. I've never been one to dive right in, but the water feels warm, so maybe I'll be fully immersed again before long.