Happy International Women’s Day. As we celebrate men and women everywhere, we have to remember, it is not just about celebrating women that have broken the silence and that have overcame and tore down the barriers. It’s about demanding social equity, equality and justice.
….. On a more personal note …..
One of my resolutions this year was to ensure I keep my posts positive on Facebook, my blog, and other social networking sites. Although I’m a firm proponent of presenting the “real face,” or a more balanced perspective on our profiles than mere facades of “happiness.” I think that’s also part of what I believe supports the #mentalhealthawareness agenda in the social media era. But I understand why people are more drawn to those who are positive and joyful the majority of the time, at least on the surface, or more comfortable around those who choose not to share aspects of their mental or physical well-being. I understand in part because it does naturally and genuinely make me happy to see others happy, smiling, and enjoying themselves, even when I am hurting inside.
So although I made my resolution to remain positive and informative in my online posts, and perhaps a little less personal, it doesn’t suit my “open book policy.” 🙂 As God always finds interesting ways to challenge us. Sometimes bringing us back to challenges that we experienced as youth, to help us understand what happened, and why it happened to us, and why it keeps affecting us even to this day, creeping up at times when we really don’t want or need it to. Perhaps in order to build our character and our faith and our strength and stamina. Perhaps not to torture us, but to remind us of our purpose in life and why we need to remain steadfast and why it is so crucial we “succeed” at what we are trying to do in our lives, for the sake of others. It is a heavy burden we place on our shoulders, but a necessary one, to help us continue and persevere, especially those moments when you believe no one is rooting for you.
I posted recently on how I think Facebook should be dismantled. Lol. And I came across a very good reason why earlier this year. I think sometimes there are certain friend requests that we receive which may not lead to that usual joy of connecting to another human being that we haven’t seen in a long time. I received that sort of friend request at the beginning of this year. And it was “him.” I’m just not sure if I have the heart to accept his friend request at the moment. It was so long ago, and I was just a child. But from what he did to me, he took away the majority of my years of “youth.” As so many years passed, I had convinced myself and placed trust in God for him to get the appropriate justice/redemption/sentence/whatever, perhaps on the day of judgement Inshallah. I have become heavily reliant on that trust in God, a trust that includes a mixture of hope and uncertainty. Because I know many precious others will suffer in this lifetime, if I release his identity. And I’d rather struggle with this on my own than be a reason for that sort of hurt in others. It may not make sense to most people, and it may not be the right way of thinking. I may be wrong. But I have a sense he knows what he did, and he knows that I know, perhaps partly because I have chosen not to accept his friend request. And there is some consolation in that belief whether or not it is true.
We often equate “silence” in these matters to “weakness.” I had struggled in “silence” for a long time and perceived myself as weak at times. But we need to remember that even that choice to remain silent is a very difficult one. The truth can heal big wounds, given the right amount of time, and we should never be afraid to speak our truths, but in this case, there is strength in silence, as much as there is strength is speaking up. Perhaps in a different way. With all the voices of women and men who have struggled with varying levels of sexual abuse, being elevated, coming out about their experiences, let us not forget there may be twice as much or three times more people that choose silence and heal in other ways rather than spilling their truths. And they all have their unique reasons. There will always be many more untold stories than there are stories that are told…There will always be stories that will also be discarded or not listened to because there was no one there to listen when they broke their silence. Regardless, there is just as much courage, strength and endurance they exhibit on a daily basis, and within that silence.
We need to commemorate or celebrate those women and men who choose silence or we contribute to their marginalization. We contribute to their feelings of negative self-worth if we imply they are less strong because their “strength” is hidden and invisible.
We like to box things up, add a few ribbons and wrap it nicely, but we must never stop thinking outside that “box.”
We must also keep reminding ourselves, as much as we have the right to hold that card up in the air as high as possible, we are not victims. We are not merely survivors. We are WARRIORS regardless of whether we speak our truths or choose silence.
Peace, Warmth, and Blessings,