When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.
As a writer, I am drawn to story. Fact or fiction, nothing makes me come alive as much as learning from, listening to, and delving deep into what fuels people’s existence, and what stirs their creativity.
And nothing makes me come more alive than hearing, documenting, and becoming entwined in the story and the narrative of women. Be it a story from today, from yesterday, or from a history that lies buried deep in the dusty pages of time, women have a powerful story to tell. And being alive at a time when we are hearing the continuation of women shouting their stories from the rooftops, now more than ever joined by the voices of many incredible men is uplifting and heartening in many ways, and to women almost everywhere.
I can guarantee that every woman you know holds a story that has intertwined into its foundations a deep-seated struggle. Be it a struggle to belong, a struggle to be believed, a struggle to be acknowledged or a struggle to be accepted, it is there- and it has shaped scars in the skins and souls of women everywhere. And what makes the narrative such a painful one to write, tell and experience, is that this struggle has been historically and societally perpetuated by both men and women, in positions of power or privilege.
So how do we change the narrative? How do we step from a place of deep wounds and scars, into a space of recognition and repentance; into the realm of reconciliation and respect? How do we create safe spaces, where we can speak without fear of judgement, live without ingrained and perpetuated shame, and love authentically without agendas?
This International Women’s Day, I encourage you, too, to become immersed in the story. Not with the intention of fixing, or of bringing healing, or of claiming your own innocence. Come with a humble heart. Come with feet that are ready to stand alongside anyone who will let you in. Come with lips that are slow to speak, slow to offer solutions or excuses. Come with ears ready to listen, with eyes ready to weep alongside those whose eyes are wet and whose hearts are broken. Come with arms ready to embrace, to form a circle of solidarity and support around the women in your life who are both vulnerable and powerful, who are hard-wired both for struggle and for strength, and whose presence has been, and continues to be, both soft and subversive in its influence on society today.
And come with a heart ready to be impacted by the struggle of others, simply because it should be the loudest and most powerful narrative of our shared humanity.