Fluffy rabbits and guilt.

I don’t know who wrote this – I don’t even remember where I was when I read it, so I can’t narrow it down at all – but someone very wise wrote that the primary source of sadness is silence. The silence that occurs when we fail to speak up about suffering, when we fail to speak out about injustice and oppression. The silence that occurs when we fail to speak about our own suffering, when we fail to reach out with our own experience to others who feel alone in the depths of what we too have been through. If the most comforting words are “Me too” – the knowledge that we are not alone – then the most alienating thing has to be silence.

Partly, that’s why I write. I spent so long in silence – in lies – that part of me wants to shout all this from the rooftops. I want to see it on the front page of the Newcastle Herald. I want to see it splashed across the sky: That violence and abuse and ownership still happens, to more women, and men, than statistics will ever show. That I endured this, that I survived. That others will too, because what we’ve been through makes us strong. Stronger than our oppressors, our abusers. Strong enough to continue to put one foot in front of the other, to take the courage to slowly put our lives back together – piece by broken, beautiful piece.

It’s not always pretty, what I write. Sometimes I’m filled with lightness, with gratitude for my many blessings. But I know that sometimes what I write is dark. Bitter. Hard to write. Hard to read, maybe. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. I want to be writing nice things. I’ve done the suffering, the pain and darkness – now I want fluffy rabbits, and chocolates, and pretty flowers, and peaches. I want it to be shiny.

It’s not though. It never will be, because life’s not like that outside of Pollyanna and bad romantic comedies. And I’d be dishonest if I wrote as though everything was peachy, all the time. I’ve done enough dishonesty. So I’m trying to be honest and I’m trying very hard not to feel guilty about it.

Here’s a quote from my favourite blogger, the Bloggess (she’s hilarious. Google her. Sometimes she’s the only thing in my day that makes me laugh):

“… ‘good’ [blogging] doesn’t necessarily mean ‘happy and sweet and positive’.  Some of the best, most important and hardest things to read are critical or painful or bitter.  Sometimes that means reading hard facts about ourselves.  Sometimes that means admitting that there’s a kernel of truth there and that change is needed.  Sometimes it means learning to judge yourself in a kinder way.  Sometimes it means that there are assholes in the world who need to be punched in the junk.  But always, it is good.  Learning and listening and growing is good.”

So I’ll try very, very hard not to feel guilty. Because the Bloggess said so.



6 thoughts on “Fluffy rabbits and guilt.

  1. I think it was Rousseau. And you don’t need to feel guilty … I am sure there are many who, like me, admire your honesty.

  2. Ditto to what your mum said Naomi. It is only in breaking that silence. In sharing the truth be it sweet & light or dark, bitter & hard to write, that others can really understand & reach out to you, pray for you & stand with you. And it’s the only way that others reading your blog, who may have had/ be in similar situations can know they are not alone. The courage & honesty with which you write may encourage others to break their silence. And also, as you write & tackle the hard stuff, the dark stuff & gain deeper understanding of yourself …what wisdom is being formed! A wisdom that I’m sure will be invaluable in your work & in your life. A friend once said to me that nothing is wasted in Gods economy! I am sure that God will use your honesty to minister to minister to some & challenge others! So do not feel guilty…do not apologise…we ‘readers’ undstand, admire & stand with you, upholding you before the Lord.

  3. Today I’ve had cause to think again of this post Naomi & to return to it to comment. I guess because I want my thoughts & comments to be linked to what you said here.
    Today I had cause to thank The Lord that you had the courage & strength to leave.
    Today I want to say shout your message out loud. Talk about the hard stuff. Be the one who is brave enought to talk honestly, courageously & without shame…as you’re doing …because I do believe it can and make a difference. You are one who can really speak to those who are in that situation because you have walked in those shoes. Your voice has experience & true understanding …and therefore an authenticity & authority.
    Today a young girl, 22 years old, the daughter of a friend and one of my daughter’s oldest & much loved friends lies dead. The victim of a domestic violence shooting. How I wish she’d had the chance to read your blog. How I wish she’d had the courage to leave…and stay away…like you. How I wish she’d had someone like you to speak into her life. I cannot help but think of the possible difference it may have made.
    So As we grapple to deal with the reality of it …to process the fact that the news reports are about someone you know & love I want to say to you be encouraged & be bold! Speak out…and let your words flow into the lives of others. Because they have so much potential to make a real difference.

  4. Oh, Caroline, what a tragedy. The world is truly a lesser place for such a horrific event. Sometimes the world’s darkness weighs us down, so much more so when it’s close to home. Especially when it is close to home, though, we do shout our message aloud. We have to. We do it for our own sakes, and for the sakes of those people for whom it is too late. There is one more soul in heaven today, and the world is diminished by it. May she rest in peace, and rise in glory, and may those left behind to grapple with this reality find solace in the love of the God of life.

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