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.