The gut punch of riveting Senate testimony this week has caused me to feel and to think about what it costs to carry untold truths inside.
Not just me. I believe that every woman listening – those that are able to look inside and to see what’s there-- has remembered her own story. Some are as horrific as Dr. Ford’s. Some are a different sort of story. Histories of being invisible. Histories of expectations. Years of not being able to give voice in any way to experiences.
I am almost afraid to see and make comment about our common threads of experience, as if to diminish the frightening life-changing reality of the worst events. I do not mean to be glib. But that common thread is what makes the worst stories so much a part of all of our lives, even if that was not our exact experience. Women’s experiences are connected. Human beings’ experiences are connected.
Looking at truth and giving voice to it has costs. Always.
And yet, that painful process is the path to being whole.
Haven’t you heard this truth of emotional wholeness expressed in the lives of artmakers? So many stories include a process of overcoming.
”I was told I wasn’t good at this so I didn’t try.”
“I was afraid I would fail and nobody would take me seriously.”
”I did not feel worthy.”
“I always knew there was an expressive being in me, but my work – life – schedule - childhood fears – physical limitations – kept me from making the leap.” And always, overcoming the obstacles is worth the price.
We will be hearing more gut-punch revelations in the coming weeks. There will be posturing and pushback and tribal alignments.
But at the heart of this is the powerful, undeniable truth that we cannot both carry untold truths inside and be well and whole. Wherever each of us is in this process, my deepest hope is that we will choose to fight the fight. Truth does set you free.
(The image on this blog post is a detail of my art quilt, Neither Here nor There. On my website, Journeys and Stories Gallery. I worked to capture the in-between stage of being a young woman-girl, and its accompanying sense of invisibility.)