The many faces of resistance

Today, I write about resistance, and the many manifestations it can take. There is such a familiar image one thinks of when they see the word “resistance” — a passionate crowd wielding signs and shouting; a defiant gaze against an authoritative figure; maybe even Star Wars?

After a month of the “Reclaiming My Time” workshop, I am realizing that “resistance” can look so different from these preconceptions: a circle of crying faces mourning the loss of a community member; getting up every morning to show your face at an institution that strips you of your identity and culture; and pushing through to have a difficult conversation with a friend.

I am starting to realize that oftentimes, the strongest people are those who don’t shout, but whisper. These are the people that continually try to make themselves accessible and open, in the effort to educate and spread understanding. It takes strength to shout, but it takes even more strength to show restraint, so that the other side may still listen — so that the relationships remain intact, so that your words may live to fight another day for you.

Silence is speech. A whisper is a shout. One conversation can change the world. So just when you think I am succumbing, I am not. I am resisting.


Daily Post prompt: Succumb

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Surviving shame

I got in my car and rolled down my windows. I blasted Placebo through the speakers, feeling a tingle so sharp at having found the perfect song for my angst. I wanted everyone to know I was angry.

I was stopped at a traffic light. I stared at the red like a frenzied bull, ready to go at the change of light. I turned sideways at the driver next to me and glared. I didn’t care if he caught me — he was a man, after all, and men deserved to feel some hate.

Okay, rewind.

I should clarify that I am not a raging man-hater. Nor am I angry all the time.

I get angry when I’m reminded of the injustices and dirty deeds done to girls and young women by men — and not just men… but men they know. I listened to a friend today talk about her experiences with one family member as a girl… potentially two. And as I listened to her shaking voice, I knew that this grown woman has carried damage inside ever since… and shame. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at her. She is calm, composed, upright… and strong. She survives.

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Why does this happen? Why is my friend the one that carries the shame, when this happened to her as an innocent? Why is she the one whose sense of self-worth deflates because of someone else’s crime? She is a beautiful, intelligent, educated, loving woman who deserves a partner who makes her feel like a goddamn queen.

Listening to her words, I could relate. I feel shame, like a fine glaze on my person, every damn day. It won’t rub off. I feel dirty. It makes me feel like I have to overcompensate, be extra nice, be extra apologetic, be something more than I’m not. I can never feel completely whole ever again, and I haven’t, not since the age of seven.

Why are women treated like this?