One of my favorite things about driving a long distance is listening to audiobooks. Just this year, I discovered Laurie Halse Anderson. I read her memoir, Shout. I love the writing style, short poetic pieces. It’s empowering for anyone who is a rape survivor. She kept her own rape quiet for 23 years. I’ve been pretty quiet about mine and just starting to see the implications of being quiet about it for most of my life. My family shamed me for speaking about it. Covering the truth is instinctual in the culture I grew up in.
The audiobook, Speak, is her first novel tailored for young adults and is used in classrooms. Wonder what my life would have been like if I had that kind of literature to read in English class. The afterward of Speak is read by Jason Reynolds. I wish every father and mother would listen to his afterward. I wish every father especially would speak to their children about consent.
Currently, halfway through, Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies, by Tara Schuster. Yea, the title is what initially attracted me to it. Already gleaning some tips, from her experience in beating her anxiety and addiction.
My connection to Mississippi as the place I was born and raised has been revealing on many levels as of late. I never felt like I belonged there. Most of the women had blond straight hair and always looked so put together. My hair was brown, wavy and frizzy and I didn’t make looking put together a priority. Like the chairs in my relative’s house that look great but are painful to sit in, there was pain. Any trauma experiences are and were brushed aside, as it’s too ugly to look at and uncomfortable to talk about. Hence, drinking, numbing. I was shamed by a family member for speaking about being raped by my first cousin. In listening to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Shout , I realize how much I suppressed and how unhealthy it has been.
Much of what Gillian May writes in this essay rings true with my own relationship with alcohol. I’ll be 3 years sober in August.
I’ll continue on the path of learning and healing for myself and our world. This episode from Radiolab tells the story of Mississippi’s past, the removal of the Confederate flag and the search for a new one. Shout out to Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy, An American Memoir and Laurin Stennis
Radiolab Podcast: The Flag and the Fury
As always thanks for reading.
What would redemption look like?
Trump would not be reelected. Better yet, he somehow would be removed from office before the election. He would be charged with tax fraud, etc and sent to jail.
Police who have committed murder would be charged and sent to jail.
New programs would be put in place, people trained to actually help in difficult situations ie: dealing with a mental health issues, domestic violence and police would become less militarized.
Every state would offer vote by mail.
Racism would be understood and no longer be an issue.
Closed minds and hearts would open.
My daughter would come to understand that alcohol and past hurts caused me to act in ways I would never act now after years of recovery. I could hold her and tell her how very sorry I am for the times she did not feel safe.
She would realize that he father continued to make sexual advances towards me, after we were divorced and both re-married. He threatened me if I ever told anyone. He told me he would pay for her college education as agreed in our divorce. He didn’t pay. The divorce decree also, stated he would pay me back part of the money I used from my own finances to support us while he finished college. He never actually graduated from college, even though his father cracked a bottle of champagne because he thought his son had a degree. He never paid me back the money.
She would see that even though her step dad was a nice guy and good dad to her, he cheated on his first wife and cheated on me 3 times. He belittled me behind closed doors. Somehow he made it look as though I was the one breaking up our marriage. Closed minds and hearts would open.
The man who raped me would somehow be found out and found guilty.
What’s your redemption list?