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.