Nevertheless, she persisted. The journal caught my eye and I grabbed it quickly, with the idea of giving it away to one of you, dear blog readers. I thought I would write a quick little post to go along with the idea of persisting.
As I recall the incident that gave rise to the line, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” writing a quick, light post about persistence doesn’t feel so likely. The line speaks to a woman being told to be quiet, a woman ignored, and persisting anyways. The line may have a spunky feel to it, but it holds pain and a history of injustice just below the surface.
I know the pain is there because I have experienced it. We all have, especially as women. Who hasn’t been ignored? Who hasn’t been told to be quiet?
I have had a world of experience with being ignored, with those who wish to silence me. I think of a loved one turning their back to me, receding. It is easier to walk away than talk. The line, “I don’t know what you are talking about,” was used, often, to shut down conversations. So I speak with those who do know what I am talking about, or are at least, willing and happy, to listen. We tackle together, those things that mystify us.
A line as simple as “He is fine,” repeated and insisted upon, has been used to silence, likely because the opposite of being fine seemed too scary to consider. He is not “fine.” He is complicated, heartbreaking, smart, a whirlwind, and a mixture of ideas and impulses. He is more than fine. We are learning to live with something other than “fine.” Who gives us this bland word to abide by anyways? Who decides “fine” is a benchmark?
“I wish you didn’t feel so much. Life would be so much easier for you if you felt less.” This line begged for my silence and for everything to be “fine.” I tried to silence my feelings for a time, but pain, joy, anger, laughter, and love, kept bubbling up. Life is not easy with feelings, but it is full, and messy, and real. Sometimes it is fun.
Slurs and hollers from unknown men, as I run by. These words are supposed to work as a silencer, a way to state what I am. I make eye contact and assert who I am. I look into their eyes and say “Have a good day.” What I mean is, treat me with basic dignity, we are all human here, and your slurs will not stand and do not speak to who I am.
Silencing and avoidance are techniques used by the broken and fearful of the world. They are used by the frustrated and anxious. Speaking up is for the strong. I have hidden in silence, and begged for silence, and I have also spoken and grown stronger. I want to lean into strength today. Won’t you join me in speaking?
When have you spoken up, when the forces of the world wished you would be silent? How did you walk away from your experience of persisting? What did you learn? Share a sentence or two and then please share this post to be entered into the drawing for the sassy little journal that made me think of you.