Sharing is how we feel connected. It is how we know that we are not alone in this big scary world. Sharing our stories is our way of testifying, and that is how we overcome adversity. It provides someone else comfort in their storm. I recently read Frances Okoro write about her abortions and the backlash she received from her family as a result. It caused me to ponder on the two-edged sword that comes with sharing and how it affects women in particular.
‘A lady never airs her dirty laundry in public’ is what they say. I have heard that said especially about marriage; women are often advised not to speak ill of their husbands to anyone. Such advice is well taken especially when dealing with trivial day to day marital issues. However, sharing surpasses marriage alone. When women share stories from their past, they are judged more quickly, by their female peers and male counterparts. People say things like ‘that girl has a past’, and that becomes a hindrance to the approach of suitors and friends alike. Is that a double standard? When the musician ‘Lynxx’ declared he was born again and had given up his previous lust driven life, he was tagged to be an inspiration. Men and women everywhere celebrated him. When women do the same, we allow the stench of their past mask, the beauty of their present. However, should fear of ‘whispers’ prevent us from walking in purpose?
They’ll use it against you
This is a valid concern many of us have. We are afraid that if we tell all our secrets and are entirely vulnerable even to close friends and family, our secret becomes a weapon in their arsenal. For this reason many women withhold important details from future spouses, such as; numbers of previous partners, abortions, mental health issues, polygamous family structures, and even real-estate investments
(I kid not). To be fair, why would I tell you something about me if you will only judge me or use it against me when I offend you? Is it not in my best interest to build a wall and stay hidden within it? Or is that even more destructive?
It can kill you
Indeed holding on to secrets and pain can kill. It can become a poison that destroys you and washes away the very essence of who you were supposed to be. After all; ‘hurt people hurt people’ and this is true. If all your pain is kept bottled up in silence, and un-forgiveness, perhaps instead of using your story to heal, you will use your sadness to kill.
Zora Neale Hurston said; “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
I totally agree with the phrase above. I always thought that our past was given to us to fuel our purpose. It may very well be the world’s way of reminding young folk that an alternative is possible. Maegan Goode said; “your message is found in your mess”, I often disagree with her ideology. However, I agree with that statement, Running away from the fact of who we are is a waste of so much material.
How do we find a middle ground? How do we use our stories without oversharing? How do we encourage others with our testimonies without hindering our blessings? Do we need to wait till our blessing is completed before we share? If yes, isn’t our blessing always changing? Do you share your life with others; ups, downs, highs and lows? If you do, how do you do so without becoming a cautionary tale?
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Until next time.
You know Dami loves to chat.
Image Source – sistacurl11.wordpress.com
You can read Frances’s article here
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