I’ve been thinking a lot about Salman Rushdie lately; what lay beneath him taking his stand and what it stood for. There’s a lot to be said about fighting against being oppressed, being made to be silent. The ramifications reach far and wide. I thought about how it applies and was applied to me at one particular juncture of my life.
Currently I have the privilege of working with people who were silenced, abused and oppressed by the very people who should have been caring for them. For years shame silenced them and took its toll, manifesting its destruction in other ways – having a huge negative impact on their lives. My role – is to enable them to speak their truth, find a way of writing it out and conveying it in a manner that makes sense to them, providing a way of understanding how they navigated their way through and more importantly really having their voice heard. It is this and the process of it that enables them to take back their power and sense of self.
I understand their plight on so many levels, I understand the importance of having your truth, your story heard in your own words, I understand the power of seeing your words in print; have the whole story laid out in way that enables you to get to grips with what happened and see through the layers of emotional dust that has accumulated over the years.
As I explained to a friend, since writing my own truth I’ve not experienced the bouts of depression I used to have. The triggers have less power, I’ve found a way of conquering those memories that once had such a stranglehold on me. Fear, shame, disgust or the mere fact of feeling different, always standing on the outside - these are no longer my enemies – they are my guides.
Writing is a powerful tool, a means of understanding, making sense of the spaghetti of the past. The best way for me to deal with my demons was to confront them and I did so through writing. It’s not an easy process but so worthwhile and had I stepped back and accepted being silenced, pushed my truth down who knows where I would be now. So, here’s to Salman Rushdie, for having the guts to stand up to bullies, for creating something that confronted silence, for keeping that dialogue going so that others may learn, question and grow in strength and through creativity.