This is fiercely dedicated to Laurelin and Heart.
“It takes far less courage to kill yourself than it takes to make yourself wake up one more time. It’s harder to stay where you are than to get out.” Judith Rossner.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt.
“The best protection any woman can have …. is courage.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“Risk! Risk anything …. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” Katherine Mansfield.
These quotes are my understanding of parts of courage.
Courage is a place that I have run away from most of my life. I cannot see courage in myself.
But it there surrounding me whether I want it or not.
As Judith Rossner said it there each I wake up, each day I wake knowing my whole life and not cutting away my past because I refuse to face courage.
Courage is making the choice to live when dying would be so much easier.
Courage is knowing that living will be with double trauma.
Trauma of remembering the violence, the hate and the degradation that was and is inside my body and mind.
Trauma of knowing that, and living in a world that ridicules, silences and crushes any words that is said of that past.
Courage is saying the truth through and over the silencing.
But it is terrifying knowing that courage.
It is terrifying to be ridiculed about times where you were tortured, where you at the the brink of death.
This is made into a laugh, made trivial.
A coward would fight back, scream in the face of ridicule, try to say you don’t understand. knowing that will just lead to louder laughter and utter humiliation.
To have courage is to ignore the ridicule, and to continue speaking your truth with a heart of steel.
Courage means the ridicule will deeply hurt, will more than likely place back into body memories and into waking nightmares.
Courage comes from seeing, knowing and feeling the reality of the terror you have lived through. Knowing and feeling under your skin, in every sinews in your body, racing through your every nerve.
Courage is living side by side with the ghosts of your past.
Courage is having all that and choosing to speak out with a roar anyway.
Courage is living with others saying endlessly that your every word is a lie. That if there is a semblance of truth it is just your personal story and has no connection to others.
Courage is knowing your words will be thrown away as signs that you are mad.
To speak truth is smash against norms that accept torture, hate and degradation as unchangeable.
To say an alternative, must be named as lies or madness, for change would shake our society to the core.
To say, men do not have the right to own women and girls for fucking must be silenced.
I say that, and I wonder how they have the nerve to call me mad.
Living with courage is living with fear. Cowards run from fear, or act as if it does not exist.
The courageous see terror straight in the eye. They look it down, often feeling like their guts will fall out of their bodies – but continue with firmness and clarity.
As I write or speak, I have a sickness as I know the tortures I lived through.
Often I have to stop writing to be sick. Often I cannot sleep because I relieved the hell of prostitution.
Often I want to give up. Often self-destruction becomes welcoming.
But courage forces the truth out of me.
Truth is courage.
Once I started speaking and writing my truths, I could never return fully to my life of self-hate.
I still have the shadow of self-destruction following me every day, but courage is facing head-on those emotions and knowing it was poison place inside your by others hate and desire to control.
Self-destruction was one way to survive.
Courage is finding and understanding there is more to life than survival.
Courage is having a life that is ordinary and with peace.
That is a luxury for women who just surviving.
“We must constantly build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” Martin Luther King.