Sunday, October 11, 2009

Speak up


"When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak." Audre Lorde 

     My older sister tells me things I've forgotten. She has told me I never talked as a kid. When someone asked me a question, I wouldn't answer - I would look to her. Relatives thought I was excessively shy. - Maybe some even thought something was wrong with me. 
     I didn't speak. I was too afraid. In school.....I never talked. When a teacher asked me a question - I didn't answer. I couldn't. One teacher told me I was the saddest child she had ever seen. 

     I don't remember being sad. I remember being angry. Very angry. Angry at me. Angry for being stupid - for not being able to talk - for not speaking - for not standing up for myself....Angry at me because I believed my parents were right....I was stupid, worthless, garbage. I failed in school. Everything. I lived in my own world - alone - lost - holding my breath - trying hard to be invisible....to not be seen.  


    I kept secrets. Lost of them. Secrets that hurt me and I would find out later, that also hurt others. I didn't believe I had the right to talk. If I tried to say something...I was told I didn't make any sense. 


    Being silent seemed easier...It wasn't. Silence crippled me - it made me feel different. It made me angry at me. - I held everything inside....then I took it all out on myself; shooting dope, throwing up, cutting myself.


     Over time I learned I need my words. I need them to express what I feel....what I need....what I want. Having my voice...being heard.... gives me a sense of freedom. But....
     ....it's easier for me to stand up for others than for myself. And I still wonder if what I think makes any sense. In a group I'm still afraid to say anything. When I do, the words seem far away...like they're not a part of me.  
      I want to speak....to tell the truth....to tell my story, to maybe make a difference in the life of someone else. 

     This week there was an article in the paper about a nineteen year old girl held in prison for minor acting out behaviours. She had a problem with hurting herself. The guards....the professionals decided to ignore her.....even when they watched her... in her cell, make a noose with a piece of clothing, place it around her throat and pull it tight. The officials said, Don't help her. Leave her alone. She died. Only nineteen. Why? Because someone felt her self-harm needed to be controlled and she needed to be taught a lesson.

That girl needed compassion....She needed understanding. I don't know if she was raped, molested, beaten.....Something was wrong for her to have wanted to hurt herself. And she didn't belong in prison. She hadn't hurt anyone. Just herself. Now she's dead. Why? 

     I remember the professionals who tried to control me. They ended up hurting me, not helping me. I want to speak. I want my voice to be heard.I want to speak out. Speak up. Make a difference.


     I'm working on finding my voice and speaking up. When I'm alone in the woods....when I hear Him whisper in my heart...encouraging me....I wonder if that's why He let me live...to tell.....

22 comments:

Just Be Real said...

The answer to your last question is, "yes." ((((Sarah))))

Andrea said...

AMEN, Sarah! You got it! He let you live to tell HIS story of love through your story of pain that was interceded with divine love, mercy, and grace.

Hugs and prayers, andrea

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Sarah,
Your strength and courage is bursting forth just as you write here on your blog and I agree with Tami.. the answer is yes!!! I wrote a poem called "A Children's Voice" on my post titled 31days of praying for children. I pray that through your writing you will be on your way toward healing and freedom in helping others as well.

Blessings Lorie

Madison said...

I think you're on to something. :) God has a way of giving back more than was taken away. You won't be who you would have been had all this not happened, you'll be better. You will have your voice and it will be a voice heard by many.

Prayer Girl said...

Just keep on speaking. You have much to say and many who need to hear.

God bless,
PG

Denise said...

Yes, He wants you to speak. We want to hear you precious one.

Robin said...

There is so much I could write concerning what you have written. I agree with what has been written already you need to keep writing and speaking. I believed for most of my life I had nothing to say. That no one really wanted to hear what I had to say. At times these words still come, but they are a lie. We do have stories to share and we need to hear the depth of each others journey's. God is with you and he is teaching you how to be confident in him. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Paula said...

Dear One, like you I had no words. However I didnt feel anger, I didnt feel a lot, Mostly numbness and didnt want to be who I am. I grew into a complete fake idendity. Took me years to get rid of it and find out who I behind all these lies. We are all here to words on the way of recovery, to speak up and to heal. It is our quest ofr sereníty, truth and the gratification that we have done our best to live a fulfilled as it was meant to be for us and not was had come upon us in childhood. For me it is that with each staep of healing a bit of my far to early lost innocence comes back. Love to you. Paula

Zan said...

Yes.. you have a lot to tell and I believe you are meant to tell it. Just by writing you are speaking up, I often find writing easier than actually saying out loud the secrets of my past... when you say them they become so 'real'. I'm working on it too though, we'll get there one day :)
Your blog is a great way of speaking up!
xx

RCUBEs said...

Working in a prison environment, that was hard for me to believe that the staff would just ignore that 19 yr.old girl's action of making a noose. Suicidal ideations is not to be ignored. She did need help.

I'm glad that you are able to express now what kept you in fears for so long. May God continue to guide you and strengthen you because now you are a voice that others need to hear. You are encouraging many...They might not leave a comment but you don't know what your words will do to their hearts. I'm glad you're speaking up, and being courageous. Sister, I appreciate all your prayers and all the encouragement you give me...It means a lot! God bless you. May you have a wonderful week. Glory to God!

sarah said...

To read the insanity behind the guards watching and allowing 19 yr. old Ashley Smith die, copy and paste this into google.
http://news.therecord.com/News/article/611584

Then click on TheRecord.com - The Transformation of Ashley Smith

Sarah

Maureen said...

Yes He let you live to tell your story. But that's not all....He let you live to experience His love, to make you His child, to bring the healing that you so much needed, to give you life, even eternal life. To show Himself to the world through you. To hold you up as a trophy of His grace and mercy. It isn't all for nothing, your pain and suffering. Those ragged threads of misery, those colors faded by tears of grief, are being woven into such a beautiful tapestry for all the world to see, for all eternity. He is working all those things, those painfilled, desperate things, in your life together for your good. Thank you Father for rescuing your child from darkness and bringing her into Your marvelous light!

rcubes said...

Thanks for sharing that site...I read it just now. It is a sad story but I'm glad the family is speaking out. Because God knows, how many more are out there in the prisons with undiagnosed mental illness and who truly needs help. What bothers me are those who don't have mental illness and who just pretend and seem to get away from being confined to prison walls. May God help all those helpless souls. Blessings.

Finally Free said...

Dear Sarah,
I am so glad you are finding your voice. It is a beautiful voice. It is "your" voice. Every post I read of yours affects me. You remind me to look at the heart of the broken. To look beyond their actions and gently love them through their thick walls of protection. To encourage them even if they push me away. They are trapped like you were, but they are screaming inside for someone to listen to them. Thank you for sharing.

Blessings and Hugs,
Tammy

flying eagle woman said...

the answer to your last question is "yes" a huge huge YES...there's so much more though...there are so many others who have survived through horrific lives and those who find hope in the words you write...that is SO MUCH A PART OF THE YES in the answer to your last question...blessings and hugs to you as you continue to find the Light at the end of this Tunnel!!!

Mark said...

Thank-you for sharing this story for it can help so many to see that there is more ... there is purpose for each one of us and that is why you are here. We are blessed to have you!

Tracy said...

It's so cool how even this blog is one of the ways you speak!

When you open up your heart and share, it helps someone else recognize their story in yours. It provides hope.

Wonderingsoul said...

Yor voice is so beautiful and so real.
I'm so sorry for the childhood silence... the pain and the anger that you had to keep for so long on your own.
I feel that silence although mine feels sinful and unjustified.

Listening to your story Sarah and sitting with you as you painfully piece it together bit by bit.

X

Maria said...

Thank you for using your blog to speak up! Its powerful<3

Pete Hoge said...

Yes, God wants you speak.

Pete.

Colleen said...

You are right. Being silent was not easier. Speaking out is scary and it is not easy either. But it is healing. For ourselves and others. When it is time to speak out, it is time. For you and me, it is time.

VICKI IN AZ said...

I hear you my friend. We hear you. We are listening. I am grateful for you sister.