This article has been burning inside me for a while and I finally have the courage to speak openly about it. I hope this article will spark discussion and hopefully help someone who needs to hear these words. For most of my life I have lived silenced. (And before the eye rolls happen) let me explain what I mean by these words. Because as most of you know I am very open now.
At the tender age of 14 I was sexually assaulted. This is not news to most people if you have read my book or have followed my advocacy work with sexual violence. For years I hid this secret from everyone, including my parents. I was silenced by my fear and shame. After the secret was out I continued to live in programmed silence as this was a topic no one spoke about back then.
Move forward to my diagnosis of lupus and again felt as if my voice didn’t matter when it came to my treatment plan. Push forward to my diagnosis of Breast Cancer and AGAIN I felt as if my words didn’t matter. SILENCED by my own paralyzing thoughts of unworthiness.
For a few months now, this topic has come up in my life on many occasions. But none as poignant than speaking to a group of women this past Friday night. I was there to not only tell my story but to launch our non-profit organization. I spoke without a planned speech or words written down to help. I went into this very important night knowing I had all the words I needed inside me. To say it was the best speech I ever gave (not to pat myself on the back) But it was the BEST speech I ever gave. It was me–it was honest, and I was completely in charge of my entire being.
I didn’t know how much I needed to prove to myself that my words matter, that my voice matters, that the words I silenced for so long needed to be heard. I spoke about my journey with Breast Cancer and how I had to find my voice with my doctors, I spoke about finding your tribe who love you unconditionally, and I spoke about feeling voiceless until I found my power.
I know this may be a complete shock to a lot of you to hear this, as I pride myself on Fabulously Fighting. But it has taken me a long time to step into my power AND I continue to be a work in progress. When you believe for so long that your thoughts and voice don’t have value, you hide behind that fear. You make every excuse in the book to not step into the power you possess. I’ve learned from this process that sometimes, the darkest times bring us to the brightest places. That our most painful struggles can grant us the most necessary growth. Even when it’s scary, even when all of our strength seems gone, that no matter how difficult it seems or how powerless we feel, there IS hope.
It occurred to me thinking about this article how many of us feel silenced at some point or another in our lives. That women, whether in the work place, society or even our own homes feel like we are voiceless. But enough is enough…. Staying silent about our stories and struggles serves no one, including ourselves. We are warriors and we lead with our hearts, and our hearts deserve to be heard and respected. So my Fabulous Fighters let this be a reminder of the amazing story you possess and how many of us need to hear your words.
Wrapping you in Fabulous love and light,