I’m feeling quite brave today, about using the ‘F’ word.
Last night I made a Pinterest board of inspirational women. It’s a crazy quilt design of poets, writers, philosophers and saints with top stitches in wise words, soul food and polemics. I’m pretty pleased with the results but know too well it is missing all the ordinary women who never made it onto Instagram or Tumblr. This is what is so badly missing here: I have no photos or pithy quotes from the nobodies, their daughters or their mothers. I have no record of the things they said or the things they did, at home, at the end of a phone or stuck in the office. They celebrated their own small victories and failures in their own quiet ways with out the consolation of an audience. But I know that they are there.
Amongst the little circle I call ‘my people’, a saying went around last week on Facebook,
Your voice is valid, even if it not being validated by the people around you.
Over 60 people ‘liked’ that quote, most of them women.
Then later in the week I’m wrecked by a viral video event and I don’t even know why, except the girl is no one famous but out of somewhere she found a voice to say some stuff that obviously mattered to a whole lot of people who had never heard of her before.
Finally, this morning another video story, a woman in Somalia, living out a deep calling, serving others, without salary, support, or fame, celebrating everyday miracles of health and education with ordinary people in a war torn corner of our world. Why has no one told me about this? I just stubbled on her by accident when I’m checking out the world over a coffee, from the quiet corner of life that is my phone.
So I begin to think that Virginia Woolf might just be right, that our stories are not just words but there is a power in the story a woman tells. A woman’s story, authentically told, can unlock truth and freedom for others and is therefore, a story that must be told.