May 5, 2012

So some people might just always going to see you as inferior. Illogical. Incapable.

I tried so long and so hard to get my family to take me seriously, to respect me, to stop dismissing my ideas or feelings when it was convenient. I tried to come up with arguments they just had to accept, tried to tell them how much their behavior bothered me, tried to prove something. Basically I exhausted myself.  I was always too young, too naive, and besides that a girl. But that’s where history came in.

There was such a thing as a feminist movement, and even a civil rights movement! Astounding art, music and literature comes from every demographic. Scores of countries have been ruled by boy-kings, a few by queens. And then there was Joan of Arc! The young girl who saw visions and led armies. When threatened with fire she did not back down. There’s some self-assurance.

“If this was X was true about you Y would happen.” Do NOT fall into that trap of trying to do Y so someone will believe you/take you seriously. Don’t try to prove things on their terms.  You can meet their definitions but you will always find someone else with a different dictionary.

It’s time for you to make your own demands. You deserve to be respected and taken seriously. All humans do. Strength comes from knowing yourself, knowing what the truth is, or at least knowing you put the time and effort in to have credible input. Not infallible, but credible.

People have tried to tell me I’m not feeling what I’m feeling, when clearly I am. But there was always that doubt in the back of my mind: maybe I just don’t matter. I backed down, later hating myself for not having a backbone.

It’s been a process, but this is what has helped me:

  • Researching my beliefs/opinions in spirituality, mental illness, civil rights, ect. so I am sure of myself, not so I can debate them.
  • Journaling through what helps in life and what doesn’t
  • Talking to others who respected me and/or shared my ideas (a shout-out to my yellowstone community!)
  • role models or examples of what not to be
  • using outside sources like the bible or quotes to give my thoughts credibility in my own mind.
  • It’s okay to have an opinion. Objectively no one person is the authority on good music or movies.
  • sometimes you just have to let it go. Let them think what they want. You know better.

These are some of the core ideas (worth, capability, credibility) addressed in Judi Chamberlin’s book On Her Own, albeit in a very specific application of them for ex-mental patients. Judi stresses finding empowerment through consiousness raising. Instead of  trying to tear down the oppressors, you use your strength to build alternatives.

By finding role models and building self-credibility you’re using your energy constructively instead of destructively. 

Praise God for this quiet strength I’m finding.


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