MARCH 2016: I See You

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This is to the silence, the emptiness, the hollowness and the fragility.
This is to the tomb … This is to the womb. This is to the darkness. This is to the night.

This is to the omission. This is to the forgetting. This is to the injustice.
This is to the day before there is sound. Before there is life. Before there is light.

This is for the woman missing from the picture.
This is for the woman missing from the table.
This is for the woman, absent from decision-making.

This is for the woman who is silent at meetings or who never gets to pray.
This is to the spaces between us and the words that haven’t been said.

This is for the woman who wants to put up her hand, but the air is so thick:
No, you don’t have a place here.
No, you don’t have a voice here.
No, you don’t belong here.

This is to those words, heard and suffered in too much silence.

This is for the woman who doesn’t speak up, because her life feels messy or she doesn’t think she has much to offer.

This is for the woman who can’t get out of her house, her bed, her corner …
This is for the woman who feels wrapped in darkness and feels like every other person on the planet is happy and included and has it all together.

This is for the refugee woman who walks with her husband in the middle of the night to find a new life. This is for the woman with so many questions in her heart. Will we be safe? Will we find the border? How much more of this can we handle?

This is for the woman with a big story, but no place to tell it yet.

This is for the woman who struggles with the darkness within.
This is for the woman who digs deep.
This is for the woman who tries so hard.
This is for the woman who keeps coming up empty.

This is for the woman who struggles with the unquenchable thirst. This is for the woman who fights with her deep hungers.

This is for the woman cloaked in loneliness. This is for the woman, soaked in grief. This is for the woman, heavily burdened.

This is for the woman by the empty bed.
This is for the woman with the hopeless heart.
This is for the woman who is stuck.

This is for every woman who still has a silence around her … a silence that shames or confines or imprisons or holds.

This is also for the women who climb mountains.
This is for the women who roar.
This is for the women who speak up against injustice.
This is for the women who celebrate their magic.

We see you. We feel you.

We feel you in our hearts. We feel you in our own silence. We feel you in the ripples of your roar.

We feel you in our hurting feet and aching hands.
We feel you when we gather. We feel you when we wail.
We feel you when we celebrate.

We feel you, because we are all connected.

___________

Injustice isn’t always obvious. It often employs a blindness. Injustice covers, it veils, it hides, it shuns. The ones who are left out feel it deeply. The ones who are doing the leaving out are often blind to it.

Omission is oppression of the cruelest kind,” says Alia Joy Hagenbach. “It says we cannot or will not recognize the imago dei in you.”

Those spaces between us that exist that aren’t named? This month, we want to name them.
People who don’t feel seen, we want to see you.

May we miss some? We may … But that’s why we need YOU, our community, to help us to speak up, speak out, name the silences, name the oppression, name the hurts, name the forgotten places. Name the people.

We invite you to join us in saying, I See You.

My Muslim sister
My hurting sister
My refugee sister

My black sister
My brown sister
My sister in West Papua

My sister behind closed doors
My sister with the big story
My sister with the bruised face and broken jaw

My grieving sister
My stuck sister
My new mom sister

My older sister
My young mom sister
My feeling forgotten, left behind, is-it-all-over-yet sister.

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On December 30, 2015, one of our regular SheLoves readers succumbed to the pain of her struggle. Our beloved Donna-Jean Brown committed suicide. It has rocked me to my core … to the point that I haven’t been able to say much and yet feel the incredibly weight of saying, NEVER AGAIN.

This is one of our women who is missing.
We can’t NOT speak up about the pain.
We can’t NOT speak up about the ways in which people are hurting.

I See You, Donna-Jean.
I wish I’d seen the pain …
I wish I’d leaned in more …
I wish …

I will let your story remind me to be bold.
To talk about the hard stuff.
To remember your joy and your vibrancy and your feistiness.

Your life speaks to me about the women we don’t see. And I want my eyes to be opened … I want my heart to see more.

I will always remember how you loved. Your life remains a legacy.

I See You, Donna-Jean.

___

Who do you see? Who is missing from your world? Lovelys, please join us this month, by sharing the woman or the group of people you want to highlight. Who is not seen? Who needs to be? TAG us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and share. Please use the hashtag: #icusisi (“Sisi” is a word for “sister in Xhosa.)

Love,
Idelette
XOXO

PS: If you need somebody to talk to, please don’t hesitate:

US: No problem is too small to call: 1-403.266.HELP (4357)

CANADA: Find a list of Crisis Centres across Canada here.

GLOBAL listings. 

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker
  • I am so shocked and sad at DJ’s death. I did not know. She spoke life and blessings into my life at an opportune moment and I am a profoundly different, much happier and more hopeful person now. Oh, sweet Jesus, have mercy on us.

    • I am sorry you had to find out here … I guess there’s no good way to find out …

      YES, she leaves a beautiful legacy …

      • It’s fitting I found out here–it’s where I met her 🙂 I’m so glad you celebrated her out loud. Depression is awful.

    • Saskia Wishart

      I am shocked as well. She left so many words of encouragement here. How heartbreaking. Thank you for telling us Idelette. I feel like “I see you” is more a word of prophesy, a what could be, rather then what is. There are so many who are missed.

      • Yes … May we speak right into those places, calling what is into what could be …

        She is missed …

  • Roos Woller

    So good friend. I’m excited for this month.

  • Kelly Greer

    Tears. We just laid to rest a sweet little princess, 14, neighbors and friends of our daughter’s children. Like family she was. She also took her own life. Having lost a step son to suicide, it is too much grief to bear. Lord help us to really SEE one another. None of us is immune to suffering. We ALL need one another. Because like you say here, we ARE all connected. When one suffers, we suffer. We should care enough to listen and hope that we will be heard. There is nothing more hurtful and frustrating than not being understood. Lord help us to see with your Spirit. Help us to see.

    • Saskia Wishart

      Oh Kelly, I am sorry to read how suicide has claimed two other special lives. What a heartache. Yes, help us to see.

      • Kelly Greet

        Thank you Saskia. The struggle is so real all around us. DonnaJean will be missed as are so many others missing from this place. Help us to see!

  • This is so beautiful and important. Thank you for sharing your heart and your words. So important to remain attentive especially to those on the margins. May our eyes be opened.

  • Lara

    I lost a friend to suicide in July. It’s so hard and I wish I could have done more to help her. I think it’s a unique kind of loss. So sorry about Donna-Jean.

  • I love this, Idelette. I feel the big love you wrote this with and thank you for encouraging me in my struggle. I see my fellow warriors of autoimmune disease who fight for healthier days.

    • Thank you, Rachel! And thank you for naming our warriors … #sisterhood

  • Rachel Ann Smolen

    So much love for these words and the heart behind them and the spirit of love and acceptance that rises in the midst of them. I will return to these words often to keep reminding me to really see. Thank you, Idelette.

    • Thank you so much, Rachel Ann. xo

  • I see you.

    Three life-giving words.

  • Leah Kostamo

    So powerful and so sad. May God give us grace to really see those who feel unseen. Bless you in spurring us on.

  • Overwhelmed.
    The naming of spaces, silences, oppressions, hurts, people . . . a huge assignment.
    It goes against every defensive mechanism, every cowardly bone in my body.
    I see from your words that it is the very thing that we are called to do.
    God, help us.

  • Nicole A. Joshua

    This is just brilliant.
    Thank you for leading the way, for not only articulating what sisterhood is bit also for intentionally living it out in raw, authentic, vulnerable ways.
    It is an honour to be party of the SheLoves sisterhood, and an honour to call you friend. Love you dearly.

    • Thank you, my friend. I love you. xo

  • HeleneBurns

    Wow… beautiful and heartbreaking too – my heart aches hearing about Donna-Jean. Thank you for your words of encouragement to tell someone ‘I SEE YOU’. xo

  • Kristy

    Thank you for this.

    • Thank you for being here, Kristy. xo

  • Olivia Butz

    I believe this is one of the great challenges of our hyper-connected culture, in which we latch onto created identities and tribes and fail to see (or, quite frankly, acknowledge) those outside of those places. May God give us ears to hear, and eyes to see and hearts to love. This is so important.

  • Giving words to break the silence, to pierce the shadows, yes! Thank you for this.

    • Thanks for being here, Debby. Together we pierce the silence. xo

  • cjdeboer

    LOVE. xo

  • I was loving this whole piece but I hadn’t heard about Donna-Jean and this hit me like a punch. Grieving here, too.

    • That’s how it hit me too … Thank you, friend.

  • Jory Micah

    I love this…Thank you Idelette!!! Xo

  • kayla

    late to jump in…but this is so important, literally life or death sometimes. great post.

    • Thank you, Kayla. I know you know this so deeply. Love, xoxo