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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.