Silence = Consent

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston

When I tell a story so personal, so my own, in a public space, I assume that if anyone reads it, they will read it out of sheer curiosity.

My recent piece on Hip Mama has been shared over 600 times on Facebook – if you haven’t read it yet, I’d be so honored if you checked it out. I have gotten a ton of feedback that said, “I resonated with this. I haven’t had the time or space to articulate what is happening in my family, but you gave words to something I needed to express.” As a person who fears that writing about my own life is hopelessly narcissistic, this was so encouraging to hear. I shared my story because I needed to, but hearing from so many people that it was actually helpful to them floored me.

This week, I met with my dance teacher, who is also a priestess in the Yoruba tradition. She asked me to be a part of a group of women praying for an end to the white supremacist hetero-patriarchy. She has been going to the protests every night in Oakland and Berkeley (which have been UNREAL. people taking over freeways, cops pepper spraying them and shooting “non-lethals” from the overpass like snipers), but she reminded me that the external, visible actions will eventually die down. The deep, private, inner actions need to be take as well, in order to create lasting change. This was really encouraging to me – it doesn’t all have to be extroversion and vulnerability! It can be receptive and nourishing to fight the power, as well.

Photo of the Boston #BlackLivesMatter protests, by Ellery Roberts Biddle

Photo of the Boston #BlackLivesMatter protests, by Ellery Roberts Biddle

Another thing I’m hearing a lot is “keep writing.” After getting that email that said “enough” to my postings about race, I tried to really drink in the message that many people did not want to me stop. One friend said, “I will never tire of you writing about race.” This encouraged me more than words can say.

So, this blog post is just a thank you to all the people who have reached out since reading that piece. Thank you for sharing it, thank you for asking me how my family is doing, and thank you for supporting my writing. I’m trying to take it all in, to store it in my body and my heart for those hard times, when the trolls come out from their bridge and seek to shame and silence me.

You have to stick up for your family. If you don’t, who will?

3 thoughts on “Silence = Consent

  1. Rhea, you’re the only blog I follow, so I’ve seen this image every day since you posted it. It’s jarring and convicting and I appreciate the reminder! Thanks for the important content and great writing!

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