I just spent the entire weekend with some of the most amazing Gold Star ladies. They were made of strength, courage, and resilience. They shared their stories. The REAL ones. The HARD ones. The PAINFUL ones. But the beauty in it all was their UNRELENTING AUTHENTICITY and VULNERABILITY .
I loved learning from them- It's ok not to be ok. Life is not linear. Life is more like a cork screw and sometimes we end up right where we thought we moved on from. And that's ok. This is our story.
As I was reading Brene's blog this morning it reinforced this weekend more than ever. When we can own our stories we can write brave new endings...for us and our country.
When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.
I know this is true. I may have learned it as a researcher but I live this truth as a daughter, a partner, a leader, a sister, a mother, and a friend. When we push down hurt or pretend that struggle doesn’t exist, the hurt and struggle own us.
I’ve learned that writing a brave new ending in our personal lives means:
Until we find a way to own our collective stories around racism in this country, our history and the stories of pain will own us.
We will not get away from the violence and heartbreak. Fear and scarcity will continue to run roughshod over our country. Yes, the violence in Charleston is also about access to guns and, more than likely, mental illness. But it’s also about race.
Our collective stories of race in the US are not easy to own. They are stories of slavery, violence, and systemic dehumanization. We will have to choose courage over comfort. We will have to feel our way through the shame and sorrow. We will have to listen. We will have challenge our resistance and our defensiveness.
We have to keep listening even when we want to scream, “I’m not that way. This isn’t my fault!”
We have to examine and own stereotypes and prejudices. Every single one of us has them. It will be tough.
We will need to sit down with our children and talk about privilege. This means honest conversations about how we were raised and what we need to work on. No blaming or shaming, but truth. It’s not productive to deny how hard we all work for what we have, but it’s not honest to deny that many of us are afforded privileges based on who we are and what we look like.
Will these conversations stop violent hate crimes? No one knows for sure, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of love and truth-telling.
This is not bigger than us. This is us.
Yes, we need to own a million heartbreaking stories of discrimination and prejudice, and make millions of changes, and hold space for a million tough conversations. But, if each one of us owns one story and makes one change and has one honest conversation where we listen more than defend or offer false comfort – we can do this. There is a way to write a brave new ending to one of the most painful stories in our history. What remains to be seen is if we have the will and courage.
I believe we do.
Strengths-based Development (SBD) is our passion, commitment and life. Team reCreate is devoted to work that creates transformation, meaning and purpose in the lives of those we serve. This space is meant for you to get to know us, learn more about Strengths and hear from others in this line of work. Thanks for being on this journey with us!