What are you not writing about?
What is vital yet unspoken, what silently underscores your daily thoughts and habits, what drives you and your choices, yet goes unexpressed?
When we use our notebooks to reflect our shadow-sides — the unnamed and unclaimed parts of ourselves that we keep buried — we free great truths and release vast energy. In so doing, we heal and empower ourselves and everyone who reads our work. It’s that huge and that simple.
“The woman who stayed silent” is a chapter title in Sarah Polley’s new memoir, Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory. Sarah writes evocatively about how she experienced violence during a sexual encounter with Q Radio host Jian Ghomeshi but did not come forward when other women were charging him with sexual assault. Sarah thought about it deeply and interviewed lawyers for their opinions before making her difficult decision.
She uses this chapter as a platform to speak about her experience and about the grave difficulties faced by women who take their assailants to court.
I can’t imagine how much courage it took Sarah to write this chapter, in which she dips deeply into her shadow-side, fears, shame and self-doubt.
I do know that this chapter is my favourite in one of my favourite memoirs, because Sarah allows herself to speak her truth, regardless of our judgements, and because she makes a crucial call for justice.
“Where am I holding myself silent?” is a provocative question for women to ask ourselves. The answer —and our courage to write onto it—has the power to alter the world.