SOLSTICE: YOUR STORY
The stories that lit up 2018, and our challenge to you for 2019
As we approach endings and beginnings, we wanted to pause and reflect. 2018 has been a stark reminder that we are living in a hard, dark moment in the story arc of time. And yet in the dark, it’s the stories of women that have been the light. The stories that, one day, will be history.
In this moment, why do communities like the League of Badass Women matter? Why do more women keep joining our group and others like ours? Why do we all keep coming back for the conversation, the meet-ups, the Power Talks? Is it in part because the League is a place for women to tell their stories, celebrate others’ stories, and co-create new stories?
It turns out these stories matter. Really matter.
We claim power for ourselves and others by telling our untold stories. To break the silence is to light up the dark. Stories unlock the secrets inside of us: the norms accepted, the rules never broken, the slights absorbed. When we tell our story, we challenge stigma and taboo and turn them into revelations and release. To hear your experience in someone else’s story is to no longer be alone with it. The more vulnerable our story, the greater the gift it is to others.
We see this repeatedly when women come together for Power Talks. Everytime you share your story you change another woman’s world.
If History is the story those in power tell about the past, stories of today are symptoms of what a society values or notices. They’re also fables, symbols, cultural narratives. Stories build meaning and significance consciously and unconsciously. They shape us. They’re history in the making.
So much of the storytelling we grew up with has women in negative bit roles: Whore, Bitch, Princess, Fragile, Appendage. To replace such stories with ones of women in their full power is an act of revolution. To create and spread stories of strong black women, of lesbians, of transgender women, women with disabilities, of different religions; to create positive, different narratives about single women, women in work, women at home, women in love, is to change the cultural psyche.
Everytime you celebrate women in the League, you do more than shine a light on them – you dim the gaslighting and start to write the future.
Today we want to celebrate three kinds of stories that lit up 2018:
We are awed as we watch women ‘Become.’ It’s that personal transformation that happens as we each go on a journey to uncover the ways in which we have absorbed and accepted sexism, the ways in which our lives have been shaped by it, made smaller by it. This year we saw women start to tell themselves new stories and in doing so, expand, grow powerful, change, shine, cycling through the anger and the grief and starting to transform.
Yes, we see horrifying new levels of overt structural misogyny around the world being institutionalized by populist governments. But in response to that, here is the 4th tsunami wave of feminism, women & allies rising up to fight misogyny, one March, one #MeToo, one election at a time. It’s millions of women changing their priorities and their lives, to be the change. Women taking power, one seat at a time, across the world. Women shaping a new collective narrative by speaking up and speaking out. To be even a small a part of that story is to be a part of history in the making.
If it wasn’t clear before, 2018 made utterly transparent that structural sexism operates in lockstep with structural homophobia, transphobia & racism. These are the pillars of the patriarchy. The darkness of 2018 has gifted us an opportunity: to have a deeper understanding of privilege, and the blindness it creates in each of us. To wrestle with the complexity of understanding that sometimes we may have been complicit, passive and silent, because of our privilege, our sexuality, our ability, our wealth, our education or our color, blinding us to what was happening all around us but not to us. With that awakening comes responsibility – to act and to fight all structural inequities, not just one. Intersectional gains are the story we have to write together.
These stories are transformative - at a personal, collective and societal level. They’re history in the making. They’re an act of revolution.
So in 2019 here is our challenge to you:
In this moment, never has your story been more important. Because every story starts with your story.
Who are you, beneath the layers of imposed low self-esteem, the self-doubt, the internal misogynist that might still linger? Who are you when you exhale fully? What is your story of becoming, now that you are shedding your story that was? How will you no longer be small in any way? How will you be bigger, how will you live truly as you with no fucks given for the ‘should’s’ and the ‘have to’s’?
How will you love yourself for who you are, rather than critique yourself for who you were taught you should be? How will you take that personal journey and turn it into change? With others, for others? In 2019, what stories will we tell – as individuals, as part of a movement, as change agents?
Here’s to your story and to writing the next chapter together.
Hannah & the team