We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.- Audre Lorde, The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.
People sometimes ask what is a book that changed your life? And I always had a hard time answering it. Not to say that books did not influence me or my reading taste, etc, but books that shook the way I thought, or changed the shape of my heart and mind. I couldn’t quite answer that in a way that felt honest to question. After reading SISTER, OUTSIDER I finally found the answer. I think this is a book I found at the perfect moment in my life. At a previous job I never felt comfortable in my own skin. It’s not that I was shy, I just felt like I couldn’t trust myself, I didn’t have the confidence to stand up for what I felt was right and I was constantly second guessing everything I was doing and rarely spoke up if something felt wrong. Reading Lorde’s essay about how your silence will not protect you resonated so deeply with me because if there is one way the pandemic has changed me, it is my refusal to stay silent and not advocate for the things I believe, especially at my job, and sometimes in my private life. Most importantly though is the call to action. Now that we refuse to remain silent, what are we going to do with that energy for everyone’s collective liberation? How are we going to listen to each other and heal our communities as we disentagle ourselves from white supremacy? These are questions I ask myself every day.
Other favorites were “Poetry is not a Luxury” and “Use of the Erotic.” I’m sure I will flip through these pages for the rest of my life, and will never fail to find the wisdom I need. What about you? Is there a book that changed your life?