We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want – to hear you erupting. … If we don’t tell our truth, who will? ~Ursula K Le Guin
It almost seems as though Mother Earth is emitting a primal scream right now, doesn't it? As if so many oppressed peoples, not to mention a planet that's been stripped for parts, are well and truly done with stifling themselves. It's as though the pain we warrior-wives have tended in the shadows is being expressed by all. #MeToo indeed.
Of course, a large part of the current eruption is because too many have been silenced for too long. Too few have made the table large enough to welcome all, choosing instead to protect their own privileged place.
And so we have volcanoes. Voices who are saying "enough". Who are screaming #MeToo. And, wonder of wonders, we're all (well, most of us) are listening. Or beginning to listen.
What about you?
Are you erupting? And if you are (and I hope you are!), who's listening? Because though it's crucial to finally tell your truth – your rage and your pain, which are often twisted up together – there can be no reconciliation without someone to bear witness to it. We need acknowledgement of the pain that's been caused. We require genuine remorse and a willingness to do better. If your partner is unwilling to give you that, why then, may I ask, are you giving him access to your precious heart?
I spent part of a sleepless night recently thinking about forgiveness. I wondered, if my husband were to ask me flat out if I've forgiven him, how I would answer.
And I realized that I would answer "no".
I haven't forgiven him.
I have accepted what he did and I have given up any (futile) hope of undoing the past. I have appreciated all the work he has done to deserve the second chance he was given. I have respected the man he's become and the hard road he walked to get there. And I am able even to love the broken man he was.
But forgiven him for what he did? What does that even mean?
I am a volcano.
Betrayal was my eruption and I continue to erupt. Betrayal taught me that the only way to live an honest life with a big secret was to offer my experience as truth, to embrace my changed maps, to climb new mountains.
"If we don't tell our truth, who will?" asks the incredible Ursula Le Guin.
I tell my truth in many different ways. I tell my truth when I no longer accept anything but honesty and respect from those in my life. I tell my truth when I choose curiosity over fear. I tell my truth when I take a deep breath and open my heart instead of my mouth.
I don't always succeed. In fact, I often fail. But admitting my failures is also telling my truth.
Who will tell your truth, if not you? Whose map can you change by offering up your experience as truth? Whose eruption can you precipitate by affirming their story, by encouraging them to own their truth?
We are volcanoes.
We must erupt.