Rochelle Armstrong | April 7, 2021, | Leading Authentically
If you’re a survivor of any kind, this message is for you. I spent most of my life silent or silenced out of shame. Have you ever been so ashamed about something that happened to you that you kept quiet because you didn’t want to expose the ugly truth? Your silence not only protects you, but it protects the perpetrator who violated you. If you stay silent too long, the roles will reverse, and not only will onlookers think you’re guilty, but even you will believe the lie—the truth buried in your silence.
Say it! Say it loud what happened to you; no one else has to be present in the room. If you don’t, you’ll wake up decades later, wondering why you are still trying to protect the identities of the people who hurt you. Every time we interact with someone, we become a part of their story, so if characters want a more positive portrayal, they should show up in more flattering ways.
Do you think silence will make the emotional or physical scars go away? On the contrary, every moment, of every day, poison from your unattended wounds slowly drip, drip, drip into your veins. It makes you toxic. Not only is the silence poisoning you from within, but it leaks on innocent bystanders, especially those closes to you.
It’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself for what happened to you. You don’t have to protect anyone. You should be protected. But the longer you remain silent and suppress the pain, intentionally or unintentionally, you will take out a few casualties every single day with your toxicity.
Gracefully broken and unashamed—that’s who you are. When you tell your story, you take your power back. There is no statute of limitations that applies to your life. No one gets to edit, direct or produce your narrative. You get to tell your version of the story the moment courage rises. Others are welcome to share their side of the story, but it doesn’t change the fact that you get one of your most valuable gifts back—your voice. Say it loud! Say it proud! I am simply unashamed!