Where do I begin with silence? Does it equal only death, or also nonexistence? When I have been called a dyke in the middle of a movie theatre by a group of boys, did my voice rise at the same time my heart broke? When my lover dropped my hand in the middle of Manhattan, fearing one of her students would see her holding the hand of a woman, did I keep walking with her or did our paths diverge in that moment? When my friend was raised being called a dyke by the people who were meant to love her most, did she re-define family and divide herself?

I do not have enough fingers to count the people, boys and girls, men and women; I know who have been lost due to silence. My father found 4 of my diaries when I was 13 and read them in my face while he drank his evening cocktails. My mother lived in her bedroom and out of her medicine cabinet to numb the pain of an emotionally abusive marriage. My father’s eyes glazed at dusk, another sip for another day, ending in silence. I have sat in stillness when my friend’s mother showed up at my doorstep, her face beaten in by a “lover.” I know too many stories from women I love about being raped. I have watched countless people turn away from themselves because who they grew into was a contradiction to who they were taught they were meant to be.

I feel empowered every time I read a blog on Pulse Wire from a woman questioning the world around her. Through Pulse Wire, I have learned about harsh punishments for homosexuals in Uganda, countless women worldwide speaking out even when faced with death threats and while their colleagues are being murdered…I ask you, what is more empowering than knowing people are listening to you? We feel validated when we know we are heard. We wake up stronger knowing our voices in and of themselves are catalysts for change.

Web 2.0 offers the source of empowerment we all need – validation through being heard and listened to, a platform for collective communication to remind us how we are connected. I have sisters, everywhere and they need to be heard and I need to remember that the path of service begins with a compassionate, empathetic ear. We cannot pose solutions without communication and collaboration and Web 2.0 serves both tasks and provides a forum that will be a conduit for worldwide change. This is what excites me, beyond words, about Web 2.0.

The silencing of women has a long history. Every time we connect, we are unraveling that silence. Every plea for peace is a vibration on my heartstrings that compels me to continue speaking in my community, to teach women here and everywhere the value of their voices, to listen with wild patience as the crescendo of women’s voices transforms from a hum into a gently fierce roar.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.

Comment on this Post


This is such a powerful post. Thank you for sharing. Valerie

For all of life is like that race with ups and downs and all. And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. “Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!” They still shout in my face. But another voice within me says “GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!” DH Groberg

I think it does lead to nonexistence. Have you ever read I Live Here? It is a book written by four authors, although the only one I remember is Mia Kirschner, whom is Jewish. I read an interview with her and she was speaking about her family's history being lost in the Holocaust. Lost, stolen, erased.

My friend's grandfather is dying. He abandoned her father when he was a boy. My friend began to research her family's history online, whatever she could find - she found nothing.

My grandmother died in April. With her, history. Countless stories never passed on. Memories that went mute.

Why does this happen? In some cases, genocide, war, murder, loss. In others, simple grudges held for decades until one person dies with any reported family history. How is it connected to women's voices? How long have women been seen and not heard? What have we lost at the expense of silence? What do we gain each time we decide to break that silence?

And, because I connect to this deeply, the history of lesbians. It has either been predominantly erased or eroticized and transformed into pornography. I think of the Inquisition where countless people who opposed any belief the church projected were murdered as heretics. So many women who were midwives, shamans, Pagans, who were widows, etc. Silenced. With them a love of nature - silenced. Worship of goddesses -silenced. Wisdom of the earth - gone.

I know those are general statements and there is plenty of room to make them more cohesive and referential...but that is what I think of when getting rid of silence. I think of filling in the gaps history has stolen.

Thank you for reading, listening, and responding :)

I am very interested in the gaps in history. The missing stories. The silence speaks to me.

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

I am thankfull for web 2.0 to connect me to your powerfull thoughts.

Please keep writng and be assured you are impacting many.

I am because we are :-)

Dear Mei Li - Your thoughts are inspirational and brilliantly constructed, your writing is visually amazing. I look forward to reading more from you and hope you will share your talents in the World Pulse magazine as well as PulseWire forums. Empowering voices such as yours to speak for and about women will change the world. Continue to be strong, thoughtful, patient and connected to the force.

Mei Li,ech

Your writing never toys with my emotions. They don't play with my heart. They actually make me feel, feel not only for myself but your characters that I do not know and might never get to meet. Your voice constantly echoes the world in which we live in, which can't be fabricated because you are so raw, so healthy for us all. Thanks once again, as always it is an honor reading your work.

I still have a room for you here in Portland, Carri Pence

and...as always...you amaze me with your responses!

I will eventually occupy that room in Portland, and I will remember upon arriving your offer of pesto :)

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

The power of Web 2.0 has been expanded through your story. Beneath of horrors described in your writing is a path that brings light onto the inequities in life. Working to peacefully achieve a balance is important. Keep up the good work.