I am thinking how I can start a Journal of Strength. By that I mean, start to compile a record of what women do to get through – ie what inner strength do they access when things are so dark that it seems not worth going ahead?
When I was in detention (prison) under Apartheid in South Africa, and did not know whether my children were being fed or whether they were being looked after; when I was being beaten by my cruel first partner and I stood against the wall covering my face with my hands; when I was caring for my darling late husband for 24 hours a day after his stroke and I was so tired I could not sleep ----- when these things were happening, what did I do?
I would like to ask women to tell what they do – where they get their strength from. What goes on inside our heads when we feel so low that we are afraid we cannot take the next step? Yet we do take the next step, and we leave a trail for other people to follow, whether it is through our organising in the community, our campaigning, our studies, our poetry, our art, our profession, caring for our families, watching out for our neighbour…... We get the courage to carry on. I would like to hear women say, for themselves, what it is that they DID in those dark moments.
And when I have collected enough of these Strengths, I would like to put them into a journal and make them available through Pulse Wire so that our Strengths will be each other's Strengths too.
All of us are survivors. What goes on in our heads when we think life is not worth continuing with and how do we continue through the next moment – the next day?
For me it was a repetition, my personal mantra I call it. This I remember now, through those dark times at trying to keep our home together, trying to start community projects against much opposition, while being questioned in prison about things I knew nothing about….I remember saying in my head, to whatever was in my way or hurting me (even when I was physically on my knees):
"YOU CAN BEAT ME BUT YOU CANNOT BEAT ME DOWN."
And I still say this today, to Arthritis when it eats into my bones!
What deep inside themselves have other sisters accessed to help them carry on?
If anyone would like to join me in compiling this journal, please write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org, subject JOURNAL OF STRENGTH