The Way Forward
Moderation is not a given, in any respect. It is found in people who have worked hard to cultivate it as a characteristic. Such people understand the fluidity of life and the multitude of colors which exist in the margins of a black and white world, and they are happier for having evolved.
I am a woman of extremes who has had to learn to appreciate the idea of moderation. Few have occupied the crossroads where I live. It’s a place where dualities merge and clash: white/black; male/female; rich/poor; rural/urban; Christian/Muslim; violent/non-violent, I have navigated these spaces and more, overwhelmingly alone. Overcoming child abuse, foster care, survival sex, teen motherhood, domestic violence, poverty, rape, death threats and mental illness may be admirable, but no one wants to talk about these things with me. Seeing through my eyes would mean admitting that we live in a broken system, and that is just not the American way.
Suffering in silence with a fake smile doesn't work for me. My way is to observe, experience, critique and dialogue with others so that things will be better for all of us.
I tried in many ways to tell my story, but there were always obstacles. The biggest ones were the apathy of others, my own commitment to honesty and my lack of diplomacy. I wrote a novel and countless op-eds. As I journalist I found myself relegated to the pages of alternative weeklies and online blogs because of my criticisms. Writing online offered me a chance to see the potential that existed in that space for women, minorities and poor people to share their own stories with one another and to work together to effect change. A series of links led me to Worldpulse, where I’d like to believe I have found the next step in my journey of expression and progress, that of becoming a leader of women and of rising powerfully as a voice of the future.
The thing about moderates is this: they realize when something requires patience, modification or refining. I know my rough edges bite, and I’m conscious of the fact that I need additional training and mentoring. I know my story is painful to hear, and it was hurtful to have lived. In sharing my experiences and suggestions for progress, though, I believe I can help to heal masses of people. I believe I can counter terrorists by advising governments on how to engage those at risk of radicalization; undo racism in individuals and in American society by introducing new integration practices; sensitize men to the realities of women by sharing my story and help other women to know that their stories matter and that they are loved and understood by simply being their friend.
Big goals, for sure, but the voices of our future will have to be bold. The state of our world requires it.