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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.

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Comments

Stella Paul's picture

Thanks!

Thank you for not being diplomatic. Thank you for not being perfect.Thanks for not being what would have kept you away from me, us.

And thanks for being here!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

amikijera's picture

Gratitude & Good Days

Dear Stella:

A girl couldn't ask for a better affirmation than that =) What a great way to start off my day...thank you for that and glad to have found you and all the sisters here at Worldpulse. Peace & Blessings!

Amanda

ck's picture

powerful

Hi Amikijera,

I am saddened that anyone has to go through as much pain as you have. I'm gladdened by your commitment to find a way to describe it to others to persuade them to help prevent such pain for others. I love the clarity of what you want to learn and how you think World Pulse can help you achieve your goals.

I'm rooting for you and will keep an eye on your progress.

Carol

ck

cate morriss's picture

find your place here...

Dear Amikijera

You have a wonderful way of confronting without offending - maybe you do have a little more of the moderation you speak of than you realize - a moderation that allows eyes to remain focused on you and ears tuned in to your words, but tuned in to a confronting story that compels us all to wonder if our own moderation is truly one of thoughtful consideration as your is---- or one of fear for what we must do once we know the truth! This is a powerful way to communicate, and you are doing it well. One can only hope that many many eyes and ears will be focused on your knowledge and insight in the future.

keep speaking out - find your audience Amikijera!

Cate

Potter's picture

Beautifully Immoderate

Your voice rings clear and true. While recognizing the utility of diplomacy, you speak honestly and authentically. The diversity of your experiences gives you a perspective with a strong potential for leadership. And while you are open to mentoring or even some fine tuning, I have no doubt that you will always speak with truth and fire. I look forward to reading more.

amikijera's picture

Comfort

Headed to the bus station tonight to start a new chapter in my life. I am terrified.

Re-reading these on purpose before I walk out the door, to remind me that somewhere out there--even in cyberspace--there are people who care. Humbled & Grateful.

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