Tale of the Turtle Girl
I have always loved and admired turtles. As a shy and introspective girl growing up, I could easily identify with them. They are slow, quiet, meandering but always seem to get where they need to be.
I was introverted growing up and the very thought of speaking in front a class let alone a crowd brought me to panic. It was as if when I realized I had a voice I became so self-conscious that I lost the ability to use it. The fear of making mistakes, saying the wrong thing brought on a kind of paralysis of speech so intense that I resolved to go through the world unnoticed and unheard. I called myself the turtle girl, retreating into my own shell and gliding by the edge of the sea, hoping to escape notice from any large predators.
The one area where I felt I could express my true self was with pen and paper. It started out quite unintentionally - I had history teacher that would start every class with 10 minutes of writing from our stream of consciousness that we kept to ourselves. I wrote what was on my mind and heart and felt a freedom and release from pubescent angst and awkwardness I had never known. I called it my coke bottle text, written on scratches of loose-leaf paper, which I took home and stuffed into in an old coke bottle. In writing out my uncensored thoughts and emotions I found a way to set myself free from my self-imposed silence.
As introverted as I was, I became aware of the great violence in this world and its impact on women and girls. Though I was hiding in the comfort, safety and security of my shell, I knew I could not remain there as long as injustice and violence against women remained in the world. The call to actively participate has become one I cannot ignore and one that has become increasingly louder and louder for me over the years. I have been searching and seeking a way to lend my voice and experience to women’s empowerment and I have found that here in this online community. Here words are my palette from which I shall paint the stories, the joys, woes of women’s lives and experiences, as well as my own life and experience.
In my journey, my hope and desire is to help create the world I want to live in and leave behind for future generations. It has taken me time, experience, wrongs turns, scenic routes, missed flights and layovers, but the turtle girl has finally arrived!