I read this quote sometime last week:

“Throughout history, the way women have gained control of the female experience is to talk about what is happening, and what it’s like. We see that women’s lives are more enjoyable, more full, and women are more able to summon resilience when women talk openly about their lives.”

It struck me, not because I feel that I as a woman am not allowed to tell my story.  But because I as a person who lives with chronic and repeated serious health issues am not allowed to tell my story.  I can name some of the reasons which are not unknown to us all: a cultural obsession with health, a need to not be vulnerable.  I can name some of the reasons which are less spoken of: a basic lasting stigma of illness, a desire to medicalize all things related to illness rather than approach the experience of them, the need for illness to be among the things in life that we can fix.  I know these things and I have already chosen not to let them dominate how I live with my illnesses.  And yet there are stories from this weekend that I want to tell, but haven’t started to write yet.  And yet, when I started this post it read, “I read this quote yesterday.”

Penelope Trunk, the author of the above quote, was writing about her decision to be open about her miscarriage.  She has taken some heat for that decision.  (Apparently miscarriages and potential abortions are to remain in the private sphere of life.)  Ms. Trunk has a tendency to be incredibly open about her life.  I don’t necessarily want to draw my boundaries where she has drawn hers.  But I do want to draw my own boundaries, not have them delineated for me.  So today I will post this and start writing the stories of the weekend.  Because I think I should.  Because they are stories a lot of people don’t tell or hear.  But mostly, because I want to.  This is my life.

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