Week 34′s Change Challenge Question: What would confronting your fear open up in you?
Image from http://www.halftheskymovement.org
I’ve been enthralled in a remarkable two part documentary called Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunities for Women Worldwide these past two evenings. The stories told in the documentary are gut wrenching and inspiring. The heroes in this story – fierce women who put their heart, soul and strength into bringing others out of the trenches of poverty and slavery – found their strength through their own painful pasts and through the sense of belonging that permeates in honest community.
At the age of 13, Somaly Mam was an orphan in Cambodia. A man came to the orphanage pretending to be her grandfather and promised to bring her back to her family. Instead he sold her into sexual slavery. After she escaped, she vowed to spend the rest of her life to help those forced into sex trafficking. One of the most moving parts of the documentary was learning that each of the girls in her Somaly Mam Foundation composes a personalized song detailing their story of pain. Each girl in the foundation learns each others songs, and when one girl sings her story, the other girls sing along in support and understanding.
I learned a great deal through these women’s stories. I learned that there is beauty in the strength of honesty. It was apparent to me, as a counselor, that the women who were the strongest survivors were the ones who worked through their shame and fear and were able to tell their stories freely, tears and all. I learned that there is healing in community, even if it is initially a community of pain (stated so eloquently by Meg Ryan in the documentary).
I believe that, as a society, we are afraid to be honest with our pain and suffering. I look around and I see an emphasis on perfection – how to make your house look perfect, how to be the perfect parent, how to whittle away your muffin top and eat cleanly so you can look perfect – and I’ve bought into it! I have, I have. What I learned through this documentary is that the most beautiful women are not the perfect ones, they’re the deeply wounded ones who reveal their scars readily to help heal others.
So, let me ask you: What would confronting your fear open up in you? Answer to win a $5 Starbucks gift card!