Women and Resilience-A Familial Journey

All in a flash it came to me. That is usually how my ideas hit me. In the middle of the night, I will wake up, or I will not be able to go to sleep. This time it was morning, and my French bulldog was laying by my head snoring. I woke abruptly and had a realization. I knew that the women in my life had to tell their stories. The common thread in each story was trauma and resilience. Each of the women in my family had gone through so much trauma, and their resilience that was a part of who they are, to overcome those obstacles, to form them into the women that they are now, is undeniable. If so many women in one family, both my husband’s side and my own, had gone through so much trauma, then telling their stories, and talking about how they overcame the obstacles set before them, could certainly help others.

It dawned on me as I spoke to some of the women in my family while I discussed this idea, that if one family of women, seemingly “normal” from the outside can have all of this trauma, then countless and maybe even MOST families have this level of trauma interwoven within the fabric of their family line. If that is the case, what is “normal?” The world views the idea of a “normal family” as not having problems. At least when I think of the stereotypical “normal family” that is what comes to mind. Isn’t that why mental health is so stigmatized to this day? ‘In order to be viewed as “normal” don’t talk about your/our problems.’ That may not be overtly stated, but it is often understood by family members. Sometimes it is overtly stated, and maybe even threatened.

In one of the interviews I had with my mother, she escaped kidnapping as a child by the grace of God, but was able to get away. She ran to her mother with her brothers. They promptly went to the police and she was interviewed. After the incident occurred, her parents never again discussed this with her. She explained it was because they thought that if they didn’t discuss it, she would forget it happened. I have had countless adults, around the age of my mother, give this explanation of trauma that occurred and their parents never discussing it with them again with the same explanation. “Our parents thought if we didn’t talk about it, we would forget, or if we did talk about it, it would make it worse.”

This same thought process holds true today in many cases. It is typical for people to hide or push down what has happened to them in hopes that it will “go away.” My goal is to bring light to all the brave women in my family as I write their stories, as well as to showcase how their resilience and bravery brought them out of some of the darkest most difficult times of their lives. I think it is important to discuss that unfortunately trauma is more the norm in our society and if we don’t talk about it, don’t admit it, and don’t shine a light on ways to overcome it, we will continue to believe that we are destined to live behind a veil of lies.

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