Broken and Kneeling
| by Katie Morris, Co-Founder of SpeakYourStory |
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
It has been a dark 6 weeks for me. Six days before the election, I saw a psychiatrist. My chemicals are off balance again, and I’m depressed, and I needed help. I was prescribed an anti-depressant and a sleeping pill. I was already struggling, anxious and sleep-deprived, and then came November 8th. Now most days, I’m searching in the dark for my words, my fighter spirit, my will.
Before the election, watching Hillary was like a light shining into my darkness. I’d look at this woman who’d been viscerally and abjectly hated for decades step into public every day and speak words of hope to strangers. I fell in love with her strength and grace, and I longed for them in my own life. And my pride, my deepest desire to finally see a woman in the White House…oh it was so strong. To finally see us crashing through the misogyny, the rejection and self-doubt, the dismissals, the leering stares and the violence, and for one beautiful moment to be recognized in our country as capable of leading all people to greatness. My heart was busting at its seams with the possibility.
But then I awoke on November 9th. And here is where I lose the words. What are the words beyond devastation? How can words be enough for the pain that stretches back generations that visited me and so many women I love? Even now there is just a darkness sucking my thoughts into my chest, because there is no coherence in this pain, no understandable language. It is guttural. It is why from the moment I opened my eyes that morning, my body wracked with only sobs. Why when I called my best friend, I could not speak, only cry into the phone. I was bent over, heaving to catch my breath. Devastated.
I kept saying to anyone who would listen – it’s not just that she lost – though her loss, and what that meant to me as a woman, devastated me – it’s that she lost TO HIM.
To this man who rates women on a scale from 1-10.
This man who devalues my existence.
This man who HURTS women. This man who represents everything generations of activists and feminists have fought against. The warrior women who came before me were beaten, raped, and imprisoned for demanding their rights. And the collective energy of these warriors, as well as those rendered powerless and voiceless over the centuries, surrounded us and carried us to the fight, demanded we speak, and work like hell to stop this man. And yet, he won.
I was unprotected. I was wounded. I was angry. I was heart-broken and lost. I was shattered.
Over these past few weeks, I’ve wanted nothing more than to tape and glue and force all my pieces back together. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I don’t want to be diminished in this world, and on November 8th I was left feeling 2 inches tall, like I mattered so much less than I thought. I’ve desperately tried to put my broken heart back together stronger, more resilient, less vulnerable, hardened.
But instead, every few days I’ve been broken all over again. Sometimes it is by the brave women I see – women of all ages, religions, ethnicities and races choosing to be vulnerable and public and engaged. Other times I’m broken by the pain in this world, the oppression, the fear in the faces I see. My tears start and don’t stop until I’m bent over or on my knees, crying out loud for peace and hope. I have found myself overwhelmed by the conviction that I have no where else to go, and so I have prayed. My childhood faith gone so long ago, I pray to Hope. I pray to Justice. I pray to Reconciliation. Yet when I stand up, I am no less broken.
But isn’t this exactly how Truth finds us? Broken, in a heap, praying? Not many days ago, that’s exactly what happened to me. Through a song – one I’ve heard hundreds of times over the years – I discovered perhaps the only thing I know to be true.
Well, maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
And so here I kneel, with no where else to go, offering up my broken pieces and broken Hallelujahs in service to Justice, in service to Hope and Reconciliation. I don’t believe what this moment demands of me (or maybe any of us) is an armored and guarded heart. And I’ve been silent and hiding long enough. So I also offer my broken pieces to all of you, and to this platform that will not be the same in 2017 as it was in 2016. There may be very little light over the next few months, the next several years. But I will be here, and so will SYS, and I will stay public, I will be unashamed, I will not let my brokenness or this awful election keep me from the world.