…a struggle to let you write me…
do I trust1 you?
and you, me?
do I trust you to do the right thing
and inspire confidence?
or do I trust you to do the wrong thing
and inspire expectation?
your story is persuasive2,
more than if you had given me a chronology of events,
neatly ordered and numbered
and coded with the appropriate ‘isms’ and multi-syllable words.
it sounds like it could be mine!
and that makes me feel very vulnerable3.
I am tempted top resist4 the emotions
your story evokes
rather than look deeper into myself to my own story.
my identity is constructed5 from the stories of my life
my identity is tangled in the multiple issues of
my gender, my race, my class6
and how they bump up against another’s issues.
my construction is shaped by
who has authority,
what living means to me.
I won’t use your story to write mine.
as I may tend to reinvent7 my past,
to fit yours,
to give meaning to my present
according to my need to conform
to my public image
rather than my authentic self.
I am not you.
can I honestly revise my story
to find a focus
and so find the meaning of the past
to explain the meaning of today?
it will demand cooperation8 between you and me,
to listen to my story
for the meaning in it for me,
rather than in you for me.
there has been security9 in my silence,
it has been only my story
and no one else has had influence
or could subjugate my meaning in my life.
my meanings have served me well,
are they to serve you too?
is letting go of my silence and my story
becoming vulnerable to your insight
affording me the opportunity to know me, more?
can I realize, do I realize
that the individual needs are restrictive10,
the social needs are enlightening,
from the expression of my story?
I’ll have to rely11 on you
to help me, so that
I can rescue and be rescued12,
from the vicious circle of self-avoidance and complacency
into a re-building of my story
and a re-construction of its meaning
2. Ritchie, p.19
3. Ritchie, p.27
5. Ritchie p. 13
6. Ritchie, p. 12
8. Baier, p. 606
9. Hooks, p. 156
10. Ritchie, p. 11
11. Baier, p. 608
12. Hooks, p.159
Baier, A. (1997). Trust and antitrust. In T. J., Meyers (ed.). Feminist social
thought: A reader (pp. 604-629). New York, NY: Routledge.
Hooks, b. (1994). Talking Back (pp. 155-159). New York, NY: Routledge.
Ritchie, J. S., & Wilson,. D. E. (2000). Teacher narratives as critical inquiry (pp.
1-28). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.