Listening and Telling Stories: growth and empowerment

by Kerry Jordan-Daus @KerryJordanDaus

Six months ago, I wrote a blog, What the xxxx is normal? I was anxious, scared and very unsure of what the future held. Our lives had been turned upside down in so many ways. That blog was personal; I was so worried about my daughter. We’d just got some normality in her life, a huge achievement in navigating the inequities for a young adult with autism. She lost her little job, no college, all her social clubs shut … life in lock down … felt, was, unbearable.

Work and family pressures were immense. I dug a vegetable patch, I planted seeds, watered, repotted and have watched them grow. Nurture, care and love.

Six months like no other in our living memories. And women across my networks: juggling, crying, surviving, adjusting, demanding, performing, showing up and being each day.

On a personal level of sense making I have realised ever more so the strength of unity with my women and #HeForShe friends and allies. The strength that comes from having others to tell our stories and feel that I am not on my own, you are not on your own, we are in this together.

Gloria Steinem

Six months later. My daughter has just completed her health and food safety online training and has her first shifts for a job in a local fast food drive in restaurant. Sheer determination, refusal to be defeated, anger and tears, but she’s got there … what the xxxx is normal?

Those seeds I planted have grown. No luck with my courgettes, but I am harvesting tomatoes by the dozens. My squash plants are huge and laden with fruits. Sunflowers are liberally planted around my garden, smiling at me every morning. I had so many tomato plants, I kept giving them to friends. They now send me pictures of their tomato harvest and happy faces emojis.

Sowing seeds, growing, development, this is my, your, our WomenEd story. Our harvest is each story of survival, success, achievement, support in navigating setbacks, a shoulder, a helping hand, a voice. WomenEd is the place to tell our stories, a space where I, you, we will be heard.

WomenEd grows because of care, nurture, love, determination and solidarity. We grow because we listen to and tell women’s stories.

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