When I was 19, I thought of myself as a worldly feminist. It was 1997. I was halfway through my university degree in Sydney, and already by that age I had travelled the world and lived in more countries than most people visit in a lifetime. Between the ages of 13-15 I lived in a village in northern Italy and was appalled by the sexism that ran rampant in the culture…why did that old man just pinch my bum? Why is it ok that those boys are whistling at me as I eat ice cream with my parents? And why does that newsreader on TV have her body squeezed into that tiny dress and her breasts pushed up to her chin? When she speaks, why is she trying to seduce her viewers? What I saw and experienced felt very strange to me. I struggled to integrate. And it was this reaction that defined me as a feminist.
As I grew into this label, it made me feel different to the other girls around me, like I must be less naïve, less vulnerable than them. After all, I was worldly, and I was apparently a feminist because I believed women deserved the same rights as men. It made me feel strong.
On top of being worldly and a feminist, I was also experiencing deep love with another human, my boyfriend. And although we had our ups & downs as young lovers do, fumbling our way along the paths that others had paved for us to walk, I knew what it was to be in love, and this made me feel not just worldly, but also, mature. So here I was at age 19: a worldly, mature feminist. In the cocoon of this understanding of myself, I felt safe.
Then something happened that shattered my world…
This is an extract from a very personal piece I wrote on Monday, August 12 & Tuesday, August 13, which, as it turned out, was the beginning of the full moon phase. I have never had the words to express what happened at this time in my life, and in the early hours of Monday morning, I had a beautiful dream. During the dream, the words formed. Although the nature of the event is traumatic, I followed my intuition and took the time on Tuesday to write it all out. It is incredibly personal, and after writing it I realised my website is not the place to publish it. I may, in time, consider publishing this piece in a publication as I know it is powerful and needs to be read by as many young women as possible, in the hope they may understand how to listen to their intuition. For now, it is available to read in full in my patreon collective. And I’ve also made it available on my new password protected journal, for those who are on my mailing list.
“Does your family have secrets? Or maybe you have a secret from your own life experience that you have never shared with anyone? Today Pia and Shona talk about the undeniable link between secrets and shame and how this can stop us from being truly ourselves and also from becoming the strong, powerful women we were meant to be.”
Secrets & Shame is the latest podcast episode on It’s All Up From Here! Click here to listen xx