“The speaking profits me.”

I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.

My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.

from “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”
~by Audre Lorde~

I’ve long been familiar with the last line of this quotation from the classic essay, published in Sister Outsider, but not with the fuller context. What strikes me as significant today is her insistence on the importance of speaking even if you are misunderstood. Even when communication fails.

Because I can control what comes from my mouth (or my pen, or my keyboard). I can assert my truth in the world; I can use the clearest words available, the strongest language I can muster. But I cannot guarantee that an audience will receive the message I would send.

What Lorde tells us: Speak your truth, regardless.

h/t The Crunk Feminist Collective)

Audre Lorde (via)
Audre Lorde (via)

4 thoughts on ““The speaking profits me.”

    1. I can see how that would be critical, given the issues you teach. Young adults encountering WS/feminism for perhaps the first time can easily find themselves overwhelmed with everything they are seeing through new eyes–writing is the best tool for coping with all that in a positive way. And then to give some of them the opportunity to share their work with your blog audience? That’s powerful stuff!

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