Speaking Truth to Power, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."
                            ― Ann Rice

Many years ago in another lifetime, I was leaving a marriage, in which I did not work outside the home. I left weeks of prepared meals in the freezer and directions for each taped on the refrigerator door. I had spent our entire marriage trying to earn my keep and my value (since I did not bring in financial income).

I had no concept of personal value or worthiness to him. All I could do is somehow try to control his disgruntlement as the only wage earner in the household.

What was my part of this? I considered myself and treated myself as an indentured servant!  The entire culture we lived in thought about it that way. He with the money has the power and no truth could be spoken to power!

I broke out the only way I had to find value for myself. I got a divorce, went to work and joined women's lib. I really thought we had changed something and that it would be so different for my daughters and grandchildren.

Today, I see not much has changed. Women and men are still struggling to speak up to the one with the money, the one with all the power.

Now, with this "Me Too" movement, this time I hope it is different.

However, the difference needs to come from deep within the silence within me. As I shout "ME TOO", I peer deeply inside and find that quiet place that knows Who I AM and I realize the first truth I must hear is one to myself. It's a quiet voice that says I will not bow down inside, I will not beg for value and dignity. The second voice inside reminds me that I am mine and cannot be devalued no matter how anyone outside myself treats me.

My voice of truth to power, truth to evil needs to be spoken from my empowered truth and not from self-righteousness that deepens the wound. We have really big structural and systemic problems that will take consistency and a lot of support from each other.

Then my outside voice will speak and take up space. It took me nearly a century to learn that. To our daughters and sons and grandchildren I ask, "How can we help?"

Susan Austin-Crumpton
Executive Director & Founder
The Estuary, Inc.