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When you listen to other women’s stories, you begin to understand your own better, and you begin to find ways back through and with each other.
“I cannot help my gender, and even if I could, I would never do anything to change it!” So proclaims twelve-year-old Bethan Evans in her story, Odd One Out. That one so young is already aware of the misogyny still very real in this, the 21st century, illustrates just how far there still is to travel on our age-old journey toward equality. This anthology is a mixture of fact and fiction, and some in-between. The one element which unites them is the strength of the women who walk through the stories. From humorous stories of being bed-ridden to stories of escape from domestic violence, the breadth of experience shows how determined women are to create paths of their own making. There is loss, there is laughter, there is desperation, there is dedication. Whether fiction, non-fiction, or something in-between, the stories are a reflection of a world in which women are too often silenced.
These stories are not always easy to read. Women’s stories are not always neatly packaged. There isn’t always a happy ending. However, they are women’s words, and in their universal truths there is unbelievable power. We invite you to join us here, to read women’s stories, to hear women’s voices.
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
What does it mean to have truly lived? To have loved with your whole being, to have lost your soul mate? What was it like to travel the world in a time when few even had the chance to step foot on a plane? How do you prove someone wrong when they tell you something is impossible? Within these pages, older people share a moment with you.
Moment’s of family, of a lifelong journey to understand destiny, of caring for ageing parents, and of being determined to make dreams come true in the face of cultural differences. Poignant, beautiful, and occasionally funny, take the time to share these wonderful moments.
Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught.
Imagine what it would be like to look into the mirror, and see a person you don’t recognise. A person out of sync with the person inside, the one you know yourself to be. Imagine a world that fails to see you, or doesn’t understand who you are. Imagine having to tell your friends and family the person they’ve always known, isn’t who you really are. Imagine the desire to live authentically, and what that might cost.
Within these pages are some stories from the Transgender community, stories of bravery, of hardship, of amazing support and a deep sense of self-awareness. These stories, many of them from trans youth, show that although the road can be difficult, there are also people there to listen, to help, to support, and to love, no matter where your journey may lead.
“Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.”
Childhood should be about innocence. About fun, trust, and love. But for too many children, it is, instead, about terror, pain, and abasement. This anthology brings together stories from both female and male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Heart-breaking, these stories are about everything childhood should not be, and the devastating results it can have on people throughout their lives. However, these stories are also a testament to the unbreakable human spirit, the inherent need to survive, and, ultimately, the determination to thrive in spite of the horrors they’ve endured. They are about the drive to become more than one’s past in an effort to have a future.
And they also are a message of hope. There is life beyond abuse. There are people out there who understand. You can do more than survive: you can thrive.
The beginning is always today
Throughout history, women have been on the front-lines, fighting for their rights, their freedoms, and sometimes, their lives.
In this anthology, we bring together the stories of women on the front-lines of their own lives. Women fleeing corrupt governments, choosing freedom over abusive relationships, and dealing with familial devastation. There are women who write about what it means to be happy, what it means to be free, and what it means to discover yourself. A college student finds that she likes her boobs while at a yoga retreat. An Iranian woman stands in an airport, fleeing persecution and saying goodbye to everyone and everything she knows. In Sudan, a woman escapes from prison during a typhoon. Here, female authors from all parts of the world give glimpses into the strength, courage, and bravery it takes to be a woman in a world which is often hostile.
Overcoming darkness, terror, oppression, and the systemic dismantling of self, these women find and rebuild themselves. Using a collaborative process, they developed a community of healing and support through sharing their unique experiences of the world. Harnessing the power of the written word, these stories tell of loss, of strength, of hope.
The world seems to have been at war in one place or another for most of human existence. These are the stories of people who have sacrificed so much to protect freedom and serve their countries. They are as unique as the people who tell them, and they show an astonishing determination to survive despite overwhelming odds. Here you will find stories not only from those in the service, but also from their parents, their partners and their children, all of whom must also sacrifice in order to support those they love. Perhaps more than ever before, we are increasingly aware of the often devastating costs to our service members. There are organisations like the Newark Patriotic Fund to help those in need of support, a bit of laughter, and the family-feeling that the service is known for. There is no need to be alone.
In this moving, intense, and poignant anthology, you will find stories of incredible courage, bravery, suffering and determination. From a mother’s description of what it is to let a son go, to a serviceman who faces death but comes home determined to make life what he wants it to be, these stories will move you, and, perhaps occasionally, make you laugh. You will also find incontrovertible evidence of the beauty of survival and the unfailing love and support humans are capable of.
We’ve come so far. Countries all over the world are passing laws that support the LGBTQ members of their communities. Gay marriage is legal in places we never thought it would be possible. And yet, queer youth still face their own obstacles each and every day, some of those having to do with being gay, and some of those having to do, simply, with the human experience. In this heart-breaking and powerful anthology, you’ll read stories about self-harm, about bullying, about gender identity and sexual abuse. But more than that, you’ll read about what it means to over come, to survive, to reach out and know you’re not alone. Adversity comes to us all at some point.
The writers in this anthology have faced more than many of us could imagine. And yet, they thrive and share with you their journeys in an effort to remind us all:
You are not alone.
It’s the 1970’s, and a young man overcomes his fear to attend his first meeting full of gay people. It’s 2013, and a woman watches enough episodes of Bad Girls to know it’s finally time to come out to her family. In a house the Algarve, a woman finds love in an unexpected place, only to have her husband walk in. The political is personal as a man decides he will run for a seat, but on his own terms. A Transsexual woman tries to find a road map through the heartbreak of ending relationships. A football pitch of women makes one woman realise just how hard it can be to get on the inside. A sea shell tells someone struggling with the tension between her sexuality and her faith that she’s going to be okay. Under the bright lights of the stage, a young man plays Samson and realises it’s time for him to take the next step.
These heartfelt memoirs remind us that every story is different, and the journey can be a long one, but in the end, we can be proud of the people we are.