She Strengthens Me

I’m sitting down to write this while obsessing over election results, and – I don’t think this will surprise many – I imagined posting this blog amidst very different news.  Truthfully, I’m brokenhearted.

This week we’re writing about big decisions we’ve made, mainly as writers, but otherwise too.  My vote for the democratic candidate wasn’t a big decision; it was the only choice I could have made. My decision to publish this memoir, on the other hand, feels like the biggest decision of my whole life.

I’ve written here before about the difficulties of publishing Caged Eyes. As of today, I’m now less than three months from publication day, and my anxiety continues to rise. My symptoms of PTSD worsen. Some days I’m not sure I won’t buckle. The single word on my mind: vulnerability. Publishing this story is like a million and a half showing-up-naked-in-public dreams. Some friends have commented in the past that they thought I didn’t have a choice but to tell my story, that it was too compelling, burning too strongly inside me, to hold it in. On the contrary, I’d like to believe I could have easily gone the other way, I could have spared myself from exposing my life to such public scrutiny.

Tonight as I’m watching the results, I’m reflecting on Hilary Clinton’s path to this election, how she has opened herself to infinite more scrutiny and vulnerability than I am. I cannot fathom enduring the public eye in the way she has. Yet she doesn’t buckle. Her strength astounds me.

As so even if today isn’t bringing the news I had prayed for, even if Hilary Clinton does not become the next president of the United States, her strength will continue to embolden me.

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Lynn Hall is a memoirist, activist in the movement to end sexual violence, ultra-runner, and crazy cat lady. Her memoir, CAGED EYES: AN AIR FORCE CADET’S STORY OF RAPE AND RESILIENCE, was published by Beacon Press in February 2017. Her writing has previously appeared in the New York Times, The LA Times, Hippocampus Magazine, The Sexual Assault Report, The Manifest-Station, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and elsewhere. In the summers, Lynn copes with publication anxiety by spending too many days in the Colorado mountains, and in the winters, with pans of brownies. She lives in Boulder with her partner and their 23 cats. Just kidding…she only has five.

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