The Quotes That Got Me Through Publishing my Memoir

This was my laptop’s wallpaper through out the months of crafting my memoir:

 

I have posted it on Facebook too many times to count. When I wake in the middle of the night short of breath from anxiety, when the idea of my memoir coming into the world seems too much to bear, I chant it over and over.

Your silence will not protect you.

I had first read Audre Lorde’s essay collection, “Sister Outsider,” in an attempt to better understand my mother, since they were both lesbians of the same generation. (Ironically, my mother had never read Audre Lorde.) I expected to gain some new insight—I didn’t expect it to resonate so deeply. I went on to read more of her work, but of everything I have ever read by Lorde, I found my mantra in her speech, “Language and Action.”

It starts off,

“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.”

and goes on to say that,

 “…what I most regretted were my silences.”

and finally, the quote that has been my mantra these last few years:

“I was going to die, if not sooner than later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

Memoir writing is emotionally devastating at times. The driving force to tell your story is nearly always at odds with your feelings of loyalty and betrayal. There are countless workshops and books devoted to the ethics of writing about family. But Audre Lorde got me through it.

The emotional scars of my life have not been lessened by remaining in silence. I reminded myself that maybe, just maybe, someone else was out there waiting to read my story. Perhaps someone else needs to read my story as badly as I needed to write it.

I started making daily memes of Audre Lorde Quotes to share with the world. I went to SnappyGoat.com and chose one of their random search-of-the-day photos and tagged them with #AudreLordeGoesWithEverything, because she does. Here is a collection of my favorite Audre Lorde quotes. I hope they give you courage as well.

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silence we are still afraid, so it is better to speak.

 

Your silence will not protect you.

 

I am deliberate and afraid of nothing. 

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

 

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Lara Lillibridge sings off-beat and dances off-key. She writes a lot, and sometimes even likes how it turns out. Her memoir, Girlish, available for preorder on Amazon, is slated for release in February 2018 with Skyhorse Publishing. Lara Lillibridge is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. In 2016 she won Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s Prose Contest, and The American Literary Review's Contest in Nonfiction. She has had essays published in Pure Slush Vol. 11, Vandalia, and Polychrome Ink; on the web at Hippocampus, Crab Fat Magazine, Luna Luna, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, and Airplane Reading, among others. Read her work at www.LaraLillibridge.com

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