Congruency has also forced me to reconcile my past. I hold a lot of shame about my past, in terms of my lack of and poorly constructed ideas of feminism. In high school two students raped a student from another high school. There were different versions of what happened circulating, however that shouldn’t have mattered. I should have believed her. But I didn’t, I thought that “if two people are drinking then no one is at fault”, “they didn’t know how drunk she was”, etc. Those ideas do not represent who I am or what I believe today. They didn’t represent who I was or what I believed nine months after I thought them. I’ve struggled with this for a long time because I’ve always felt that because I once felt this way my feminism is less than, it’s not good enough, it’s an easier target for anyone who wants to belittle feminism as a phase or “something for sluts”. However, while I still feel a lot of shame for those ideas, my current congruency has little to do with my past. It’s about recognizing what I believe now, and carrying out my life and daily actions in such a way that mirrors those beliefs.
The activity that we did a few weeks ago not only sparked a new fire in me to be more congruent in my future but it allowed me to visual that those thoughts I once I had are not going to stop me from achieving what or changing the world. I did have to recognize the hurt and pain that I caused. The shame and guilt that I casted on her, even if she didn’t know my name or who I was specifically by not standing with her I was standing against her. However those thoughts did not make me ideas on feminism any less important or valuable. It forced me to realize that in order to be more congruent I don’t have be more accepting of ideas that promote an unsafe environment for oppressed people but I have to more conscious to hate the idea not the person; because I was once that person.
WILL has allowed me to have a greater understanding and appreciation for the fact that people are not created perfect; that as humans, we have to go through the pain of self-discovery in order to realize where we need to change or continuing developing. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by a group of individuals who come together to create an open and loving environment for one another as we navigate who we are and who we want to become.
Cierra Carter is a first year WILL member.