Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women by Lisa J Shultz and Andrea Constantine
My rating: 3 of 5 starsReviewed by Guestblogger, Jane K. Andrews. Jane is a good, good friend of mine who is an accomplished poet, short story writer and trivia queen. Do not play Trivial Pursuit against her–you will surely lose.
Speaking Your Truth, subtitled Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women, compiled by Lisa Schultz and Andrea Constantine, and illustrated by Janice Earhart, is the kind of collection I could give as a gift to several female friends. They would appreciate the first person accounts of other women who have overcome economic and educational deprivation, as well as substance abuse, spousal abuse, and what seems to be an epidemic of dissatisfaction with well-paying, but soulless positions in corporate America. Most of the women contributing to this book are listed at the end of their offerings as healers, coaches, spiritual directors, or artists of some stripe. Just the kind of people you might guess would take the road less traveled and then establish themselves as landmarks in the MapQuest search for fulfillment and self-actualization. Janice Earhart’s drawings at the beginning of each chapter are jaunty and engaging.
Our resident author Ginny Martin Fleming, who lives in Wake Forest wrote, “Royal Warrior Goddess.” This piece is about the author creating an inspiring image of a princess warrior goddess on a white plastic mask while she attended a women’s retreat. This mask symbolizes clarity, truth and compassion. We learn later on that Ginny suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia as a young mother. These diseases take their toll on their victims not only through insomnia, physical and mental pain, but also through social apathy. Usually the sufferer doesn’t look like she’s suffering, so many times, family and acquaintances might judge that the victim’s disease is “all in her head.” This only adds to the victim’s emotional pain. But through yoga, meditation, journaling and other healing practices Ginny was able to manage her condition. Ginny’s story is very personal yet universal. Through the details she recounts about her warrior goddess and the other trinkets, she reminded me of the many icons and do-dads I keep on my desk to help me create and write.
Despite the title, “The Power of Positive Thinking”, I found the content of Ginny Brannon’s story very inspiring. She reports life with her schizophrenic mother, being sexually molested, and the positive influence of her grandmother with a matter of fact understatement. She credits Norman Vincent Peale with her ability to look on the bright side and wring the best out of any situation, no matter how difficult. It seems to have worked well for her, and her experience resonates more effectively with a modern audience than anything by Dr. Peale. Ms. Brannon is a natural resources lawyer.
The other account I found especially affecting was “Knowing My Roots and Planting My Trees.” Kelly M. Calton’s meditation on how her small town, mid-western values inform her perception and practice in accounting, bookkeeping, and human resources seem genuine. She expresses a deep understanding of the trust and intimacy involved in dealing with other people’s finances.
Back to my female friends who might receive Speaking Your Truth from me for Christmas. For them, the example of women who can publicly own their recovery from various traumas, could provide just the nudge my friends have been waiting for. Somewhere in the six sections, ranging from “Self-Discovery” to “Faith and Spirituality”, to “Finding Your Own Path”, they will discover a familiar story with an empowered outcome. That story, I hope, and the authors and editors hope, will give the recipients the impetus to re-write their own stories with a happy ending.