By Silvia Young
Founder FemTruth™️ & FemTruth Youth, 501c3
My real life was my darkest secret. It’s a story of shame, stigma, gaslighting, and uncovering the underbelly of the patriarchy and how my life was crushed by it. From my first memory, I was told not to believe my reality. I didn’t have a right to that voice because my agency was inconsequential to my existence. My voice was beyond the scope of what anyone in my life wanted the burden of hearing. It wasn’t until I made the connection that my story could help alleviate someone else’s suffering did I decide to write. I couldn’t bear for anyone to endure a lifetime in my prison of pain and isolation. I wrote myself out of the darkness and into the light. I refused to have the legacy of bystanding in human rights violations when I had the privilege of storytelling and social justice organizing and the strength of unwavering compassion.
Words are everything, and to be heard is a special art of connecting the right words to the right audience at the right time. That’s how FemTruth began. I didn’t know at the time that I would write a series of published works under “FemTruth” as I researched, dissected, and carefully pieced together a new language. I was my first audience. I had to make sense of myself. It was private. I was well aware that the vastness of counter storytelling is met with cynicism, but once I started to gain my bearings, I became determined to unravel untruths and uncover a systemically secret world we’d been told didn’t exist.
We are everywhere. Living a lie, wearing social masks to appease the norms of our environments, putting the comfort of others before ourselves while our pain becomes more all-consuming and we fade out of society. This farce is unsustainable for our survival. If I drop my mask, if I refuse to live the lie, if I am vulnerable, I can own my narrative and break the cycle. It took a whole new mindset to get here. It’s like a mountain you climb, each challenging step shedding false narratives to embrace authenticity. The work is hard, but I was determined to go through this exercise until it was my new normal, and ultimately a new life. If I refused to take on shame, I would discover living my life shamelessly.
FemTruth gave me that space. It forced me to listen to myself when I had gotten used to silencing my voice like others had. To revisit my nightmare so I could ease others, that was an evolution. Unlearning brainwashing and relearning intuition is a long, winding, bumpy road so I kept writing. First I self-published my memoir, then a play, an anthology, illustrations, poetry, workshops, articles, and finally policy and curriculum.
I was now shouting from the proverbial rooftops.
Today I’m elated to announce my next step. I signed a contract with Our Galaxy Publishing to release the second edition of my anthology, FemTruth Endometriosis Edition. Yes, I’m now represented by a publishing house! It’s surreal and exciting. I’m living in this moment of growth and taking a breath. This is a big step. I’m confident my intuition has led me to the right publisher, and at the right time. I believe in their commitment to these storytellers, and I wholeheartedly appreciate this partnership to our collective cause.
We are presenting a jarring collection of lived experiences exploring gender and pain, oppression and marginalization. A society in the shadows, silenced in plain sight, and quite possibly an uncomfortable and intimate reflection and awakening. We’ve been gaslit to believe our pain isn’t real, that it’s normal, that we’re to live with debilitating menstruation and worsening chronic health and invisible disability. The power of self-identity, validation, dignity and hope, that’s the promise of this book. You are not alone. Your experience shouldn’t be erased. The isolation and patriarchal propaganda ends here. You’ve reached the light. This book is storytelling at its most rebellious, discarding shame, stigma and myths, and uncovering the epidemic of endometriosis, what the establishment doesn’t want us to know.
Read more about Silvia Young, her works, and her contributions here.