Storytelling Saves Lives or Why I Blog

As a kid, I often felt voiceless. I didn't grow up in one of those TV drama homes where we discussed our feelings. I've always been opinionated, but I, like many Black women, was taught to turn emotional affairs inward. Subsequently, I became a great actress and fooled most everyone I encountered for the majority of my life. And then my house of cards came tumbling down during my third year of college.

It was during that time that I founded For Harriet and discovered storytelling saves lives. I don't believe in coincidences. That this forum launched at the time my life fell apart isn't lucky. Put simply: a blog, this blog, saved me.

At last, I found my voice, and I met my passion. Reading the stories of black women helped me better understand my own, and I was inspired to write and explore the ugliness that lay just beneath the surface.

Honesty should come easily, but diversion becomes the norm when you spend all your energy protecting your spirit from real and perceived threats.  Blogging has allowed me to be honest for the first time about the things that caused me shame. I wish for everyone to know that freedom, so I began Black Girls Blogging.

I began writing about my mental health struggles after seeing women discuss theirs openly online. The emails, comments and tweets I've gotten let me know that sharing was the right decision. Now I know my story matters.

Everyone has a story worth telling. Whether or not we all have the skill or wherewithal to be professional writers, we can each carve our own digital space to define ourselves.  That is priceless.

The 70s were a golden age of black self-representation. Black women warrior writers like Michele Wallace, Alice Walker, Angela Davis wrote themselves into being with portraits of their complex womanhood. We're now in a renaissance of self-exploration. The Internet has democratized representation in a way that liberates those relegated to the margins. Women of color, in particular, have nothing to lose but our chains.Transparency begets transparency, and one day we'll all be free.

Kimberly Foster is the Editor and Publisher of For Harriet. Email her at with comments or find her on Twitter.

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