To what extent are we silenced, and how much do women silence ourselves, or just prefer to remain silent?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I’m engaged in a group study of Thomas Merton, the famous Trappist monk and author. I kind of knew… that he’d had a lover, but not that he’d fathered a child when he was a young man and again fell in love with a very young woman just before his death when he was in his mid-50’s. The mother and Merton’s son died in a shelter in London during the Blitz, and the 19-year-old married someone else, leaving the famous monk to mourn evidently until his early death.
He doesn’t talk about it and his biographers don’t talk about it much, and these two women weren’t talking as far as we know, but what do we know? They seem totally without a voice.
When I wrote this about Vida, I’m also thinking of all the silences in my own life, far less than women of previous generations certainly, and now with the “Me Too” movement startling so many women we ask “You too?”shocking men who had no idea something like that had happened to their friends, wives, mothers…
So yes, there’s this deafening silence:
“… It is just that no one knows how she felt, and perhaps she herself doesn’t know now, and in any case she’s not the kind of woman to go on about it. That’s all.”