Collective Courage

By December 6, 2017 21 Comments

“If one woman told the truth about her life, the world would split open.” – Muriel Rukeyser

Today’s TIME cover is about that truth-telling. It is also about the shift away from the individual, toward the collective.

When I saw the cover, it reminded me of a conversation I was a part of a few weeks ago – a conversation about a different act of resistance, of women’s rebellion, from a few thousand years ago.

In the Book of Exodus, Pharoah commands two midwives to kill any Hebrew baby boys that they deliver. But, the text says, “The midwives, fearing God, did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live.”

What enabled the midwives to do this, to be so brave?

“They were together, they had each other,” one person in the group said.

I’ve read the story so many times, but that insight made me look at it in a whole new way. It was a pair of midwives, two women who jointly chose this act of defiance.

We can imagine what happened between the lines of the text. Did they speak with one another and decide to take this risk together? Did they just look into each other’s eyes and silently agree on what they would do?

Sometimes we have to look away from what our peers are doing to find our individual, courageous choice. But sometimes, in community, we find courage and clarity that we cannot summon on our own.

It is no accident to me that women appear as a collective in this portrait in TIME. They break the world open not only through the truths they tell but also by upending the idea that the “person” of the year is an individual acting alone.

Today let’s be conspiratorial with each other, for the good.



Join the discussion 21 Comments

  • Nichelle Jenkins says:

    We are always stronger together. Thank you for this reflection, Tara.

  • Anna says:

    I love you. Period.

  • Ellen Newman says:

    Thanks Tara. I’m sharing your comments with my rabbi. They may inspire a drash on the subject. Hugs to you and your team of wonderful women in this difficult time.

  • Laurie Smith says:

    Thank you for posting, and drawing attention to this powerful cover and powerful moment in history! I so appreciate the reminder that together we are stronger, and as women, we can support each other in speaking our truth. Supporting each other and working as a team is something I think we women do particularly well. Makes me hopeful for the future. A bit of much-needed good news. Thanks!

  • Eileen Jeffreys says:

    EJ says:
    Thanks for writing this.
    It is the WE, not just the me, that allows the fabric of our lives to be woven STRONG, yet flexible. A covering, a cloak of protection. Let us be the covering for one another that protects.

  • Kathleen H. Cacouris says:

    WORD! thanks you!

  • AdaPia says:

    It’s time that we, as a sisterhood, support each other unconditionally. We will achieve so much more if we stop competing and come together. This is a touching post, Tara. Thank you!

  • Jen says:

    Brilliant analogy to catapult us all into connecting and rebelling for the common truth

  • Rachel says:

    Beautiful post! Thank you!

  • Karen says:

    I feel buoyed up by their actions.

  • Peggy Flores says:

    Thank you – feeling inspired. I’ve shared on FB and in my Lean In circle: Rise and Resurge.

  • Sherrie Clark says:

    This is so powerful. Thanks

  • Nancy Street says:

    This made my day! You are brilliant, as always. We ARE stronger together; let’s never forget that. Thank you for all your inspiration.
    Love you.

  • Mimi ELLIS LOCKE says:

    Thanks, Tara. You are so right on this aspect. I’m glad we’re moving forward together!

  • 👏👏👏 Yes to the “Person” of the Year! And thank you for this welcome perspective, Tara. To the courageous collective!

  • Brings tears to my eyes- both the cover of Time and your thoughts. This culture’s focus on the strong individualist presents women with such a conundrum….may we continue to find our strength together. Thank you Tara!

  • Danielle Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing, simply amazing acts of courage and conviction. So proud and blessed to be alive at this time. The Collective will make a difference and so will each of us as we embrace our own truths.

  • Thank you. I will gather strength today from your post.

  • This was beautifully written; I have quoted you on my page toady; I hope that’s ok.
    Many thanks for your wonderful work,
    Aisling Haugh

  • I’ve been doing a lot of individual fighting of battles lately and just this morning (prior to reading this) I had the thought that maybe I am shifting to a new phase of moving forward with courage, but not alone. This insight builds on thoughts that kept arising for me yesterday in a massage/Reiki session “the women are with you.” So needless to say, this post resonates deeply for me.

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