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Shout it Out! The Power of Your Triumphs and Struggles Being Seen
Mar 16, 2021
Guest Contributor
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The author Yasmin Turk
Guest Contributor
guest writer
By Yasmin Turk
In book club once I remember saying that I was grateful for my failures, because they took away so many of my fears about letting go. Falling down gave me lots of practice on how to get back up again, gave me plenty of opportunity to build resiliency. Though most of the challenges I faced were ones that others, especially other women, have faced time and again, I often felt alone. My pain seemed invisible. In moments when others saw and understood what I was going through, it helped me to feel normal and lift a weight off my shoulders.
To be seen, really seen, is a powerful thing.
I hold onto the tough moments in my life like they are a gift because of the lessons they brought to me and the empathy they fostered in my heart. I never will forget what it is like to run my debit card at the grocery store and hold my breath that it would not be declined. I know what it is like to feel like I am too much to handle and am left alone. The feelings that filled my heart in quiet moments when I only had God to hear me are some of the most intense I have ever experienced.
I am sharing all of this because it is part of what made me see those around me with different eyes. The women I worked with in a domestic violence shelter, the people from my Muslim community who I thought I knew until they shared their silent struggles, and people around me with varying capacities to face what came at them each day. I have a place in my heart that gets heavy when I see injustice and pain.
As a person who processes emotions with words, one small thing I do is acknowledge the people around me who are struggling and name what I see. In naming the challenges and struggles I see around me, there is a feeling of solidarity and resiliency that seems to grow. The closest thing to a mountain top I have access to here in Austin, Texas is social media, so that is where I shout it out. And whereas shout outs are often for those times we want to celebrate something good a person has done, I shout out the struggles.
Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on? Have you shouted out someone in your life of late? Image source: Gezer Amorim from Pexels
I post on Facebook, and now TikTok, a list of shout outs. They are so simple, but they seem to really speak to people, because I hear from friends over and over again how they felt seen after reading them. Oftentimes these shout outs feel so personal to the people reading them; they think it’s about them when I may not have even known their experience would be reflected in my words. The shout outs are often things I have seen, been reminded of, or noticed during the week that I may not have realized were weighing on me until I start writing them out.
So, let’s begin.
Shout out to parents who see their children struggling and know that they cannot prevent the hard lessons which hurt so much – so they love them, support them and show up for them through it all with truth and compassion.
Shout out to women who have had their contributions and intelligence dismissed or minimized because they were deemed too pretty or not pretty enough to have their ideas taken seriously but in the end, they got ish done – with or without credit.
Shout out to men who never fit in because they were not good at the things the guys around them were good at – not athletic enough, not financially successful enough – but who have always been enough just as they are.
Shout out to the friend who always gets ignored. The friend who no one calls if she doesn't call first. The friend that gets invited only if no one else is available. Sometimes it is better to be alone than to be with those who don't appreciate you for who you are.
Shout out to people who don't look good on paper – a history minimized to a resume or biodata – but have learned/improved/changed more than any data points could ever show.
Shout out to coworkers who get things done on time. Without drama. Because doing their best is how they do everything.
Shout out to third culture kids who have been everywhere but don't feel like they really fit anywhere. You create home wherever you are, and anyone who knows you is lucky.
Shout out to adoptive and foster parents. I see you, I admire you. Someday I hope to follow in your footsteps.
Yasmin Turk, photo taken by her daughter Fatima.
Shout out if you didn't marry the love of your life, don't make a paycheck that covers your expenses, or aren't living the life you dreamed of but have found happiness right where you are and as you are. That is the work of gratitude and internal peace.
Shout out to kids with a parent (or two) who is absent or so self absorbed that they can't really parent. This is not your fault. You deserve love just as you are.
Shout out if you have been told you aren’t Muslim enough by people who don’t know the ways you are striving to live a life pleasing to God.
Shout out if you found God there for you when you had no one else to turn to. And then turned to Him before anyone else.
And lastly, shout out to everyone who spent any part of this weekend in service. Volunteerism is a cultural value that makes our community a more beautiful place. 💜
These shout outs always change, but the message is the same: No matter where you are in your journey right now, you are loved. You are only in one part of your story right now, and your life is important. You are stronger than you may give yourself credit for.
I also invite others to share their shout outs, to themselves or others. Share them in the comments below!
Yasmin Diallo Turk is a social impact evaluator and compliance analyst for an organization at the intersections of sexual/ domestic violence, child welfare, and human trafficking. While spending the pandemic year at home with her three kids, ages 7-18, she developed a TikTok habit but only has six followers, so go find her @BringTheKnafeh for some daily shout outs. Or find her on LinkedIn here.

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