Catherine Bush

October 28, 2014

thinking about the stories we tell about accusations

I’ve been thinking not just about the accusations circulating now but the way we respond to such accusations. I notice again and again, especially in the frenzy of first response, how people use accusations to tell their own stories, not always consciously. Our narratives about ourselves become the lens through which we respond to accusations against others, whether we’re rushing to defend the accused or support those making difficult accusations or struggling to figure out how to respond. Our stories about ourselves shape what we want to believe. We do this all the time, see others through the stories we tell about ourselves, but it becomes amplified when accusations are at stake, especially sexually charged accusations. I don’t know that we can help doing this. I can’t help doing it. I wrote a novel about this. But it seems to me a good thing to acknowledge that we’re doing it, offer up this attempt at transparency.

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“Fairy tales are almost always the stories of the powerless, of youngest sons, abandoned children, orphans.... Fairy tales are children's stories not in who they were made for but in their focus on the early stages of life, when others have power over you and you have power over no one.”

— Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby