The #iamsubject Project

I Am Subject by US Author Diane DeBella
I’m glad you’re interested in the #iamsubject project about keeping girls and women subject of their own lives.

I invite you to share your own #iamsubject story, a powerful moment when you reclaimed your self as subject of your own life.

Read all the details on the #iamsubject page here.

When you’ve posted your #iamsubject story on your blog, or a friend’s blog, put the link to your story in the comments below!

Thank you for taking the time to share your stories!

Diane DeBella

Click Here to read sample #iamsubjectproject stories

79 thoughts on “The #iamsubject Project

  1. I’m very excited about your memoir, your research, your courses and your initiative. Thank you so much for discovering Women Writers, Women Books and stepping up as only our second site sponsor! This is great.

    I found your book very powerful. I learned a lot. I’m still mulling over a lot. I learned a lot of fascinating details about very famous women writers, and your courage in telling your own story is awakening.

    I’m participating in the #iamsubject project and here is my story.

    I hope other participants will come through and comment on my story as I will on theirs. — Anora

  2. What a great project and a wonderful invitation for women to consider themselves as subject. How often we forget to do that. Your statement that we write what we need to learn resonates so strongly. As I wrote this piece (a piece I have been trying to write for many, many months, it was my writing that brought me to important discoveries all along the way.
    Here is the link to my post for the #iamsubject project! I can’t wait to read everyone’s stories!

    Writer by Default:

  3. Check out the most recent entry, “Manslaughter” by Jen Rubin, which can be found as a guest post on this blog.

    1. Lani, once we begin dedicating some thought to it, we can often find many moments of claiming and reclaiming – and those are valuable life lessons other women can learn from if only we share them in community. Thank you for sharing one of yours!

    1. Amy – so incredibly powerful, especially your last paragraph. Yes, this is why we share our truths.

      With gratitude,


    1. Thank you for submitting, Elaine. It’s true – sometimes we seem to miss the messages we are being given. I think we get so focused on the hoops we are “supposed” to jump through that we often lose track of our true passion.

          1. Thank you for the link Diane. I checked it out and I believe that, campaigns like these ignite a sense of activism and self-actualisation for those affected by various life-changing experiences.

            The success of campaigns like these depends on more people sharing. We need to create an environment where honest and open dialogue can happen. In that way, more survivors will step forward.

            Many women choose silence as opposed to speaking out. What is clear is that- those who do not understand our silence will probably not understand our words either.

            In the words of, Lawrence Durrell: “[d]oes not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?”. I have a problem with silence when it takes power, agency and choice away from a person (specifically women).

            As feminists, we often smokescreen our own experiences and in so doing things become obscure.
            For me this is not abstract theory- “Don’t hide, Speak out”, is a life experience. Many have criticised me for doing this- to that I say- I have not done this to put spotlight on myself but I’ve done it to highlight the cause. Justice, is not something that should be left up to a court of law; we, Survivors need to seek justice. Secrets and silence are suffocating practices which takes away from our agency and our choices. I write about this extensively in my memoirs.

            “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains” ~Rosa Luxemburg.

            “Be silent and safe—silence never betrays you”
            – John Boyle O’Reilly, Rules of the Road.

            If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. In the words of Adrienne Rich, “[i]n a world where language and naming are power, silence is oppression, is violence”.

            “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences” ~Bell Hooks.

            Rape is rape. Beyond colour\race, gender, age, class.

            Sometimes, as feminists we try and distance ourselves from the subject matter even in instances where we can connect with what comes across as abstract. we try and remain objective and in so doing generalise things.
            *the personal is political*. We need open and honest dialogues like these so that more understanding can prevail. We must build bridges and in so doing, solidarity prevails. I thank you for responding and for the opportunity to highlight the topic in not a purely objective manner. The subjective is important.

            When I wrote the memoirs it was a therapeutic act of expressing all the things I kept bottled up inside. That was last year. I was always against counselling and I didn’t see the point of it and thought it’s a time-wasting exercise.

            Only now, in 2014 do I see the value in opening up and realise that there is no shame in seeking help from trained professional counsellors. Sometimes as strong people we build up resistance and don’t find it easy to just let go.

            Strong people break down too! Once we start facing our problems we realise that there is no quick fix “after climbing a hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”.

            I think counselling is really about exposing yourself to yourself. Not many people can say: “[t]he difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence, while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin, I know I’m sinning, while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions.” — C. JoyBell C. and I think that counselling allows us to stay true to ourselves. It allows us to stop, and focus on everything we ignore when life gets too busy. We are all different people, and I know we cope in different ways, but holding in pent up emotion is not healthy.

            The mind and body, let’s us know that we’re not machines. We may be hard, we may be tough on the exterior. We may be strong, but we emotional beings, we soft inside. There is so much silence around counselling and for the most part people seem put off by the idea of going for counselling but counselling allows us to put together the puzzle pieces that’s been scattered about in our lives.

            The self-published memoirs I wrote was intended to create a platform for open-dialogue and community-building. Basically, it was written to encourage a culture of sharing our difficulties and speak out about our problems. I realise that it may be a big ask and that before this can happen we need to know the importance of counselling and a general paradigm shift in society, in order to break the silence around personal issues which are like dark suffocating shadows constantly looming.

            This platform, the #iamsubject Project creates a bridge for sharing our experiences as women from all walks of life and across the globe! It is remarkable, inspiring and a truly heartfelt expedition. I salute all the women who responded to this call!

      1. Hello Sally, I just checked your blog looking for your May 28 post. If you’re still participating, please post a direct link to your post below. Thanks so much for your interest. – Anora

    1. Sarah,

      Thank you for sharing part of your personal journey so that others may learn from it. I left a more detailed response on your site.

      With gratitude,


      1. We all have hidden stories but do not trust anybody enough to confide in. We have gotten so used to these stories that we seem not to care anymore.
        This project had me revisiting my memories and I found beautiful and sorrowful ones. Thank you Diane for this project. Our voices can be heard now. And to all the other authors who dared to share their stories, “YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!”

        1. We have so much to learn from one another – within and across generations. We owe that support to one another, and to the girls coming up the path behind us.

    1. “..but no voice came.” How often does this happen to women in the roles we play? You have found your voice, and it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. I am still awake – waiting for a glimpse of the promised meteor shower. As I wait, I was thrilled to receive your story: “There was a sense of relief in this heavily schooled, career loaded body; a dispelling of everything worrisome, gossipy, and even intellectual from this content-laden mind; and in its place, a simple gesture of an age-old, bare handed experience.” A beautiful description of such a powerful realization–the joy of simply being, and having that experience with other women. Thank you, Monica, for sharing your story. Now I am going to go into the dark and just be–hoping to catch just a glimpse of our vast universe.

    1. Cairenn, this is a beautifully written piece that truly defines that incredible moment of becoming. Thank you for sharing your story.

      With gratitude,


    1. Reagan,

      Thank you for finding the courage to bare your soul in this piece. I hope you found it both healing and empowering. If you have not yet read my book I Am Subject, I think there is much in it that you would identify with and perhaps find helpful.

      With gratitude,


    1. Carissa,

      This is an extremely powerful piece – on both a personal and societal level. You are extremely brave to share your own truth, and at the same time you address so many issues that explore what it means to be valued as a woman in our society. Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. Francesca,

      We lose so much of ourselves when we are focused on how we look in front of others – when we put what they think above what we know to be true about ourselves. Your son is lucky to have you as a role model. Thank you for sharing your story.

      With gratitude,


    1. “Ironically, the moment I realized that nobody was going to save me was the moment I was saved.” Such an empowering statement, and a life changing one, I’m sure. Thank you so much for sharing this letter.


        1. LaTanya,

          It sounds like you have been able to break the cycle of dysfunction for yourself and your children. Thank you for sharing your story.

          With gratitude,


  4. Hi, Diane and all brave women. I’ve just posted my submission for the #iamsubject Project, “Caretaker Extraordinaire No More: Confessions from a Recovering Caretaker” on my own blog:

    Thank you for your consideration. And much gratitude for all of your amazing work with this important project!

    Much Light,
    Erika M. Schreck

    1. Erika,

      So many women find themselves in this extreme caretaker role – to the point that they become selfless. I have played that role quite often myself. We think we are doing what is right, what is needed, what makes us “good” and “valuable,” yet we are ignoring our SELVES, and without self-nurturing, we are heading down a dangerously unhealthy path. Thank you for sharing your story, which I know will resonate with so many.


    1. Maia,

      What a poignant and powerful piece. You show the power that other women’s truths can have in helping us discover and share our own. This is what I have tried to do in my work. This is how we can best support ourselves and other women. Thank you for sharing your story, and let me know when your book comes out! I’d love to read it.


    1. Victoria,
      A number of chapters in my book address the importance of the role of mothers as well as the difficulties of mothering. Thank you for sharing your story. I know your experience will hit home with many other women.

      With gratitude,


    1. What a beautiful journey you are on! I think many women (myself included) reach a tipping point where they realize they have been selfless – meeting the needs of others and filling external roles – for far too long. I would love to help women tell their stories and discover a more genuine path, which you have obviously done! Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. Lori,
      Reading your story brought tears to my eyes. Have you read my collective memoir, I Am Subject? There are such similarities – yet my story’s focus is my father. Those early interpersonal relationships leave an imprint on our souls. We must confront them, embrace them, and heal ourselves. Thank you for sharing your truth.


      1. Thank you so much, Diane. I have not read I Am Subject yet, but I’m not at all surprised when you speak of similarities. Ever since I began my memoir, I’ve been overwhelmed by the responses I’ve gotten from people who are carrying pain that, even if it has another source, is not so different from mine. How much people need to share those feelings!

        I actually put off writing an #Iamsubject essay for some time simply because I didn’t know what it was going to be about – I couldn’t think of a moment in which had claimed or reclaimed myself. And then suddenly there it was, staring me straight in the face. So thank you for the opportunity – it definitely prompted me to see my life and my self in a new way.

        1. That’s what this is all about. Women supporting one another through sharing our truths.

    1. Emily,

      I am a teacher of writing. I truly appreciated your story. Thank you for sharing it.


    1. Tess,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I also have a mind without an “off” button, and as a result spend many sleepless nights thinking and thinking and thinking. I have begun to do some work with the Neurosculpting Institute. They have some great classes that you can do online. You are truly on to something when you stress the importance of separating feeling from thinking.


      1. Diane,

        Thank you for the link. I think having these busy minds is very much a human condition! Nice to know we are not alone 🙂


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