The Sunflower Project
Helping survivors turn towards the sun

Letters to Survivors: A Blog

Untold Premiere at Feminist Film Festival: Why Are We So Scared?

Well, it happened! The film "Untold" has finally become public! It premiered last night, April 21st, 2016, at the first annual Chicago Feminist Film Festival at Columbia College Chicago.

I was extremely nervous for this premiere. Okay, that's an understatement. I was terrified. I was shaking all day and couldn't eat. And that's understandable, right? I mean, this film is so deeply personal and I made myself so vulnerable by showing it to a room full of strangers. Not only was I vulnerable in showing the film, but I did a Q and A (video coming soon) afterwards, and that was even more terrifying!

This made me reflect on how scared we are to share our stories. When I was in high school, my friends didn't believe me when I told them my ex was abusive. They didn't even believe me when I told them he had broken into my house a few times! This began my trend of blaming myself for what happened. Considering my closest friends, who I thought loved me, decided that I deserved what happened to me, I naturally began to believe it. 

So now, three years later, what's to stop me from thinking that the room full of strangers sitting there watching my movie won't react the same way my friends did? I knew this was irrational, but feelings don't always follow logic, do they?

To my extreme relief, the reaction was amazing. I was asked the question, "How did you get the courage to share your film?" It made my heart so full to be considered brave, to the point where I could barely answer the question without starting to cry all over again. People think I'm brave? Maybe I should think that, too.

After the Q and A, ten or so people came up to me individually to congratulate me or ask if they could interview me for their blog or newspaper. One person came up to me and said that watching my film made her realize she needs to rethink her life. She hugged me and I felt as if I had known her my whole life. It's amazing how close we can be with a complete stranger when we have something as powerful as survivorship in common.

The reaction was so supportive I could hardly believe it.

This is a lesson to all survivors: PEOPLE WILL HELP! People will support you and commend you and, more often than not, help you! Why are we so scared to share our stories?! It's ridiculous, really, to be terrified of being ourselves, and owning our past. There are a select few out there who want to tear us down, but the vast majority of people just want to watch us soar.

To all the survivors out there: Let's soar together.

Leah Zeiger