I have never been so slapped in the face by my own point as during the process of releasing my new book, Scold’s Bridle. The point of it is a close look at the violent participation of white women in the infrastructure of white supremacy. Not the let-em-off-the-hook language of complicity. Participation. And even though I have studied this and think I know a thing or two about it, I still was unprepared for white women’s discomfort with discomfort.

As many indie writers do, I signed up with an ARC reading outfit to extend my pre-publication reviewer-ship beyond my own circle. I have nothing negative to say about it, I just didn’t know what I was up against. As it turns out, people who volunteer to read books for ARC reviews are after cozy reads – mysteries, romance, fantasy, whatever. I hate all that crap, so I was definitely in the wrong place, but I tagged all the trigger warnings and hoped for the best. I got a few readers who struggled with the discomfort of the stories. Don’t get me wrong, the error was mine. Like I said, I was in the wrong place. Before you think it, they still gave me good reviews because SB is riveting.

All that to say, if one is made uncomfortable by true stories of one’s own ancestors, shouldn’t that bear further scrutiny? We seem to be okay with reading stories where we’re the victim, but not the perpetrator. And then it dawned on me that the entire structure of white culture is designed to prevent white women from feeling discomfort. From connecting dots. One of the reasons we don’t know these stories is because they are inconvenient. Sparing white women’s feelings and knowledge of our ancestral past ensures the status quo. The gaps in our education, the not knowing, keeps white women in our place, siding with white men over sisterhood. Keeps us blind to the far-reaching ramifications of generations of decisions.

But but but patriarchy, purity culture, misogyny, discrimination, oppression… yes, all of that. But if we are unwilling to know how we got here, to sit with the discomfort of it all, to know the stories of what was done to us, and what we did to others to survive, to understand how our past still lives, can we change?

Anyway, Scold’s Bridle is out now. Available on Amazon, Ingram Spark, and independent sellers. Goodreads reviews here.

It might keep you up.