Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

Speaking Our Truth, Part Two:

The personal

Georgia NeSmith
3 min readOct 1, 2021


We all construct multiple narratives of our lives to explain who we are and how we have come to be ourselves. These narratives may change in detail but overall represent our truth as we understand it. For instance, as I explain below, there came a moment of intense, shocking revelations when I had to radically alter the meta narrative I constructed over decades to describe and explain my relationship with my father. During the last three or so decades I have had to find a way to live with a second, very painful narrative contradicting the first, but still not drop the story I love.

When I say I “speak my truth” — I refer to a truth that exhorts itself against the lies and false interpretations other people have thrown at me without actually knowing me in any significant way. Including members of my own family.

As with scientific theories, truth can undergo radical transformations when we encounter anomalies previously inexplicable within the narratives we have used to structure our life stories.

In one chapter of my memoir, I desperately try to hold onto that first narrative despite the the new knowledge pressing hard against it and demanding its reconstruction. But it cannot hold against the new information rising up in my dreams and nightmares.

The italicized text below is drawn from the end of a chapter about my father’s memorial service in 1976. In these paragraphs, the narrative of my life previously understood is undergoing serious challenge — a challenge that more than 40 years later upended everything I ever believed about that life.

In the years that follow (my father’s memorial service in 1976), I become Christina, continuing to write letters and drawing pictures for my father (and for his representatives in living people) though I know he is gone, choosing to remember only the man the Quakers knew, trying my best to be able to say, about everything I did, “I think Woody would like that,” finding my own voice only after his death through a labyrinth of contradictions.

The good man the Quakers knew was the mirror I held up to myself: I would love and be that man, or



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.