What do you want
me to know?
That’s the question Judge Rosemarie Aquilina asked 156 women who were abused by Larry Nassar. She created a safe space for these women to tell their stories.
This is the most powerful question I’ve ever heard. In a courtroom, no one gets to tell their stories. They only answer pre-vetted, carefully crafted questions. Judge Aquilina gave those women the freedom to answer that question however they chose.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is no invitation to share what we want to share, be it in the courtroom or in our everyday life. We are accustomed to answering polite questions – How are you? How are the kids? How is work going? We respond with superficial answers, because we know there is no room for more.
So, I decided to weave Judge Aquilina’s question into my life. “Tell me everything you want me to know,” I began saying to friends when I saw them or emailed them.
It was like magic.
Suddenly, friends shared things with me that they wouldn’t have otherwise. I got to celebrate with them, hold their hands, cry, and laugh with them. This question created a safe space where I could hold them lovingly as they told me what they wanted me to know. They felt heard. I felt honored.
As women, we have so few opportunities to go beneath the surface. This is why I created Lemon Tree as a place for our stories, the ones that go unspoken in small talk.
I am a woman with a story to tell.
I am going to tell those stories in this space.
And I will always invite you to tell me everything you want me to know.
I promise I will listen.
So, tell me, what do you want me to know?