Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

Freedom To Wear the Hat

Filed in Domestic Violence :: July 20, 2012

I’ve been writing a series of freedom-centered writing prompts, and I want to share some of them here.

Here’s the first one:

In ancient Rome, slaves who were to be freed were given a hat called a pileus during a ceremony of emancipation. Reading that, I thought, “why would they want to wear a special hat–couldn’t they want to look ‘normal’ and hatless, not showing that they had ever been enslaved at all?

I caught myself. Isn’t that the same thing as asking why we can’t “pass” as someone who’s never experienced abuse or trauma of any kind?

Most days I can accept, and some days I can even celebrate, who I am because of my experiences. I am proud to wear the hat of a survivor.

Can you wear your hat? Are you free enough?