Rethinking ‘resilience’ and ‘grit’

Christine “Cissy” White is an advocate for survivors of trauma and is one herself. The 52-year-old lives in Weymouth, Mass., earning her living as a community facilitator for an organization that provides a social media hub and other forms of support to people who have struggled as she did.

Helping others in this way is also her personal passion: she experienced many setbacks. White’s mother was just a teen when White was born and throughout much of her childhood, her mother was the sole provider — her mother’s first husband was violent, homeless, and absent. Growing up poor, she would hide the tape and paper clips that held her broken glasses together behind her bangs. She said she was “not hungry” when she was out with friends and starving but couldn’t afford food, and she used paper towels instead of tampons when she was a teenager because she couldn’t afford them, either.

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