The first being that my body had to remember. It gave me the challenging gift of tangible form to my mental illness carried around for my entire 45 years. At the time I might have been very reluctant to admit that this was a good thing but in retrospect, it was the essential plunge that one has to take to rise up as someone different. These transitions have come to many of us played out in different ways but with the same theme of rebirth.
After weathering the body memories and night terrors where the stories began to unfurl, I began writing. It seemed high time to take this swirling mess from my psyche and put them into another tangible form…words. Decades of rage poured out of me in scratchy, erratic phrases. I cried and raged with my paper and pen, determined to purge myself of its hold on me. I found an image of what I thought this child looked like and began to make her real. Not that she wasn’t real all along, but she’d been buried and oppressed in an effort to go through life until she crashed so hard, taking my body with her and demanding that I finally pay attention and put her first.
So I did.
I began putting these writings into a blog that I secretly and lovingly created for her. It was a place that I could actually go to, turn on the computer and look at her words and manifestations. It became intoxicating. The freedom of releasing this pain is one that only a survivor of trauma of any form can understand. Being let out of prison. Feeling safety in one’s home and skin. The sweet joy of letting go, little by little, word by word.
Soon after this, I had the divine blessing of finding a forum set up by a woman artist, Terri at Bone Sigh Arts, who had the incredible perceptive foresight to provide a place for women, survivors and otherwise, to place their thoughts. An inclusive haven, without judgement for those of us who are the smallest and the most timid, to peek out and see if the world was really a place that we could trust. A place that wanted to see us as we really were: fragile, sensitive, creative, wounded. I lurked, I read their posts, I watched as they supported others in their healing. And when I finally came out, it was here that a group of incredible women gathered around me and loved me so unconditionally that I finally found the nerve to push the “publish” button on my blog. After praying, smudging and turning it over to God and a higher power, I screamed and hit the button. Frozen for several days, not going near the computer or the blog for fear that I might have made a horrible mistake, that I would be found out and ostracized from my newfound circle of friends for being…..me.
Well, we all know that didn’t happen.
Instead and of course, I was flooded with well wishes and support, praise for my courage and for my writing.
But that was enough for me to forge ahead.
So I’ve been happily blogging for a year now. I’ve met dozens upon dozens of incredible virtual friends who have lovingly supported me as I dip in and out of depression and mental illness. I can readily admit that now. Its who I am and have accepted and even revered myself for the warrioress that I am to have thrived in spite of horrendous circumstances. Some of these women share many of my characteristics and talents, others have very different gifts to offer, all are treasured friends. And yes, I do call them friends even though we’ve never met. We have, however, shared many challenges of joy and sorrow over the last year and what we lack in physical face to face contact, we make up with in genuine concern for each other, our families, our communities. Holding hands with each other, we watch the full moon together from all parts of the world, share our gardens and grieve the loss of our beloved ones.
Although quite content with this arrangement, I was given a unique opportunity to meet a fellow writer, survivor and hopefully, a new friend in real person. Several weeks ago, a trusted friend gave me a book written by a male survivor of horrific child abuse. She stated simply and knowingly that this book would be similar to the one that I would write. She’s always believed in me like that. I devoured his story, the pain and the triumph, in one afternoon and began the process of locating his website and facebook information. Within days, we were friends and this weekend, I attending his book signing. How incredible that this man brought to me actually lives in my neck of the woods.
Keith Hoerner, author of “Missing the Mark: A Target Child Speaks” signed my copy and became my first real live human writer~survivor friend. I’ve officially gotten to the next level of creating the person I want to be. We connected and recognized each other immediately like dogs to their pack. I hope that we have many sessions over coffee, discussing writing for healing, trauma recovery and all associated topics. I look forward to that. And I hope that his book makes its way into the hands of anyone that has experienced childhood abuse of any form.
I feel absolutely giddy….and am wondering what’s next?