July 6, 2014

The Healing Act of Writing

I am excited to be participating in my first ever blog tour which is an awesome way to help normalize the conversation about sexual abuse in this country by expanding the number of people who get to hear my message! So this blog is going to focus on what is compelling me to spread my message about healing from sexual abuse through my writing and why I love to write.

I want to thank Xanet Pailet for inviting me to be on this tour.  I loved reading about her mission to spread the word that sex is amazing, intimacy is possible, and how through her writing she is sharing her expertise in this area to change the lives of men, women, and couples.

Now ... why I write ...

When I was thirteen years old, I was still reeling from the sexual abuse I had experienced starting at age 10 -- even if I was doing a great job of keeping up appearances. In the midst of the confusion, pain, and feeling like there were parts of me that I just wanted to reach inside and rip out, my mom decided a poetry workshop was just what I needed to deal with my teenage angst -- and she was right.

I recall sitting in a circle with women 10-20 years older than me and yet feeling completely accepted and free to put onto the paper what I was terrified to say out loud.

Sometimes what came out was quietly painful:


Blue light shining on the stolid figure below.
Words pounding the corners of her mind,
tossing her from self-hate to doubt and back
to the beginning where everything went wrong.

Clean lines, soft folds of tarnished, burdened skin.
Seamless eyes with no hope lying within.
Rusted feet from standing in one place too long.
Dripping fears tracing a body no longer occupied.

Fury, rage grasping the muscles.
Her hands still tremble, still reach,
and still hold a dream.

All else is still.

Sometimes what came out wasn't so quiet:

Inverted (excerpt)

Ever seen an angel fly without wings?
Mine have been burned by the obscene,
the unclean…

The rigid muscles of my lover’s back
say more than his kisses ever did.

Tangled web I wove,
    Swallowing me whole.

Tramping through the muck and mire
    that others call my mind.

Dumb, Stupid, Low-class
    are the only words left to define…me.

... and sometimes, the hope, the love, the desire to press on won:

like a flower –
tender but resilient,
beautifully complicated –
yet simple to care for –
light, nourishment, and a moist foundation
to be planted in

Through it all, words became my escape. They became the method of taking all that felt ugly, unclean, forbidden and giving voice to it -- unashamed, uncensored.

Fast forward to twenty-four years -- I'm sitting in front of a computer screen with a page in front of me that just says, "Beyond Surviving" ... and then it happens, everything in me switches on and the story of pain, tenderness, discovery, heartache, revelation, insight, clarity, freedom came pouring out.

Six months later, "Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse" was finished and six months after that it was published. This was my new poem -- granted without meter and stanzas and a tad longer (perhaps as inspired by Homer). Yet, writing, once again, had proved to be a salvation. This time in the name of healing, moving on, refusing to a be a pawn of the past any longer.

It's only now two years later that I'm fully aware of the underlying mission that drove me to write this guidebook -- which turns out to be a yearning to fundamentally change the way we think about and heal from sexual abuse. To share the truth with others that we do not have to remain forever burdened by the pain of the past, but we can heal, be restored, and move on with our lives.

And wonderfully, I predicted this end oh so long ago:

M and E

M so far from E –
so much lost in between.
Self placed high on a warped shelf –
leaving me to walk a lazy, winding
path lined with withered branches
on thick trunk trees.

Truncated existence birthed on
a summer porch swing.
Now clawing and clambering to
pull M closer to E.

Shallow waters running deeper –
the current is gaining speed.
Climbing steadily higher –
self no longer so far out of reach.

Identify and recognize the segregators:

M    molestation    E
M    abandonment    E
M    humiliation    E
M    manipulation    E
M    deception    E

Been renewed, no longer confused –
unearthed those healing elements:

M    Spirit    E
M    Respect    E
M    Trust    E
M    Friend    E
M    Love    E

The gap is steadily closing –
By and by M will rest securely next to E –
simple, happy, inseparable…

And, so, I write. Blogs, books, seminars, even still poetry sometimes so that my voice and then hopefully the voice of others will refuse silence, shame, and fear and instead be a "barbaric YAWP" that reverberates around the world and says we will not be our past -- we will be free.


Now! The best part of this tour is I get to introduce you to three more amazing people. Please check out their blogs and find out what they are passionate about:

Irene Lyon:  Blog URL: http://irenelyon.com/blog/ 
Irene's trip on the mind-body-brain healing and teaching path was kick-started in 2001 by a series of debilitating knee injuries that forced her how to relearn how the body (her body, in particular), is really meant to move. Through this experience, she came to believe that human beings must learn, find growth, and heal using methods and modalities that recognize the entire body, and, most importantly, that recognize how this body interacts with its environment, people, circumstances and all that life brings. Beyond her academic training – she has a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and a Master’s in Research in the Health Sciences – she is also a Certified Practitioner of both Feldenkrais and Somatic Experiencing. Combining all her education and her professional training she has created a versatile tool-set for helping people learn self-care and optimal healing practices. Her private practice is in Vancouver, British Columbia and she now offers group online courses. For more information visit her website: www.irenelyon.com

Misa Leonessa:  Blog URL: http://misacoach.com/articles/
Misa Leonessa is a counselor, life coach and spiritual director specializing in trauma recovery, relationships, and spiritual growth.  She has walked the path from surviving to thriving herself, and has a passion to help people heal from childhood abuse and those who are committed to pursuing greater relational, emotional and spiritual wholeness.  

Natalie Forsythe: Blog URL: http://natalieforsythe.com/writing/ 

Natalie Forsythe is a transformational eating coach who is dedicated to helping people find freedom from their inner battle with food.  She is so passionate about this work because she recovered from an eating disorder that plagued her for ten years.  She works one-on-one, is a group facilitator and holds workshops.  She currently ives in Berkeley, California where she loves to play in her veggie garden, make things with power tools, and ride her bike to the farmer's market.  

Natalie received her BA in Psychology from Marlboro College and her C.P.C.C. coaching certification from the highly reputable Coaches Training Institute, as well as being certified by the International Coaching Federation.

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