It wasn’t the reading that was hard, but the writing of a summary that got me.
In second and third grade, the one thing at school that would send dread into my spirit was the assignment thereof: Write a book report, explaining the characters, the main idea, story development, and ending.
I loved to read so much that when my Mom and I visited the library together, I checked out the maximum number of books, about 8 or 9 volumes. And in two weeks, I read all of them.
I knew what each book was about. I could tell you the characters in casual conversation. But to write it down, I just could not do it.
In 3rd grade, I developed a fear of any question that demanded a sudden answer.
My teacher at the time called on me to stand before the class, and pronounce the word on the board before me.
Sounding it out, I said “cha-rack-terrr.”
She became furious, taking me by my shoulders and shaking me, then letting me go, and I flew into some desks.
Today, she would have gone to jail.
Back then, not so much. My father confronted her. He advised the principal she needed to move me out of that class, and after that year, that teacher was no longer teaching at the school.
I was relieved.
It is a weird memory, not being able to pronounce a word, being fearful, not being able to write a book report because I could not articulate the summary.
My second grade issues were not dealt with, leaving me open for troubles in her class.
Today, I do not have that issue. I have written hundreds of published articles, published a book, won a college writing competition and other awards. So that point in time is merely reflection now, for me.
That is a very long foreword for today’s blog.
“Sometimes, there are no words.”
Since I published my story, “The Brighter Side of A Darker Thing,” I have met many survivors of sexual abuse and childhood trauma.
One question I get a lot is this: how do we heal?
I am not a counselor. I do not have a degree in psychology. But as a fellow survivor, I can say that yes, healing comes, especially when you make up your mind to walk that road.
You know, I have noticed through the years .. on my personal road of healing .. you could tell a person anything from hey I grew up poor to we moved around a lot from town to town. The minute you say anything about abuse, the whole scene changes. And truthfully, it depends on whether or not the person in front of you is ready for your truth.
How do you find someone to listen to the words that are in you .. that you cannot articulate at this time?
Well, counselors do come into the mix. There are also resources (small groups, non-profits) who reach out to survivors.
Churches can .. but even in that arena, it can be a challenge. One person years ago wrinkled her nose at me, and said, “Well I have never been through that, I cannot even relate.”
Here is the unfortunate truth.
If you begin having conversations with people about your past, talking about how you are on a journey of healing, suddenly the whole forest lights up like a swarm of sparkling fireflies.
Most of my closest friends are survivors themselves, and I am proud to say that they are beginning to share their story as well.
We get through this life with the help of our friends.
Over the years, it has helped me heal by meeting others who experienced similar things I did .. yet used that story to fuel their inner talents. Artists, writers, musicians, dancers, government officials, animal trainers, cosmetologists, hairdressers, aircraft mechanics, and more.
One thing I have realized is this: where there are no words to express the feelings of hurt, inner hatred, shame, awkwardness, anger, frustration, loneliness, feeling like a freak .. there are ways of articulating that and using our pain to make something positive.
I was painting for the first time as an adult, and was not prepared for my reaction to that color.
I changed my painting several times, adding other colors, watching the swirl, eventually ending up with an olive green textured background, with a white and pink flower shooting across the canvas.
Just a thought for today. Grab some clay, or a paintbrush, a charcoal pencil, explore. Don’t worry about what you are going to create. Don’t obsess that it will look elementary. Whatever you do, don’t criticize yourself. Let the creativity flow. Stay in touch with your spirit. Ask yourself what colors do you like, and why ..
Happy Tuesday, all.
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