Tag Archives: radical self love

we are in the work of making it through

graffiti - red paint on blue background -- of a heart in a cageTonight I have so much I want to write about, so many bits and pieces of memory and present that are braiding themselves together inside me, but at this exact moment as I type I am simply feeling grateful.

I drive these green-lined roads under thick grey skies and I remember the aches and sorrows and desire and fear that lived in me when I lived here last. I remember how sure I was that nothing was ever going to change, that I would always wake up from night terrors with my heart in my throat and my body awash in tension,  that I would always feel unsatisfied, and unsatisfying, as though fully and forever incapable of connecting with others or believing they could truly like or love me for just who I was, flaws and all. I keep thinking about what a difficult person I must have been to live with, to be friends with, to try to love.

Today, over a lovely lunch, I listened to old friends talk about a couple of young people I used to know, who I knew when they were much younger than they are now; they are having a difficult time of it. They don’t see a forward ahead of them when they look to the future. They are sure they are alone and fighting the world, even though they have a swarm of supporters surrounding them, loving them from the distance at which they are kept.

And I thought, I remember feeling this way. I remember the certainty that I was alone, that no one really loved me, that if anyone said they loved me it was probably because 1) they didn’t really know me, or 2) they wanted something from me, or 3) there was something wrong with them. I remember not being able to feel, at all, the deep desire on the part of friends and family that I trust them, lean into them, allow myself to recognize their care. I remember how unsafe their care felt. I remember looking into the future and seeing only that same hazy grey static that had nothing but loss clouding its horizon. I remember thinking that nothing would ever change.

And then it did.

I wanted to tell these young folks to hang on. And I want to tell the folks who love them to hang on. Look at me. Look at my sister. We were never meant to come back into a place of sanity We were trained into a madness so thick it is a wonder we can speak in coherent sentences. And there were years that it seemed — to us, to those who loved us — that we would do nothing but wallow in that madness for the rest of our lives. But we kept reaching. Something in each of us kept reaching, even when, consciously, all we wanted to do was take off our gloves, step out of the ring, and quit the fight. Somedays all we could do was stay alive, believing that maybe tomorrow something would be a little bit different. Maybe some people thought we were hopeless. We certainly thought we ourselves were hopeless (though neither of us ever thought the other was hopeless).

I want an “it gets better” campaign for survivors of sexual abuse and violation. I want those of us who have reached another side (not the other side, just any other side) of the pain and devastation and horror and certainly of forever-brokenness to send out our voices to those who are just entering these waters and can’t see anything around them but the grey wash of endless hostile waters and nothing but their own arms and determination to keep them afloat. Even though I know they are needed into a tremendously difficult journey that may bear only marginal similarity to my own, I still want to say tho them, it can get better. I didn’t believe it could, and then it did. And then my life improved in ways I never would have even allowed myself to imagine.

I want this messaging for those who love these survivors, too: if you hold on with them, even at a distance, know that it can get better — their lives can get better, their love for themselves can get better, they will find work that engages them but only after they find work that harms them, work that bores them, survival skills that look to you like sheer destructiveness.

Tonight I am grateful for the fact of healing, and am grieving for those who are just beginning this work, this work of survivors, choosing to live, after suffering loss and violence and abuse. This who make choices in service to their own survival that folks around them can’t understand.

What am I trying to say here? I guess it’s just this: do whatever the fuck you need to do to keep yourself alive, please. And know that you are not alone in your grief, in your loss, in your terror. Though, of course, your particular grief, your particular rage, is yours, and yours only, and, in some ways, no one else will never understand what you have been through. That’s true. And, what’s also true is that many, many, many — far too many — other people have been through something similar or close or akin to what was done to you, that another grief is shaped an awful lot like yours. And there are people around you for whom you think you are too much, your rage is too much, our bad behavior is too much, who you will act terribly towards in order to prove to yourself and them and the world that you are as unloveable as you were told that you were — and they will love you anyway, some of them. I want to say that I’sorry for what you are about to go through, and I want you to know that there is another side to it. What looks like an unchangeable wall of shattered overwhelm and depression and grief that feels so big you can never look at it directly for fear that it will swallow you and turn your body inside out — all this will one day look different. I don’t know if that makes any of what will come in-between this day and that — the long and painful road of healing — any better or easier. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe if I’d known that one day I would feel joy in my body and safe in my skin    like maybe there is something in me truly worth loving    like I am not all incest   like maybe  I can be something else something more something greater —  maybe I would have felt impatient, I would have tried to jump ahead. Who knows.

I hope you will find some way to art your way through it – to write, or to draw, or to sing, or to dance, or to do all of the above, or to paint, or to otherwise create from and through and with the raw material of your deep and gorgeous and messy truth and confusion and memory and living and loss.

I guess today I’m just aware of what survival takes, what it takes to choose to live, what it takes to decide to wake up and get out of bed and take another single tiny step forward, day after day, anyway – even though the demons of pain are still yanking at your ankles and reminding you how worthless you are. You’re not. I wasn’t. My sister wasn’t. We aren’t. We are in the work of making it through.

our own definition of enough

Last night I offered Monica McIntyre’s song “Like A Lover” as a prompt to the Write Whole writers — if you haven’t met this woman’s amazing music, I invite you to do so now. Anyway, after rambling a bit in the notebook, this is what I dropped down into:

The singer says, “like a lover” – how would we talk to, treat ourselves, if we acted like our own lovers? What would it look like if we attended so deeply and gently and assiduously to our needs and desires? Drop in – I say into my own heart: I need space and deep quiet for my morning writing time. I say into my own heart: I am gladdest when I have spent some time every day with my fingers in soil, and in the preparation of food. I say into my heart: my body is all right. She is whole and strong, round just where she needs, and with a true a tremendous capacity for delight. I say into my own skin: you are whole. I say into my belly: you deserve to unknot. I say into my arms: you deserve to hold what keeps you whole. I say in-between my ears: you deserve space to unravel and meander. You deserve to weep and sing. You deserve the exhaustion of deep release. You deserve to come to conclusions, re-think, reconsider, change, unknow, decide for sure, and then do it all over again. You deserve to turn off the noise. You deserve poems that sing you awake. You deserve not to keep up with the Joneses. You deserve your own definition of enough.

I say into my self: You deserve to trust what you know about your own heart. You deserve the exact sort of pleasure your body prefers. You deserve to know what it’s like to be surprised by orgasm. You deserve as many orgasms as you want, no matter how long they take. You deserve to own the life you’ve crafted for yourself. You deserve to have survived. You deserve to treat yourself with the generosity and spaciousness you offer others. You deserve to know peace. You deserve to sleep well. You deserve to ask for what you want most even when you can’t figure away all by yourself to make it happen – you deserve to release that ask into a space where someone or something has resources greater than your single strong will and your single curious mind, and can come up with ideas you never could have imagined. You deserve to live in a state of curiosity and wonder. You deserve to live unafraid. You deserve to trust that he will never come after you. You deserve to know how to protect yourself. You deserve to trust that your beloved’s admiration is not clean enough for a demand, but simply a clarity of feeling: a delight and wonder at your precise you-ness.

You deserve to hold onto a thread of belief that this world can change, that one day all children will sleep safe in their beds, secure and well-fed and loved and treated with clean kindness and good boundaries that they can trust every day of their lives. You are not naive for believing this. Your belief – along with others’ – holds open the space and possibility for this transformation, even in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. Especially in the face of all this evidence. You deserve to believe that we can all be free –

be easy with you today

Good morning, good morning, brilliances.

On this December 25, I just want to invite you to be easy with yourself. I don’t know about you, but I get stressed this time of year even when I’m not trying to find the perfect gift for everyone or panicking because I don’t have enough money or anxiously trying to navigate or orchestrate the needs and desires of blood family, chosen family, friends, and beloveds.

This is a good time of year for me to find a CODA meeting, quite frankly, and often the time of year when I’m least likely to make the time for that sort of self care.

Today I am taking it easy. I am spending time with people I love. I will weep when I need to, and laugh, too. I’ll play with Sophie with her new toys. I’ll decorate cookies. I’ll be disappointed that something didn’t go perfectly, and then I’ll laugh at myself. Maybe I’ll even steal away some time for writing. I’ll do my best to be easy with myself, and with those around me.

At least, that’s my goal.

This is an achy time of year for me, and for many of us, even when I’m in a right place. If it’s an achy time of you, too, be so gentle with yourself, ok? Enjoy what you enjoy, and as much as you can, let the rest go.

Much love to you today, and tomorrow, too. Looking forward to sharing the coming year with you.

extra:ordinary – self-made

(This week’s contribution to the extra:ordinary project (stories of everyday and ongoing resilience) comes from Jen L. in Denver, CO. Jen shows us what it’s like inside the survivor who excels as a means of resistance, and yet can be perceived as utterly unaffected by their trauma. Thank you, Jen, for this powerful piece!)

self-made.

i am 28 years old. i have three (sometimes four) part-time jobs. i am in a full-time graduate program, have a 3.89 GPA, presented a poster at an international conference this fall, and am starting to look at PhD programs. i have a maybe-girlfriend (we’ll probably define that relationship soon, but there’s no rush). we laugh pretty much every day. i have built up an incredible network of very good friends who have stretched my heart across the entire country, from maine to massachusetts to florida to ohio to minnesota to kansas to colorado to california to washington state. six years ago, a family, not at all related by blood, gathered me into their fold, giving me a place to call home. my apartment is filled to the brim with book-friends that i’ve collected and hugged close over the last seven years.

i dated a girl recently who had an amazing apartment with an 8th floor balcony that faced west over the park, the perfect vantage point to watch the sun set over the mountains every night. she had a great car with heated leather seats. a sweet kitchen stocked with organic and natural everything. an enormous tv with satellite cable. an adorable dog who was fed specialty food. and she paid for none of it. her parents, who were generous and kind and loving and lived near napa valley, paid for everything. as far as i could tell, she walked through the world with no weight on her shoulders, with no baggage strapped to her hips.

we did not last.

i am 28 years old, and i’ve crafted and molded this world from the ashes that were left when i burned my family down to save myself.

i grew up with an abusive mother and an older brother who followed her lead. our house was always filled with people we took in, mostly college students who lived too far away to go home often and so they found a home in our handyman’s-special house by the creek. they never knew what happened upstairs, in my bedroom, in my parents’ bedroom, in his bedroom. these strays were the kids she could mother because they didn’t need her, they were the people she could love because she didn’t birth them. she took in strays like they were her own, while her own hurt each other in ways we didn’t know how to talk about.

i learned how to manipulate, growing up in that house by the creek. i taught myself how to harden my heart. i taught myself how to turn my tear ducts into deserts. i taught myself how to starve my desperation away. i taught myself how to shut down, and when that didn’t work / when that worked too well, i taught myself how to shock the pain out of my body with cuts or bruises or burns. i taught myself how to feel only what fit within my limits. i taught myself how to function in impossible situations. i taught myself how to see in the dark.

i taught myself how to find solace in writing suicide notes, in fantasizing about finality with all of my loose ends so neatly wrapped up. i taught myself the skills i would need to believe that i was at fault (i.e. that i still had control) after i was raped in college. i taught myself how to keep believing that it was my fault / that i still had control after i was raped again, less than a year later. i taught myself how to keep up appearances while my heart crumpled in on itself; i got scholarships and wrote brilliant papers and graduated just-shy-of-with-honors from an elite women’s college, all while writing poetic and brilliant suicide notes and hiding them from everyone around me.

i learned all of these things in that house by the creek.

down in the creek, though, i learned how to trust. it started with my oldest friend in the house just down the creek, and then exploded onto other friends and teachers and nurses in the hospital. in a creaky old house by the cemetery, i taught myself how to trust therapists with my story, and in a creaky old repurposed factory building by the river, i taught myself how to trust therapists with my crumpled-up heart. in a high school cafeteria, i taught myself how to rely on friends to fill the holes my family of origin had left in my soul. on a boat dock in the finger lakes, i taught myself what a home was; i learned how to identify that warm feeling that starts above your belly button and expands up through your shoulder blades as “home.” (i’ve felt that warm belly twice since.) on a rock by a lake in massachusetts, i taught myself how to let someone mother me again. in every place i’ve lived, i’ve taught myself how to let people in, how to build family from the ground up. on a mountain in virginia this summer, my brother and i started to teach ourselves how to find a connection with each other in between the light and the dark of our relationship. on these mountains in colorado, i’m teaching myself how to live a life that allows the dark to coexist with the light.

Jen L.
Denver, CO

we don’t know who needs our words

Good morning, writers and those readying to write. How are you singing your sleepy songs this morning? What is waking in you already today?

This morning I am thinking about the impact our writing has on others, and how we never know what piece of writing will be exactly what someone else needs to hear — and though, of course that’s generally not why we write in the first place, the issue is a good one to think about: somewhere, there’s someone who needs to hear exactly what it is you need to say and write.

Last weekend, at our first Dive Deep meeting of November, I asked the assembled Divers to write for a bit about a piece of writing that shook them to the core (having been inspired by this essay by Naomi Benaron). We wrote about stories, essay or poems that showed us something new about ourselves, or about the world, writing that broke us open, that changed the lenses we could see the world through. (I wrote about the first time I read Pat Califia’s Macho Sluts a book of lesbian erotic stories that completely changed the way I — at the time, a 19 or 20 year old young woman still being abused by her stepfather — understood that women could be sexual, could have authentic sexual agency. I will never stop being grateful for that book.)

Though I often read traditionally published work that surprises and wakes me up to some new understanding, it’s also true that almost every time I go to an open mic or sit in a circle with folks’ brand new writing in a writing group, I hear something that breaks me open, that shakes me to the core. There is a power in ‘publishing’ our work this way — into the air, directly into the ears of our community. We don’t know, we never know, the full impact our writing will have on others when we offer it out into the world, whether into our own notebooks, into a small circle of trusted writers, into the audience at an poetry slam, or publishing it in a magazine, anthology or other book.

You don’t know who is going to encounter your words and find exactly what they needed in that moment — a challenge or an encouragement or a sense of solidarity or a surprise or an invitation to risk more in their own lives and creative acts. You don’t know who is going to write down a slice of what you said in their notebook so they can read it every day, who is going to tear out your poem and tape it to their mirror, who is going to return to your story in that collection again and again, just to be with the words that they adore.

You don’t know who it’s going to be — but it will be somebody, more than one somebody. What you have to say is needed in the world — your exact poems or stories or essays or multi-genre experiments have an audience waiting for them. You will not know who most of those people are. You will not hear from most of the people who are moved or changed by your work, and you will wonder if it makes any difference for you to be doing this thing of dropping words onto the page, reaching for the next right word, reaching for the right way to say it, trying again and again and again.

Of course, you write for yourself. You write because you have to. You write because the words agitate around inside you until you write them down. You write because the writing itself helps you feel more whole, more sane, more coherent. You aren’t writing for someone else. Of course not. Right?

Except maybe a little. I know that I write as much for myself now as I write for myself ten years ago, twenty years ago, thirty years ago, the different selves that still have so much to say, who felt lonely and certain that no one else understood what they were going through. I write for a sister I couldn’t really communicate with for years. I write for a reader who is like the Jen I was at nineteen, beginning to be sure she was never going to get free, and needing the words to point to any other possibility. I write knowing that I am not the only one feeling whatever I’m feeling. I write what I’ve needed to read — just like Toni Morrison says: If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Your words have an impact on those who hear them. They open us and change us. They give us insight, show us a new way of understanding the world. Only you see the world the way you do — you have distinct and necessary perspectives, metaphors, phrasings, explanations, knowings, imaginings, mythologies, all specific to your particular life experience and constitution. There is a vernacular unique to you, an internal cosmology, a semantics and a semiotics that are just yours — and that we can only meet if you share them with us.

Martha Graham said it like this:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”

Someone needs what you have to share, needs your art, your expression, your words. Please keep writing, though, exactly what you need to say. The sharing of it will come when you’re ready. Tuck away the knowing that someone , somewhere, without know it, is waiting for your words.

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Can you think of a piece of writing that shook you (or your character) to the core, that broke you open or introduced you to something new about yourself, your family, your community, or the world? Give yourself fifteen minutes today to write about that writing — how old were you when you found this writing? What about it was surprising? What was the impact on you?

And, too, don’t forget our extra:ordinary project’s call for stories of everyday resistance and resilience — the questions in the call can act as writing prompts, too!

Of course, follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

Thank you for the ways you have allowed yourself to be changed by others’ words, and for what you offer to those in your community, and those readers you’ll never get to meet. Your words have been, will be, a charge, a balm, a generosity. Thank you for those words.

We deserve to be celebrated

Good morning good morning. This morning I was up early, at quarter to five, and managed to actually pull my body from the bed in order to write. Yesterday, too. Maybe I am entering a new (old) creative circadian rhythm. Time will tell.

This morning I am feeling deep and quiet with a kind of appreciation that maybe I should better call reverence.  I want us to celebrate anyone who is doing any work to connect to the real and authentic heart of their sex, their desire, their erotic self. We as a culture do not encourage this kind of work, and we don’t make space for it. We want sex to be business or irony or easy; we don’t have a lot of room for real sex.

If you know anyone doing this sort of work for themselves — for example, reconnecting to a traumatized sexuality, taking steps to manifest a long hidden or silenced desire, or trying something that they’ve always wanted to try but have been deeply afraid of, saying what they really want, knowing what they really want, saying yes as well as no, reembodying during sex, allowing themselves to have a body during sex — I want you to celebrate them. If you are doing this work, I want you to celebrate yourself. This labor is deeply powerful — it transforms our relationship to our whole lives, not just to our sex lives — and it is so often unwitnessed and unreverenced.

There are so many reasons not to do this work, so many very good reasons to walk away from sex forever. But we don’t, many of us. We don’t. We want to know what all the fuss is about. We want our bodies to know this joy. We take classes and we read books; we try to learn the languages that the untraumatized around us seem to speak with ease — with ease, can you imagine?

We talk to therapists, we sign up for groups, we risk saying aloud what it is that we want. It seems so simple and small to write it here, and I keep pausing as I type, wanting something more profound to say. But this is it: I’m grateful to you. I honor the work you are doing. I recognize the struggle, and I want to celebrate with you your successes. Where do we get to be witnessed in the work of our body’s unlearning trauma and reengaging the language of yes and hope? Where do we get to be met on this path? So many of us have our eyes cast downward, we are not supposed to be seen: this is shameful work. Sex is shameful stuff. We all know that. We know that we’re supposed to be able to do all this sex stuff naturally, that the normal and healthy people can do it naturally, that if we were normal and healthy and untraumatized, we would only have ease and delight in our sex. Isn’t this what we know?

Of course it isn’t true — one doesn’t have to be a survivor of sexual violence or molestation to grow up with confusing and damaging ideas about sex in this culture. But we who did have to walk through the land of erotic loss, those of us who did have to unlatch our skins from our psyches in order to survive into adulthood, we assume we are alone on the path that leads us back into the delight of the body. We certainly don’t see anyone else walking with us. All of us keep our eyes cast down and our mouths shut when we are in public– and often when we are in private, too. We know about shame, and we certainly don’t want anyone else to be embarrassed or uncomfortable. We don’t want other people to know that we don’t have all the answers already, we don’t want people to know that we are broken.

But how long does it take for us to realize that many, many people feel broken; that many, many people feel lost and confused around sex; that many, many people want more from their erotic life but are too afraid or ashamed or embarrassed to reach for change?

The fact that you are doing so is cause for celebration. The fact that you are making room for your grief and loss, as well as for new ideas and possibility, deserves recognition. The fact that you want to be all the way in your skin — with or without another person nearby — is a holy thing. It’s magnificent. It’s beautiful and life-affirming, not to put too fine a fucking point on it, and I am grateful for you today. We have every reason in the world not to want anything to do with sex. We have every reason to put sex down and never pick it up again. But you decided to pick it up again. You decided to put it back in your mouth and against your cheek. You decided to take the risk of imagining, dreaming, fantasizing. You put to your lips the words for what you want. You allowed yourself even to want. You know what an extraordinary thing that is. I know, too. Today I want to celebrate you. I want to celebrate every person I’ve written with or spoken to who has undertaken the private, gorgeous labor of untangling their erotic from their trauma, of untangling their bodies from the mouth of history. You deserve a cheering crowd. You deserve confetti and a marching band. You deserve witness and withness. You help make the body of this world more inhabitable. Thank you. Keep going, ok? Please don’t stop.

we are our own rescuers

Good Monday morning — here’s the grey fog, the greet of cloud to hills, the way the city sounds are obscured and muffled by the weight of the shallow wetness. Here I am in how much I want to be alive today. Where are you on this Monday?

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What does it mean to get rescued? This was the weekend of mother stories, and I’ll write more about those tomorrow — today what I have is the shallow ache of missing: I miss my mother, I miss what she could have been, I am angry and sad and longing, I am still a twelve year old girl waiting for her to stand up for me.

Today I am thinking about rescue.

I spent all last week not hearing anything about the women in Cincinnati. Early in the week, I caught a headline and brief story on the BBC — this was late at night, maybe last Monday after the survivors workshop. The reporter was talking about three brothers, three women who’d been held captive, and a city that was celebrating. The story shared few details — they talked to someone in Ohio, a neighbor of one of the abducted women, who said the whole city was rejoicing. “We’re just so glad that they’re alive.” I arrived at my destination, turned off the car, put the story out of my mind, and proceeded not to get any further details for the rest of the week. I managed to see nothing on social media, and to hear nothing on the radio news: maybe the media was saturated with the story last week, but I’d apparently found a way to walk between the raindrops — if I hadn’t caught that BBC story, I’d have known nothing about these women until someone mentioned it in another workshop.

I still haven’t gone looking for details. I haven’t found stories to repost on our facebook page. I don’t want more of this story.

What I want to feel is simple fury at the perpetrators and joy for the women who finally escaped. I want to be glad that people are (apparently) celebrating the women’s rescue. But I am stuck in the smaller, less sensational, unwritten story: that the kids in the house up the block from that one where the women were held captive, the kids who are being sexually abused by a parent or other relative, will go a lifetime understanding that they were not worth rescue.

I don’t get excited when I see one of these rescue stories. I get numb. I think, Oh, another one.

This is a terrible thing to think.

I think about all the women all the people  in Cincinnati (and Seattle and Sheboygan and San Francisco) being raped by their parents or “caregivers” today who will not get balloons or a parade, who won’t get media coverage, who were not “abducted” in the ways we recognize as abduction in this culture — instead, we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or born into the wrong family or otherwise unfortunate enough not to get abused by someone that the media deems newsworthy. We won’t get settlements. We won’t get cover stories. We will look for just a couple folks to really listen to what happened to us, and most of our friends will tune us out and wonder when we’re going to get over it.

The folks who are abducted and held captive have experienced something horrible and deserve our compassion, our witness. They deserve justice. They deserve for this not to have happened to them.

And the kid who’s being misused by her mother’s boyfriend this morning: she deserves the same thing. She deserves Chris Matthews to be horrified on her behalf, taking up an entire news program spilling this guy’s name and face for the country to witness, shaming him for his crimes and violations, and holding her up for us to applaud: you are so strong and brave; you dealt with so much horror; we as a country are going to help you heal. Imagine if we all got that message.

We all deserve for our communities to notice what is being done to us and to take action on our behalf. We deserve to have our traumas taken seriously.

No matter how much we deserve it, most of us are not rescued. We save ourselves. We run away, physically or psychically or both. We cut off family. We cut off parts of ourselves.  We stop coming home from school. We get married to someone who will take us out of the situation. We drink or drug to escape. We dive into work or school. We find ingenious and brilliant ways to get away — Yes, some of those tactics our psyches come up with aren’t going to serve us in the long term — and then we will rescue ourselves again. We go through this practice again and again and again. Sometimes that’s called self-parenting.

We save ourselves and then we do not find praise for our accomplishments, even within ourselves. Often, instead, we criticize ourselves for taking so long to get away (at least, I do this — do you, too). What if we took some time to celebrate how we became our own knight in shining armor? What if we said thanks? What would that look like, to honor the self that chose to live?

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What does rescue mean for you this morning? Maybe you’ve already written about the Cincinnati case — maybe you want to write about rescue more broadly. Were you (or your character) rescued? What did your escape look like? What would it look like for you to celebrate how you have saved yourself? Give yourself twenty minutes with this today, if you can take that time — or ten minutes for the write and ten minutes to breathe into whatever comes up for you as you write. Follow the words wherever they seem to want you to go.

Thank you for the brilliant and scary work you did and are continuing to do to get free from trauma. Thank you for holding others in your community as they do the same. Thank you on this Monday for your words.