Give Away

At the workshop “Writing as Healing,” participants taught me the importance of listening, often times a challenge for wordy-types like myself. The lesson especially was fitting for a program being given at The Listening Ear Crisis Center, which offers a 24-hour phone line to anyone needing to be heard: (517) 337-1717. A special thanks to volunteer staff for making us feel welcome and comfortable! Also thanks to the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing for taking registrations.

The materials we explored over the day shared this aim: Healing is a matter of telling the story about who we are becoming, not who we have been.  “Woundology and the Healing Fire” by Caroline Myss (People Who Don’t Heal and How They Can), “now let us shift . . . the path of conocimiento . . . inner works, public acts” by Gloria Anzaldúa (this bridge we call home), and poems from my collection Circle. . .Home pointed us in this direction. We need not go amnesiac, but rather build our present and future with recognition of where we have come from.

Without a doubt, perpetrators of intimate partner, sexual, and domestic violence are responsible for their actions. As survivors, though, we are left with the choice about how to live after trauma. And stepping back to consider life from the width of our experiences, there are certain habits and outlooks that foster resentment, ultimately piling grief upon grief instead of freeing us to live with peace and joy.  This focus led me to journal at the workshop about a very unexpected exchange last week about “airing dirty laundry” when we believe someone has “done us wrong.”

The surprising exchange made me ask myself: Why do we drudge up old wounds? What do we get from telling trauma stories? How does “dumping” our resentments impact others? In the asking, I recognized my own patterns and triggers, as well as the desire to be free from them. And an awareness surfaced from this process: Needing to be heard is not the same as needing to re-live the pain of certain memories and needing others to re-live them with you.

Here is the poem that resulted from my intention to embrace the power of love over the power of violence. “Give Away” is dedicated to the workshop participants. And thanks to the circle at The Writing Room for feedback on its earlier version.

Give Away

I am ready to give away
many things to the Earth
things that I have held
and held too long
that I am right

I am ready to give away
my sorrow and grief
that familiar pain
gouging my flesh
the pleasure from certainty
that I was wronged

I am ready to give away
the loss of dignity
the gain of humiliation
violations of body mind soul
the wound and scar

to the Earth
I am ready to give away
that takes away
my hope
my joy
my peace
the choice to live
in love

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2 Responses to Give Away

  1. Excellent, as usual. With your permission, I’ll use this for next week’s Sunday Poetry at “What’s the Diehl?” Let me know, please.

  2. Thanks, Pat! You are welcome to use it. Appreciate the offer.

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