As a survivor, I choose how to walk in this world. I did not choose the particular violence that happened to me. But I choose how to live after violence, and I strive to be gentle on my way “forward.”
I choose my healing path, how to journey forward from the victim some believe me to be, into the survivor who I know I am. And my choices are tested in resonant moments, like one strand on a web that vibrates across the span.
It is not all struggle — another choice along the path. It is not all Flight, Fight, or Freeze … but Feeling in the moment, including Joy.
~ journal paraphrase/ January 18, 2014/ Lansing, Michigan
This expression came to me at the monthly circle of The Writing Room while reflecting upon my current pulse of survivorhood. For survivorhood is not a fixed thing for any one person, even someone sharing survivorhood in the public sphere. A spiral dance is my choice way to describe the life journey as a survivor.
The last 1.5-plus years away from community programming allowed space to tend my healing journey. A shift in recent months, though, calls me back to performance and public work. Sharing this personal work as a braiding of intuition and artistry is part of what’s to come.
The lesson I wish to share from this time is to follow where intuition leads — intuition being the inner voice that sings when nourished. A curious and observant listening process made this possible for me, as has the presence of spiritual communities and loved ones, especially my partner and best friend of nine years, Tom Schouten.
A material expression from this period is The Vision Journal, my artist’s book on the interior journey of an adult survivor of childhood sexual violence. Paired figures of self-portraiture and an archetypal Alice in Wonderland travel a layered and symbolic landscape. The hand-held portal incorporates mixed media, collage, painting, and poetry.
I welcome the intuitive call back into public life in synchronicity with this month’s publication of the anthology Dear Sister: Letter from Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press). It’s an honor to be a contributor with my poem “Attic”. Please stay tuned to my Dear Sister updates’ page, as well as my events calendar for upcoming appearances.
Another synchronicity is my collaboration with adult survivors of childhood sexual violence through Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative of Kalamazoo. Project s.t.e.p. — speaking truth equals power — is organizing an event series “balance.” Details are forthcoming, including our signature performance in April.
In Greater Lansing, I’m developing an event series with the Firecracker Foundation and organizers of our local Take Back the Night. Launching Dear Sister, an open mic, intimate performances, and more will lead up to TBTN’s full-day of programming in MidApril. So, please stay tuned for program announcements!
Readers, as always, thanks for your continued subscription. I hope your 2014 is starting off brilliantly and continues to shine from the inside out.