“…I saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave [in college] (i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…) and I’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. You explained how you felt so eloquently. Thanks again for telling your story back then – it made an impact on me and I was very proud of you.”
“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma. When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention. Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability. This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”
-Healing Arts Workshop Coordinator, Survivor Theater Workshop & Teacher
This past week, I led a healing- arts writing workshop for survivors through the Survivor Theater Workshop @ the Cambridge Women Center.
At my first American Group Psychotherapy conference in New York meeting new inspiring colleagues. March 2017.
With my mentor at MASOC’s annual conference in April 2016. I am grateful for her example and showing me the power of writing groups.
In the past I’ve always longed for “intimacy”, deep, meaningful conversations, strangers turned friends. Then why do I suddenly find myself hyper-aware of others’ need to disclose their inner-lives so quickly? Before I’m ready or wondering if they’re ready for what I might share.
I used to feel like people needed to know about my life experiences to know me. I wanted them to see my scars right away so I could feel seen and accepted. Now, I’m being trained in a profession that focuses on intentionality and mindfulness. We must ask ourselves: WHY are you sharing, for WHO are you sharing? These questions along with a stronger sense of self have me thinking twice about sharing and how vulnerable I am with people. I feel more patient with the time it takes to build relationships and earn trust. I feel more guarded in a healthy way, protective of myself. We can’t control how people react to our stories, our disclosures, our wounds, but we CAN control who we share them with.
I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone. I know what I’ve been through and those experiences may not be written on my face but they live within me and inform everything I do and everything I am. I never thought I’d say this because I’m a big fan of vulnerability and still love connecting with people through sharing meaningful experiences. Yet, I’m noticing how others choose to share and why. I’m wondering if they feel these experiences define who they are or if they too see that they are SO much more than what’s happened to them. We are so much more than what we’ve been through.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
This morning my friend reminded me of the wonderful interview between Krista Tippett and Brene Brown. I relistened to it at the gym (embarrassing? It gets my heart rate up!)
Here are some of my favorite take-aways:
- “Most of us are brave and afraid in the exact same moment, all day long.”
- “When i meet you vulnerability is the first thing I try to find in you and the very last thing I try to show you in me. It’s the glue that holds connection together, it’s all about our common humanity. When we own our stories and share them with one another and we see ourselves reflected back in the stories of people in our lives, we know we are not alone. And to me that’s the heart of whole heartedness.”
- “It’s the long walk from what will people think to I am enough. I think it is recognizing if courage is a value that we hold as important, then vulnerability is the only way in and through.”
- “It starts by an openness to see ourselves and how we are protecting ourself from vulnerability.”
- Standing my ground, valuing my time and contributions, in a negotiation
- Asking someone for a second date. Going on a date. Period.
- Reaching out for support.
- Reaching out for a friend to get her more support.
- Going to a community event by myself and going up to the moderator after to thank her for her comments.
- Asking for help with a new machine at the gym and then responding confidently when the person commented on my “sun tan.”
- Setting boundaries with my ex.
Share your stories with yourself, a friend, or below to honor your strength and encourage others in your life to take some emotional risks!