First a Private Shelter, Now a Tool for Connection
For as long as I can remember writing has been a shelter for me. Every difficult experience in my life has been marked by me slashing a pen across paper, exploring every angle of pain, struggle, and resolution. Problems always seem clearer when they are words on a page instead of a tangle lodged in the heart. It was often easier for me to distance myself and read my life as a story, propelling itself to a happy ending that would make all the challenges worth it.
I firmly believe in the power of creative drive to save us. Countless individuals have forged careers making art inspired by their hardships. It was, and is, a dream of mine to tell stories that those with similar experiences can relate to, that can heal others with the simple power of knowing there are others like you. I think of my small self, scribing fantastical escapism tinged with real-life details, trying to make sense of the poverty, sexual abuse, racism, and addiction that plagued my family. I remember a lonely, desperate young woman making sense of being completely on her own, even in the relationships that only served to perpetuate the pattern she’d grown up with. Writing, writing, writing her way out of it. Writing saved me, so many times. So many times it was the only connection I had and my blank books felt like a friend waiting with welcoming arms and unconditional love.
I have always had a drive to help other women and children with stories similar to mine. With my own introduction to the world of blogs and other online publications I found an amazing opportunity to combine that passion with my love of writing. Some of us know more than others how truly political the personal is. The online world gives us a chance to turn these deeply personal stories into instant connections. I have timidly entered into this world, starting a blog still very much in its infant stages, joining online communities and observing how others write, slowly entering into the dialogue on feminist listservs, forums for domestic violence victims, and movements that address the many issues surrounding justice for Native peoples in the US. Along the way I stumbled across a call for applicants for Voices of Our Future and applied.
I must admit sharing my words is frightening. I almost didn’t post a first assignment, out of fear. There’s always a sense of, “who could possibly want to hear what I have to say?” But I am serious about changing the cycles that have hurt me and my family, and countless other women. I want to learn whatever I can so I can turn my personal stories into political and social action, and to earn the honor of telling the stories of other women. I am working at crafting completely true tales but with the riveting impact of the most enthralling fiction. What a great opportunity I have here to do so.