There are two years of my life I don’t remember. They say your mind protects you when you are the most vulnerable, refusing to form memories. These two years occurred when another family was staying with us. The mother was abusive. I have two very strong memories from that period–one of which was being protected by my sibling from this woman when she was trying to beat me.

I once worked with a therapist to repattern some memories. We travelled through my subconcious to the places I was stuck in my personal history. I discovered myself at different ages hiding in darkness. One of those ages matched up with my memory blackout. I crouched on a hard, smooth floor with darkness all around me. I hugged my knees to my chest and looked up into the light.

I was the light–my adult self–looking down into my young face.

With my therapist guiding me, I took my inner child out of that darkness. I put her in the woods in a cabin. She was an only child with an easel and painting supplies. There was a river nearby for her to stand in. The space was calm and bright, and her two parents were steady, loving and needed for nothing. No brushes with poverty. No hard slaps. No hurt. Just the love underneath all the fear we carry.

I told her she could stay there or grow up. She is still there, but I also followed her to another age. She had a dream of traveling the world, of looking down from great heights, so I left her at the top of a mountain. She is still there. She is many places.

Just as there is no limit to the imagination, there is no limit to our ability to heal our stories.

In what ways have you used creative thought to heal past wounds?

This post is Day 9 of the 30 Day #LinkYourLife Challenge. If you enjoy writing prompts, you can find the challenge here.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

2 Discussion to this post

  1. For me, it’s more-so been effective writing about a direct account of my trauma. Like this is what happened, now I’ll give you it in all its glorious detail.

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  2. For me it was that first published piece. Now I look back & see that I romanticized that in order to get some love. Initially it worked. The reality is that was not how it happened & not who she is. It took me an entire year to realize that I could forgive her but I had to be realistic. She could never be in my life because being family wasn’t sacred to her. You helped that . I no longer feel holes in my heart or sadness. Disappointment won’t end . Twice you helped me relieve myself of toxicity. Writing through my pain has been organic .

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