Students come to my classes afraid. They arrive because of the title and they want to leave because of the title. I understand. Really. I did years of talk therapy before I realized that dredging up painful memories was serving to keep the memories fresh rather than aid me in releasing them. I began a private practice of expressive writing because talk therapy always left me open. Vulnerable. Wounded. Raw. I am an inconsistent journaler at best, so I didn’t treat the writing as journaling. I didn’t treat it as anything other
I tell her she is beautiful. Truly beautiful. Because, in the mirror, I see how whole she is. How healed, how hurt, how loving, how loved, how strong, how vulnerable, how brave, how afraid, how confused, how concerned and how joyful.
I want to tell you how hard it is to know why I am this way. How hard it is to self-advocate. Admit I need to walk away. Tell you why I am this way. Tell you I am this way. Tell you I am triggered, or having a panic attack, a flashback, or any other trauma response.
Not everyone can come to my classes to write through trauma in a supportive group setting, so I decided when I started teaching that I would provide my core in-class resources on my site. I believe writing is an excellent tool in the self-care kit. I’ve put these posts in an order that you can use as an in-home syllabus. Consider working with one post per week, and complementing it with prompts from the linked page (see below). While I believe the safest way to start an expressive writing practice for the
It’s that time again! My next set of classes at Unity of Bloomington has been approved. Here are course details: Writing through Trauma Six Mondays from August 31-October 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m. This class will be a supportive space for adult writers negotiating difficult topics, regardless of genre or experience. We will discuss writing trauma from a safe space, self-care, critical reading, how to give and receive constructive criticism, what writing style works best for us and why, finding our voices, and point of view among other topics. At least 30 minutes
I have a friend who lives in a fearful situation. We have had several amazing conversations about how much she does not want to admit that her situation has to change, and that she has to change it. She has taken steps forward and backward, knowing that neither place is where she wants to be. Now she finds herself sapped and exhausted, her creative well dry. Fight or flight, the human fear response, means, when threatened, you defend either by standing up in defiance or running away to stay safe.
If you enjoy understatements, here’s one: healing after trauma is hard work. I often find my lips have glued themselves shut when my therapist zeros in on the traumas most alive in me. I’d be terrible at poker. But here’s the thing–I’m great at putting my head down and getting through. I am strong in multiple ways. When it comes to healing, I don’t give myself a break. We found the tip of the iceberg? Great. Let’s haul that whole sucker out of the water and chip it into slush
It is deeply rewarding to announce you can now find my work in the incredible April collection ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL (ASLI) has curated. In addition to my short story, “Right Kind of Woman,” ASLI has published an interview with me on my writing, my work and being a woman in today’s world. In it, I am very honest. It took me a long while to compose my answers because ASLI is an organization devoted to my greatest passion: improving lives through the various mediums of art. Every day I write
Writing through Trauma begins tonight! I am so excited for the women I will get to write with. Trauma writing has moved me through some terribly difficult times. I learned to write my trauma from my childhood therapist. My mother helped me continue throughout my life because she knew that I am a person who processes seriously and slowly. Without the support of the page, I can’t speak to what my life would look like, although I’m certain it wouldn’t be filled with the joys I have access to daily. The short
*While this post is tailored toward trauma writing, relief projects and objects are necessary to any type of writing, especially when writing is your livelihood. ~~~ It’s very easy to get overwhelmed or burn out when you are heavily focused on one project such as a novel or personal essay. When I work, I generally have between three and five pieces I am writing at the same time. This allows me to switch gears without sacrificing productivity. Because the topics I choose to engage in writing most frequently focus on