By Sooz Jeson and Friend
The answer to that question is complicated and forever changing. Why, because I am still evolving. Years ago I wasn’t. Abuse silenced me. I became a prisoner within myself. How did I become free; I learned to speak. A little over a year ago I attended a Writing Workshop that was created by a survivor; that enabled me to find the voice my abusers had stole from me. The two-day testimonial writing workshop is called, “The Stories We Tell.” From that incredible experience I embraced their mantra, “silence is the enemy of change”.
Voices and Faces Project
To describe who I was the years after the abuse I will borrow the words from a prayer warrior friend. “I want people to know what happened to me, but I am fearful of their reactions, fearful their feelings towards me will change…. It is still a secret, my secret that I have not come to reality with; a secret I have continued to try to bury…. I fear others wouldn’t accept me if they knew this part of my story.”
I so identify with my friend’s words and feelings. I understand now how important it is to speak that truth and how long I struggled to bring myself to say them out loud. But the awful words were in my head and heart and stuck inside me ready to burst, and then one day they did erupt in the form of writing. Writing became a way of releasing so many thoughts, secrets that I couldn’t bear to say aloud. But, that writing transpired into becoming a source of undeniable healing that I wasn’t even conscious about. Writing my secret thoughts out was not only a release, expressions of my deepest thoughts, but it initiated the unfolding, unraveling of my pain. I HEARD myself, my words! Hearing my words, my own voice, was a “Life Changer” for me.
I close with this poem, because I believe Art has many forms, writing, speaking, drawing, photographs; they all can be your voice. Words are powerful in any form.
Art Speaks for the Master and the Piece
Art defines and re-defines
Art explains and remains
Art explores and deplores
Art reacts and interacts
Art creates and stimulates
Art reaches and teaches
Art Reveals Art Heals
So who am I – I am one voice willing to share my pain and my sources of healing in hopes others may begin their Healing Journey and our VOICES cause Change and that will cause Transformation in each of us, in our Church, and in our world.
*For their promotion of arts in advancing recovery, the author expresses appreciation to Voices and Faces of Chicago, Illinois, advocates who speak out against sexual violence, and also to Rachel Monaco-Wilcox, who, because of her dedication, compassion and commitment, has brought this workshop to Milwaukee year after year. She is the true meaning of “social justice in action.” For more info www.voicesandfaces.org.