Several people have inquired about my experience of writing memoir about rape. My answer: “It was full of emotion.” I wrote my book to offer hope and healing for others. Still, the writing required me to dig beneath the uplifting message I wished to relay. After twenty-eight years of physical, emotional and spiritual healing involving nearly eighty different alternative healing modalities, I felt there was a chance I could accomplish this writing task without much emotional turmoil. I was wrong. After all, I was dredging up trauma, examining it, sifting and organizing the pieces, attempting to give clear voice to my journey. With the many recent stories of rape and violence that have come to our attention through the media, there was an added dimension of feeling the immense need for emotional healing in this world.
I decided eighteen months ago that in order to finish my book, I’d need to tuck myself away, sit my butt in a chair and write--this became my plan. I quickly learned that I needed to give myself space to release emotion, listen more intently to my body and tenderly hold the parts of me that resisted the process. I spent six months with a breathwork coach, saw my network chiropractor weekly and did some transformative work with a somatic experiencing practitioner who helped me be more present with my grief. And I continued writing. It has taken a great deal of self compassion to hold space for the feelings that have arisen, to listen and respond in the moment rather than pushing away emotion that’s inconveniently timed and tiring to process. I've reminded myself daily to get behind my eyes, to breath easily, to remember that I wouldn’t be called to do this work without having the ability to answer the call.
I knew the time would come when the manuscript was complete, when it was picked up by a publisher and was amassing its own energy and momentum. While I was writing, I longed for this time, thinking how peaceful it would feel to have long repetitive days of writing, and little geysers of emotion behind me. Now that I’m here however, I’m feeling a new kind of vulnerability. I’m realizing that I can no longer hide in my writing nook. I’ll be called out, asked to show up and speak my truth. This was an expected and desired outcome; still, as this new reality sets in, I’m taking needed action to support this part of my process.
As I transition from writing my book to what’s next, I’ve chosen to step into a medicine wheel process associated with teachings of the Q’ero medicine people of Peru. In simplest terms, the medicine wheel is a symbol used in some indigenous cultures to engage in personal transformation. In engaging this work, it’s my intent to move with clarity and purpose into what my next calling will be. I’ve asked for loving support from my community, and have just finished a quilted cloth to hold the medicine bundle that I’ll be working with this year and beyond. As a reminder that I have all I need to move forward, I’ve appliquéd my cloth with hearts to represent the loving support of my community both in the physical and the spiritual world, and have included the cardinal, a totem I’m working with to support me as I step into being seen—in all my color.
Quilted mesa cloth and fiber fear doll created by Anne Heck.