Some years ago when I was writing my first book, Women In Hiding, and before I embraced my mediumship, I reached an impasse of such shame I was unsure if I could continue on. Because to continue absolutely meant I had to inch my way through a passage so dark, just the thought of it suffocated me with scalding dread.
The sexual predator, in a public act of sexual bravado and sinister, bragging mummers, claimed his authority over and possession of his prey, me—a frightened, traumatized young girl—his victim. It was an incident of such unspeakable public humiliation that the details instantly burrowed inside my body and took up permanent residence as raw, hemorrhaging shame.
I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t say the words. They would have to remain buried safely out of sight, away from malicious prying eyes and the pointing fingers of strangers who were literally standing in line waiting for the opportunity to attack. It was all ugly.
I sat there with my fingers hovering above the keyboard and asked the air; the universe; the spooky little things that lived in the sky or heaven; the invisible impetus that encouraged this book in the first place: “Do you really want me to say this?” I expected a resounding rebuke. At the very least an accusatory silence where I would hang my head in more shame and go about living my life with the trailing depression that shaped it.
“If you don’t say the words, nothing will change,” was the immediate response.
So I said the words. Wrote in detail…agonizing detail. Words that possessed power. Blunt truth. Words that connected deeply to the incident, to its lasting legacy of personal trauma. Words that mined the pain. The disgrace. Surgical words. Words that cleaned the wound. Excised it of poison. Words that left an open wound that I did not think would ever, ever heal. Words that I wanted to take back and re-bury. Words I was terrified of. And here I had set them free. And I did not know what they would do. Though I was pretty sure that they would torture me.
Writing Woman In Hiding was not cathartic. I did not see how it could be. For years after writing it I wanted to go back into hiding. Return to the safety of a blanket over my head. Return to crying in private and smiling in public. Just like I’d always done since early childhood.
But what began as a futile effort to articulate the inexpressible became an act of courage on my own behalf. Gave foundation and structure to that which I had no understanding. The words—as tough and excruciating as they were—forged a path into a light that I did not know existed. I can only call it freedom.
If you don’t say the words, nothing will change. I said the words and everything changed.