Jan 102011
 
When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful    ~Barbara Bloom~

 

The Christmas season is over. I worked myself to the bone setting up booths at craft and vendor fairs on weekends and seeing clients during the week. It was an uphill climb just to make my table fee and cover my costs. But I’m determined to keep going. That is one thing about me. I’m tenacious. I believe if I keep trying I will succeed at selling my book, writing my next one and becoming a profitable crafter. It isn’t easy but I firmly believe hard work and integrity eventually pays off, if not in this world, then in the next.

The story I tell in Not of My Making is a compelling read. Fellow survivors, teachers and mental health professionals who have read my book have gained insight into the dynamics of bullying and its long term impact. Through my personal example, they have learned how to not only survive but to thrive.  My training as a psychologist is reflected in by my inclusion of the books I read as I desperately tried to understand what was happening and why. I included my reactions to these books within my narrative and there is a reference list at the back. 

There are people who have criticized me for telling “too personal of a story” and/or have called it “victim’s lit”. They believe it is uncivil to share your pain with others. In fact, during the struggle with the church I was told on two occasions I should stay home and not attend church services until I could keep my pain and grief private. This, of course, benefited them, since it relieved them of their responsibility to care for me while I was depressed and grieving. That their abandonment and attempts to silence me exacerbated my suffering, well, that was my problem, not theirs. 

Other survivors, of course, have also been told similar things. Fearing further abuse they don’t tell others they have been abused while maintaining a façade of health and happiness. When I’m at craft fairs, I have seen other survivors circle my booth, whisper to me that they too are survivors, leave, come back before they will purchase Not of My Making. Often they prefer to buy my book anonymously from Amazon or Barnes & Noble even though have to pay a higher price for it plus shipping and handling. 

I’m reminded of the days when people with cancer or parents of disabled children hid this information from others. It was their deep, dark shameful secret to be whispered and gossiped about by neighbors and acquaintances. Finally people with cancer had enough and they went public. They, too, were criticized for burdening others with their problems. Now people shave their heads in solidarity with a friend or family member who is undergoing radiology. 

Just like people with cancer did a few decades ago, I am asking other abuse survivors to come out of hiding, tell their stories and confront those who try to silence us. I am also asking good people to listen to survivors and help them prevent abuse.