No. Seriously no. It was an act of will. The belief that somehow, somewhere my story might help another woman, another man, overcome child abuse.
I was asked to write this story 25 years ago, but my sense of safe autonomy was pretty fragile, and I had two children who needed my full attention. I wrote a couple of novels. But those who knew me best kept challenging me to tell this story. Reluctantly, I entertained the idea. The Fifth Sister came kicking and screaming into this world.
Because, you see, to step back into the scene of a diary entry, and then take YOU there was so distressful that I often had to take myself away from my home for several days to write a difficult chapter. I needed to not inflict me on my husband, or children or grandchildren when I had to put myself in those historic places of my heart.
I love to write. That’s been true all my life. I have diary entries from the 5th grade forward. Those little glimpses helped me craft timelines, refresh memories, and reminded me of things I’d forgotten over the course of time.
In fairness, I had a great deal of fun with the story, too. I got to watch me grow up. Crazy, right?
Cathartic was doing the work of therapy to overcome complex trauma. Cathartic was finally, finally securing my children’s safety. I’ve lived this story within the safety net of my husband, a small group of critical readers, and skillful editors. Now you know – about my childhood – and that feels quite vulnerable. Another act of will.
It’s one act, followed by another, and another, and another that will change the cycle of abuse. I’m all over that one!