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  • I’ve been so moved and inspired by the individuals who have allowed me to see the abuse in my life through the lens of a story. I never realized that I am still hostage to the powerful childhood threat of “Don’t tell.” I no longer fear the physical consequences. I no longer fear my abusers. The threat of being shunned, seen as a liar or a disturbed woman, however, those threats have kept me not so much from telling my story as from writing it.

    For me, stories are to be shared, reflected upon as life lessons, used as creative inspiration. Our stories connect us to each other. It’s humanity's common ground regardless of our particular circumstances. Our narratives are mirrors, operating instructions, ancestral memories, cautionary tales. As the brilliance of a diamond is reflected in its numerous facets, the universal truths of our existence are reflected in the many lenses of our individual perspectives. Each telling unfolds a new layer of self.

    BUT storytellers leave a record. We name and claim a truth that is our own. You can’t unhear a story. It echoes through your life. And oh the guilt that goes with airing dirty laundry, turning on “your own,” being disloyal to the tribe. It’s similar to “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” There’s nothing nice about abuse so I have been afraid to write anything at all. Be good. Be quiet. Don’t tell.

    With each story we are reborn, a little wiser, more compassionate, more courageous and more inspired. I may not feel comfortable telling my story with its deep, dark shadows but shame has claimed enough of me. It is time to see my story as a pillar of shine guiding me to my next stop. Whether wrapped in Cowbird’s rich tapestry or on the magic carpet that we ride, knowing that I am never alone has changed my life.

    “Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.” May Sarton
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