This series represents the ongoing process of healing from childhood trauma. Working through the abuse I’d spent years avoiding has been complicated, confusing, and messy. It’s also been an incredibly rewarding experience that’s slowly instilled a peace I didn’t think was possible.
The empty room filling with light is meant to depict the power of resilience in the face of a seemingly futile situation. Each painting is 18" x 24".
No one thinks sexual abuse happens in their family, but it can. It did in mine. When I was 28 I realized things didn't have to feel this hard. I can find peace, but first I have to make the gut-wrenching decision to cut off my own mother—the adult who abused me as a child.
Her side of the family is skeptical. They rewrite my childhood into a version they can handle. “Never happened”. “She’s lying”. “She’s crazy”. And then they stop contacting me.
I’m great at putting on a strong face to get through the day. Behind closed doors I’m a mess. I lean on my husband, three best friends, and therapist, but can’t find the words to tell anyone else yet. I have no idea how long it’ll take, but I’m determined not to let this consume me. There’s light coming into this room.
I’m sober for the first time in a decade. I try AA but it feels too much like organized religion. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know enough to avoid situations that make me want to grab a drink or a lighter.
I’m in therapy and attempt to release some of this weight through writing and painting. I start meditating. Sitting in silence for 20 minutes couldn’t possibly be more boring, but it feels helpful. I begrudgingly do it daily.
Healing happens imperceptibly, one drop at a time. For at least a year it feels like I’m running in place. Then one day I realize the shit that used to feel too heavy to hold no longer feels like such a burden.
I don’t have more answers or insight than the average person. I still have bad days and struggle to make peace with the fact there are people who don’t believe me or choose not to reckon with what I’ve shared. But everything is so much softer and easier now.
I begin telling people about this secret shame I’ve hidden for so long. The first few times it feels like stepping into oncoming traffic, but it gets easier. I reach a point where sharing even feels therapeutic.
It turns out I don’t have to adhere to the narrative I was stuck inside for the first 28 years of my life. The light continuing to fill this space is showing me who I am and what I want. I will live accordingly.