Friday, October 15, 2010

Publishing the Truth

I've given lots of thought to my reasons for wanting to publish a book of my poetry--especially poetry which expresses the pain and shame of childhood abuse experiences. Shouldn't I be writing flowing verses in praise of God's lovingkindness? Well, in a sense these poems are a type of psalms, some of which are a sort of praise-- though at first glance that may not seem to be the case.

One recurring conviction is that truth needs to be spoken. Injustices, most especially towards the helpless, need to be publicly decried. Society can only benefit from such shared truth; conversely, when individuals and families keep secrets society becomes more and more sick, and incapable of addressing the outrageous actions towards the helpless which any society needs to address.


So then, my little book. I didn't write my poems with any thought of publication; I wrote them when the passionate need to express my own personal truth began to outweigh any reticence on my part (which was due to the haunting guilt that told me in no uncertain terms that it's not right to speak of such things.)

I wrote these poems, then, for myself. Most specifically I believe I wrote them for the little girl I used to be, who had no voice. I wrote them on behalf of my stepsister, Doreen, who was certainly mistreated beyond anything I endured. The fact that these abuses took place within the four walls of a supposedly Christian home angers me to this day. Such outrageous hypocrisy! But for the grace of God I would have no desire for Him.

These writings are not meant to be just another lamentation or sob-story to evoke sympathy. They are meant to bring a light, even if it's nothing more than one small candle's worth, into the darkness of the particular hell known as sexual abuse. While I know without doubt, now, that God never abandoned me during the years of my ordeal, I didn't know it then. I wanted Him, I desired Him, I fervently hoped He wasn't angry with me. Of these things I had no assurances. I wrote these poems decades after I fled the House of Incest, recording what I remembered vividly of my wilderness wanderings in that hellish suburban home. I wrote them not from an Ichabod perspective (the glory of God has departed), but rather from the Valley of Achor (Hosea 2:15), the door of hope.

For anyone interested, the link to my book is in the post below.

2 comments :

  1. Hello! It's been a long time since I've commented on your blog. I used to write at snuggaholic.co.uk and I once ordered one of your little softy creations, and a blanket from you :-) That blog I was writing no longer exists.

    I have still been reading, just a bit more quietly than I used to. I had to comment on this entry as it struck such a cord with me. I remember being 12 or 13 years old and getting out my bible and just scribbling all over it. Trying to figure out what I had done to make God so angry with me. What was he punishing me for by placing me with these people that hurt me so badly?

    It took me a long time to realise it was not God who was treating me wrongly. My mistake was that while all of this was going on, instead of turning to God for advice and comfort, I turned from him. I closed the door to him. I thought I wanted nothing more to do with him, and then I was truly alone.

    I too have pages upon pages of poems about my childhood and teenage experiences. I wrote them for very similar reasons to those you've outlined above. To give a voice to the silenced little girl I used to be, to shine a light on the dirty darkness that I was kept in. I was gagged and bound as a child, not literally. I felt I had to untie those bindings, I had to give a voice to that child within me who was never allowed to speak before.

    It's NOT considered okay to talk about abuse in today's society is it? God know's why... All I know is that I got relief from writing my poetry. I was letting it all out. Flooding light upon the darkness of my past, and voicing all that I was felt compelled to keep quiet.

    For me, when I wrote my abuse poetry (and wrote about abuse in my old blog)... It was like I had this little box, and it was bursting at the seams. It was like I had a little tiny box, a flimsy box, but it was shut up so tight. It was full of darkness, and dust, and shame. And by opening that box, all of this crap came out of it. But it needed to be let out. It needed to be let out before it BURST out. I felt relief afterwards. I could fold the box down after that, and put it in the trash, empty.

    Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and let you know I'm still reading. I'm glad to see you seem to be keeping well, and keeping hope.

    Natasha x

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  2. Hi Natasha,

    It's good to hear from you! I tried finding your blog a while back and was bummed when I couldn't.

    Thank you for your encouraging comments. I especially like the analogy of the box, bursting at the seams.

    I used to (and for quite a long while) think that letting my light shine meant that I swept ugly things under the rug, and pretended to be happy. I had to pretend to be happy no matter what--or God wouldn't be glorified in my life. I've since learned (oh thank goodness, I imagine God is just as relieved as I am) that the best way to honor him is to live with integrity. And that means being me, warts and all.

    Covering up those things which have caused us the most hurt not only harms us deeply, it paves the way for another generation to be raised in an atmosphere of lies and perversions. And it tells the world that God doesn't care about our woundedness, only that we look good on the outside. (But the Pharisees looked good, didn't they, and Jesus harshly rebuked them!)

    How wonderful that you have a writing outlet for your painful memories. I've often thanked God that I've had the ability to write my truth.

    I hope to hear from you more frequently!

    Take care,
    Deb

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Comments, anyone? I'd love to hear your point of view.