I recently received a handwritten letter from a woman in the States who is in her seventh year of a 28 year prison sentence.
I do not know what she’s in there for. I do not know what she has done, or what has been done to her. What I do know is she was given a copy of my book and wrote to tell me how much it meant to her.
To read words that helped her understand her own pain. To feel seen and understood. To know she is not alone in what she has suffered. To know the life and beauty breathed into us when we read poetry. The way it changes us. The way it softens us. The way it heals us.
She also wrote to ask my help in creating a proposal for a book club/recovery program for the other women in her facility whose lives have been impacted by abuse; many of them still in abusive relationships, because of the impact my book has had on her life and recovery.
I have no idea how a book I wrote four years ago ended up in a prison across the other side of the world. And it’s funny, because I rarely talk about, or promote, or market my book anymore. I’m so much further along in my journey than when I wrote it that I struggle to reconcile who I am now with the words in that book; both on a personal and professional level.
But the thing is, it was still a part of my healing journey, written to help other women on their healing journey. When the book was first published and I talked about the why of writing it, I talked about how I had lived most of my life silent and ashamed of the abuse I had suffered. I said I wrote the book for those who still lived in the silence; to give them a voice. I’m so incredibly grateful and humbled that four years on, women are still finding their voice through mine.
Our stories are powerful and important. Our stories will reach people beyond what we could ever know, or imagine. Our stories are the very thing that will heal this broken world, if we have but the courage to speak x