Today my colleague Kelly Wilson joins us to explain why survivors should tell their stories.
Our stories matter. It’s important for survivors of abuse and trauma to tell their stories, whether sharing with trusted friends and therapists or writing their stories about abuse for the world.
As a writer and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and additional trauma, writing about my experiences was a given. Writing is like breathing. However, it took me ten full years to write my story and decide to publish it as Caskets From Costco.
I felt in the depths of my soul that I had to write my story and make it available in order to help other people like me. There are many reasons for survivors to write abuse, even though the process can feel daunting and scary.
Your Story Will Leak Anyway
I’m convinced that our stories are stored up in our minds, hearts, and bodies. Part of dealing with the results of abuse and trauma is to find ways to tell our stories, because they need to come out.
If you don’t let it out, it’s going to seep into everything that you do write, like the the short story I submitted that I thought was appropriate but was really about my toxic relationship with my mother. Yeah, it didn’t meet the guidelines of the publication for which I had written the piece, and they let me know why.
And through that mortifying rejection, I realized one important point: the story was there and demanded acknowledgement.
Sharing Your Story Helps Others
Your story matters. How you give voice to your trauma and abuse experiences will help somebody else. Somebody who thinks like you but hasn’t developed a voice yet. Someone who needs to see that recovery and healing are possible.
The act of telling your story will not only help you, but will pave the way for another person. The purpose of my book was to tell my story, but it was also to bring bring light to darkness. To provide hope to people who have suffered through grief and trauma.
The People You Write About May Not Matter Anyway
In the process of my 10+ years of therapy, I decided to end most of my relationships with family members. I have no regrets. In the process of writing and publishing Caskets From Costco, I was terrified.
I talked with my counselor at length about it. What would people think about me? What would my friends and family say? Would parents let their kids still come over and play? Would people whisper behind my back? Would my mother or father try to sue me?
“Do you really think they have the capacity to actually sue you?” she asked. “Much less even read your book?”
“So don’t worry about it?” I asked with a grin.
“Trust me,” she said.
I first published my story three years ago. I have not heard a peep, except from the organizations who gave me awards for it and the readers who have found hope and humor through reading it.
Your story matters. If you’re reading this, it may be time to dive in and write.
Kelly Wilson is an author and comedian who entertains and inspires with stories of humor, healing, and hope. She is the author of Live Cheap and Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, and Kelly Wilson’s The Art of Seduction: Nine Easy Ways to Get Sex From Your Mate. Her latest book, Caskets From Costco, has been chosen as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, the 10th annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest. Kelly Wilson currently writes for a living and lives with her Magically Delicious husband, junk-punching children, dog, cat, and stereotypical minivan in Portland, Oregon. Read more about her at www.wilsonwrites.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.