Through the process of creative therapeutic writing I have uncovered and explored my own vulnerabilities. The physical act of writing makes visible what has been stored invisibly in my mind.
Below are two poems which nestled in the impulse to form words, rested embryonically – if you like – until each took shape on page, then screen.
This key theme of Visible Vulnerability emerged over a year of giving presentations of my work in different UK cities and counties: Cardiff, Norfolk, my own village in Sussex and at the end of this week a fourth in London.
Because my pieces were written around ten years ago I wasn’t feeling particularly vulnerable in advance about reading them to an audience. I was ready. The writing had definitely helped to integrate the experiences into my present life. Speaking in public and posting my blogs has given me a big step into the open. I feel it is great we are as a society acknowledging long-held taboo areas of life.
Yet wobbly responses came. In Norfolk I instigated a break because I felt a need to go out of the room and compose myself. There and in Cardiff I’d seen tears in the audience. That moved me too. I find the power of this kind of writing lives on the page and as I spoke my own words, they were still potent to touch me emotionally.
One relevant question posed:
how do I write about traumatic events without taking myself back into the original feelings of depression?
I write only enough to name what has been without all the details.
See some of the ways I write in this guest blog: http://www.blackrainbow.org.uk/healingwords/guest-blog-monica-suswin/
I first became visible in December 1948. My own beginning was a bungled birth with an inexperienced mid-wife and a mother who knew nothing of childbirth.
You never knew the way out for me.
Against the hard rock of your pubic bone,
I rammed and butted
hour after hour twisting and tearing
the membranes of your too narrow vagina.
You were pethidined out and the mid-wife
on her first ever shift made the mistake
of urging too soon, too many times: Push
And my naked baby self jutted stuck.
They called Doctor Clark back from the nineteenth hole
to clamp and remove me
It is true this is the story of my birth
just as you told me just as you told me
this story stays as if I were there
aware of fighting my way out
into my life with the imprint of this birthing
played out like a hymen stretched between me and the world.
The following poem, I feel, is a celebration for this life (so far) that belongs to me.
Easter Sunday Blessing
I have stretched finger-tips far into darkness
Now with these two hands
May I give and may I receive
May I keep my feet on my own soil
And as I walk this earth alone
May I not fall over the edge
For we have known for some time
That this globe is round
May I walk its entire girth
And always find my own beginning
I type this while world leaders are debating their responses to the barbaric destructive actions of men and women who are terrorising cities and countries with shootings, bombings and the slaughter of fellow human beings. Their incomprehensible and distorted mindsets allow them to murder and dehumanise the sacredness of others.
After the Paris attacks, my free-write told me all I can do is witness the stories of those affected by listening to those who escape with their lives. All writing is helpful to find out what I think and feel about the outer world as well as my inner one. That metaphorical hymen stretched between me and the world has been pierced. I belong in the world. My writing tells me so.
Over the next few months, I will be posting blogs around the theme of vulnerability. I don’t know which pieces I’ll choose but I look forward to making them visible.
ⓒ Monica Suswin November 2015
Creative & Therapeutic Writing – Links and Differences
The Poetry Cafe – Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BX
London Lapidus meets Saturday 28 November 2015
Starting at 2pm – the annual AGM for all Lapidus members www.lapidus.org.uk (The Writing for Wellbeing Organisation)
If any group of writers would like to contact me about visiting to give a presentation (reading, discussion & writing) on any of my themes please get in touch.
Previous Presentations in 2015
The Truth & Lies of Writing – Lapidus Conference. Cardiff. Wales. (March)
Soul Works – Forest Row Festival. East Sussex. (September)
Visible Vulnerability – Lapidus East Anglia. Wymondham. Norfolk. (October)