How the Iron Girl Inspired my Art for Healing Business

When my sister, Lisa, told me she was going to do the Iron Girl triathlon [1/2 mile swimming, 16 miles biking, 3.7 miles running]  I was amazed, impressed, and a little envious, knowing that I just do not have the physical stamina, patience, or time to complete such an accomplishment.

But instead of circling down the rabbit hole into that dark pit of self-disgust, pity, and hatred, I realized that building my art for healing business is very similar to training for an Iron Girl.

While  Lisa was planning and training for endurance to complete each leg of the Iron Girl race, I was slowly gaining courage to tell my story and fill #theemptychair – a term coined by the New York magazine  in their July 27, 2015, issue about the women sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby that have not yet come forward to take their seat.

Where Lisa is helping to raise money to fight cancer, I am developing a business to help survivors of sexual assault to heal through art. Rape was like a cancer  constantly strangling me with pain, grief, shame, and guilt for something that was not my fault. It wasn’t until I explored domestic violence and sexual assault in my novel, Gift of Desperation, that I started to understand the reactive and self-destructive behavior that can happen if we keep these traumas inside.Lisa crossing finish line

As I expressed myself more and more through art, the less hold the rape had over me.

Just as my sister used her physical endurance to raise money to help cure cancer, I used my artwork as a foundation in Gift to weave a powerful story of healing, recovery, hope, and inspiration, the beginning of my art for healing business.

Congratulations to Lisa – I am very proud of you!

Lisa at finish line




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Welcome back from the Sturgis 75th Motorcycle Rally

Welcome back to my blog. I have returned from my 2 1/2 Week vacation to the Sturgis South Dakota 75th Motorcycle Rally with my husband, Dirk, and two dogs, Chopper and Duffy.

Sturgis 2015_2

I am in the bottom right hand corner.

Aside from our bike breaking down at the beginning of the trip and our campground losing electricity for about an hour, which shut down the AC for the dogs (they were fine after we raced back from Custer State Park), we had no other major drama.

There were tons of beautiful bikes, wonderful mountain scenery which was unusually green this year due to extraordinary rain, and hot days /cool clear nights. We were also lucky that any nighttime storms passed us by without incident.

I was hoping to post my pictures here, but I am dealing with an old computer that can’t manage the space or processing necessary for such a post. So please stop by my Facebook page to enjoy pictures from our trip. I am saving up for a Mac which I hope to get by the end of the year and then retire my current laptop.

I hope you will visit my blog again next week when I will be talking about the Iron Girl my sister is in to raise money to fight cancer and how it inspired me.


Robin Gilliam is the author of the novel, Gift of Desperation, a story of hope and inspiration woven around her 24+ years of artwork that helped her to heal from PTSD and addiction.