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.
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!