I’ve experienced first-hand the healing power of writing and sharing my story and the transformational power of sitting in women’s circles and feeling accepted for who I am.
My shame story began long ago, at age nine when I had low self-worth, zero confidence, and felt deep shame for being me.
At fourteen I got hooked on dieting and within nine months I had full-blown Anorexia and spent the next decade of my life on the run from my feelings.
I tried to find self-worth in sex, happiness in drugs and alcohol, comfort in cutting, and above all, salvation in starving.
Throughout the decade of my anorexia, one way I tried to purge the pain of being me and the guilt and shame that anorexia piled on me was through journaling.
I confided all my deep, dark secrets, my pain and confusion in my journals.
The blank page of my journal was my only witness.
At 21 I had a spiritual epiphany and realized that if I didn’t surrender to Anorexia as a force greater than myself, I would die.
Three years later, I found the will to want to be well. It came in a whisper but it was enough for me to say yes to an invitation to show up to my first eating disorder support group circle.
That circle changed my life.
When asked to say my name and speak my truth out loud, I covered my face and burst out crying. For the first time in a decade I let my vulnerability be seen.
Even though my life was a self-destructive mess, I did not feel judged for who I was or where I was at by anyone in the circle. I felt accepted. I didn’t know it yet but my journey of recovery had begun.
Two years later I had a powerful dream in which I was cradling a dying Anorexic girl in my arms. That dream was the seed that grew into my book Being Ana: a memoir of anorexia nervosa.
I began by compiling and transcribing every single journal entry relevant to my Anorexic journey. Those memories serve as the backbone of my book.
Looking back, I now realize that writing and rewriting my book to share with the world coupled with continuing to attend women’s circles were the cornerstones of my emotional recovery.
But it was not until almost 20 years later when I joined a healing writing circle with Laurie Wagner of 27 Powers that these two seemingly disparate parts of my life came together.
Laurie introduced me to a practice in which you write stream-of-consciousness in a circle of women held in trust and each person bears witness to another’s journey through deep listening.
From the first time we wrote together, I was hooked. Years of writers’ block I endured after the birth of my son melted away. I was suddenly in the flow of words, writing fearlessly again.
I found what I had been searching for.
I took Laurie’s teacher training and since then have been leading Journey Writing Circles for women, which I know is my life’s work.
I am honored to be a circle holder, to show that there’s courage in vulnerability, and to model how writing truth heals.
It is both my gift and passion to work with the power of writing and witnessing, in sacred circle, to help women and teen girls voice their journeys, feel seen and heard, let go of shame, and stand proud in who they are.
If you feel called to this work or to share it with your people, welcome to the circle!
No more hiding your truths.
No more feeling alone and unseen.
You will write like there is no tomorrow.