Sample of Heal Write Newsletter, March

This is a sample of the newsletter I do every once in a while. I’m not a once-a-week or even a once-a-month regular. They are long for traditional newsletters but shorter than most of what I post. When I do them, this is what they are like. I don’t normally post them here on the blog but this once I will.

There’s the essay.

Spotlight on the Oscars! 

I have a happy Oscars hangover. I’ve got the buzz of hearing silence broken. How things have changed and are changing!

Did you cry at home while watching? Talk about it the next day at work? Write about it in your journal? It’s amazing!

I know there’s work left to do, trauma and tragedy happening now and people still healing or in recovery from past sexual assault. The fight is not over but this is a moment worthy of celebration.

For survivors, this was an Oscars like no other!

On the red carpet there was Lady Gaga talking about being a survivor and her song, “Til it Happens to you” from the movie The Hunting Ground.

There was Mark Ruffalo talking about the SNAP protest he joined the same day to support survivors living and lost to the abuse by priests in the Catholic Church.

Then during the Oscars there was Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til it Happens to You” with  survivors on stage with her dressed in everyday clothes looking less like Hollywood and more like the rest of us.

It was almost hard to believe. I felt emotional too.

On their wrists were the “It’s not your fault” and “Survivor” actually what choked me up the most. Many survivors have post-traumatic stress and high rates of cutting, self-mutilation and suicide attempts. To see powerful words on their wrists was a powerful message.

And to have a song about recovery and the aftermath of rape, sung about surviving by a survivor of sexual assault, about the secondary trauma of not being believed or supported? And to have the song introduced by Vice President Biden asking us all to pledge on helping whenever consent is not or cannot be given?

It would have been important if that’s all that happened Sunday night. And you cansee it here.

But it wasn’t. There were other other survivors for speaking for survivors and as survivors. There were allies too using moments in in award speeches to lend support as well.

No one was saying “survivor” on prime time like this at the Oscars before. EVER! Maybe there would be one movie or one song or some mention of a protest by someone. To have this topic addressed by more than one person in more than one movie….

This is epic. Times are changing. I can’t even keep up with all of my friends, advocates and groups anymore posting comments, links, insights and feelings. I can’t keep up with the writing and articles and voices and editorials about the significance or what more is needed now.

This is an AWESOME problem to have considering most of have marinated in silence most of our lives.

It’s prime time topic now at least for a while.

And yes, it’s going to take more than songs being sung and conversations continued. It takes follow-up action too – listening, hearing and supporting survivors and funding activism and programs and initiatives to protect others from becoming survivors.

But that’s a whole lot easier when silence is shattered.

And Oscar night was the opposite of 5

Oscar night was community replacing isolation.

It was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich of voice and validation. It’s not what survivors are used to.  So I’m devouring every bite. It’s what so many of us have needed, craved and tried to create for ourselves and others.

We know we can’t create solutions to problems we minimize or ignore.

We can’t work on preventing something we pretend isn’t that bad or doesn’t impact us or others we know and love.

It’s hard to heal from things we haven’t spoken of.

So acknowledging the reality of sexual assault on such a large stage – not only as words  whispered in a therapy office or scribbled in a diary – as though rape and molestation are personal problems and not crimes caused by individuals or systems (family systems or religious systems) is a freakin relief.

This is how change happens.

It’s happening now. Right this very minute. Long overdue, urgent and necessary.

There’s work to do still. There’s violence to prevent and heal from. And other problems discussed or touched about at the Oscars (racism, sexism and saving the environment).

But I feel joy and hope and gratitude to the artists, musicians, directors using voices, talents to confront such an important issue.

Silence is breaking. I’m happy dancing in my home. Because not alone is wonderful and never gets old!

There’s the Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts:writetruth

Just let the pen (or keyboard) take you away. Write quickly and without censoring yourself or worrying how you sound. Let the words come and finish these sentences.

Watching the Oscars this year…………..

I’ve always wanted….

I’ve never felt so….

If you are a research lover, like I am, and want to know more about the healing power of writing, especially for trauma survivors, let me know. I’ve done a research paper on the topic and am happy to share it – just email me at and I’ll send it along. There’s a snippet here.

There’s the Resources

This month I’m shouting out to my Survivor Activist Soul Sisters (SASS) who have been doing breaking silence and who I get to brainstorm, connect with, support and get loved by. And some of these are worked on by more than one person.

If you are curious, want inspiration or dying to give some money to non-profits and do-good efforts that are survivor driven – consider these.

Do you have go-to resources you return to again and again and again? Any organizations or causes you want others to know about? I’ll add to this list each month.

And of Course at Least One Quote

“I mean, this song is changing things,
and this song is becoming a voice
for something that was silent.
It’s making people feel empowered.”
Diane Warren, co-writer of “Til it Happens to You” (with Lady Gaga)

There’s No Selling Anything but there is Some Self-Promoting Writing Share

This is my pop culture newsletter. Isn’t it amazing when art and social change combine and touch hearts as they so often do?

This was actually the song that did me in last week. It completely reduced me to tears, over and over and OVER again. face of abandonment

It’s powerful and beautiful and sad but in a triumphant way. It’s about being abandoned and betrayed by a parent.

To see the stunning and emotional performance and for my thoughts on the significance, check out my latest Elephant Journal piece.

Sign up to the right or email me your address and I’ll add you if you want. And tell me any time you want to unsubscribe because I can’t keep up with 1/10th of my emails and delete and subscribe to new things all of the time.

You Matter Mantras

  • Trauma sucks. You don't.
  • Write to express not to impress.
  • It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
  • Breathing isn't optional.

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