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Why write a Memoir? Why read one?

We all have stories, which is of course what makes us endlessly fascinating. You never know what lurks behind any face.  Yet most of us are hesitant- or maybe we were socialized – or silenced - into keeping our lives and stories to ourselves? But I would argue that when we decide to share our lives- verbally, or in writing, we do so much more than build a connection to others- although that alone might be a gift to some- we also offer identification, belonging, hope, and commonality.  Just speaking your truth to a non-judgmental listener/reader can be freeing, empowering, and a form of defiance. We offer a roadmap of the way out.

To the reader, the transparency and vulnerability in a survivor's story can be a source of inspiration and strength that holds a mirror to our own lives. When sharing a life damaged by abuse of any kind - survivors become advocates for possibility, for change, helping to break the cycle of silence (and shame,) and fostering community and support.

For example, memoirs have the power to bridge the gap of understanding between survivors and those who may be unaware of the complexities of life in a dysfunctional, alcoholic, or abusive family. Through the written word, readers gain insight into the emotional terrain survivors navigate daily. This new understanding can foster empathy- something we all need - eroding the stigmas surrounding abuse and/or addiction, and contributing to more compassion and acceptance which all survivors need.

The process of writing a memoir allows survivors to transform their history and pain into purpose. By sharing our experiences, we survivors not only contribute to our own healing but also serve as advocates for people to find their voice, find help, and stand tall. We, writers, find a sense of purpose in helping others, by raising awareness around the issues we face, thereby creating a legacy of resilience and knowledge that extends way beyond personal healing. 

My book, Redeemed, A Memoir of a Stolen Childhood will be published June 25, 2024.

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