Friday, January 29, 2010
Why this blog? As a professional who has worked with women survivors of all ages I have found there is a considerable “service gap” on two key points: Older women (over 40) and survivors who are years beyond the initial healing phase. My intention for this blog is for women to help fill that gap by sharing thoughts and wisdom about healing, growing older and the issues that we women face in our growth process. I will provide my own experiences, knowledge and hopefully a little humor to encourage other women on their path of self discovery. It is those of us who have walked the path that know the roadmaps, the obstacles, shortcuts and scenic views. So why do these gaps exist? First there is the age factor. It’s easy to confirm that we do live in a youth centered culture. Unlike other cultures that value the wisdom of the elders our society is all about being young, sleek and fast paced. I once heard a women say that middle aged women can get away with anything because we are invisible. I’m not advocating for us to try to “get away with things” but she makes a valid point that is worth examination. Middle aged and mature women are not the ones that get noticed in many arenas, and yet so many women of our age are accomplishing great things. When we do get media attention and become “visible” we are often scrutinized for superficial qualities like our hair of our wardrobe. How often did you hear news commentators or other media representatives focus on what Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama were wearing? I am optimistic that we women can change society’s view (or lack of view) of us. We have increasingly more efficient and accessible means of communicating and connecting with each other. We can share our stories and through our stories we share our strength and define our roles. This is especially important for those of us who have been addicted, abused, impoverished and otherwise disenfranchised. The second “service gap” is recognizing the long term needs of women in recovery from addiction or abuse. There are many agencies and organizations dedicated to helping women get out of abusive situations or to recover from addiction (many of these were brought about by women working together) but they tend to focus on the earlier stages of recovery and healing. I have discovered through my own process that the old adage “recovery is like peeling the layers of an onion” is an accurate metaphor. Healing is not linear; it happens in cycles and stages and sometimes slides backward. We learn to live more fulfilling, healthy, “normal” lives, but we carry scars that never really go away. Just as being victimized affected every area of our lives, healing must occur in every area. Sometimes we get one area “fixed” and are feeling pretty good about ourselves, only to have another issue arise. You finally land that great career only to end up meeting someone, falling in love and your fear of intimacy pops up. These are the times that make us vulnerable, that make us fall back into old patterns of self doubt. These are the times we need each other. So that’s why I’m doing this blog, to fill the gaps, to tell the stories and to honor the strength and wisdom that we have earned.