Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"what i want"

In 2000, the choir I was singing with recorded "what i want," a song based on part of a poem by Pat Lowther, with music by Stephen Smith.

This was hard for me, but a good experience. I am a survivor of domestic violence, both as a child and an adult, and Pat was murdered in 1975 by her violent and abusive husband. We'd sung the piece several times in concert, but recording produces its own additional tension. At the end of the final take of the song, I burst into tears -- relief? pain? My friend Laurie put her arms around me, and other friends, including Jen, a Coven-mate, and Mo, whom I was dating at the time, and other women in my choir also comforted me. I was okay; I had just needed to cry. I had good support and good community from women who understood, who got it.

I've had parts of the song stuck in my head today, because I'm participating in a research project at the University of Michigan on trauma and recovery, and I filled out detailed questionnaires this morning about scary things I've experienced. I feel good about the research project: the project's head researcher is very good, the project is well-designed, and it's really important to get good research on trauma recovery. But participating in the project itself is not fun.

I didn't space out about the difficult, scary, or life-threatening things I've chosen to do as an adult. Funny how choice and being an adult help. And so does support. I chose to go to a war zone to do humanitarian work (even if I didn't choose to be left there by my first team; thank the Goddess for the other folks I knew in the region); I chose to be on the Gulf Coast after a major hurricane, even if I didn't know I was going to go through another one while I was down there; I even chose to respond to the shooting in front of my house, although I sure didn't choose the shooting. I was an adult, and I took good care of myself, during all of those; and I also had good support from other people. Those experiences have had after-effects, but not like the violence I lived through as a kid and a teenager. breathe
continuously the sources of sky,
a veined sail moving,
my love never setting
foot to the dark
anvil of earth
The earth has always been a source of comfort for me. It's sad for me that it doesn't seem to have been for Lowther. But that yearning for expansion of soul is something that resonates with me; it's something I've definitely experienced. I was writing about that last night: the ways in which that expansion of soul -- the opposite of constriction -- has marked both the recovery work I've done, and opportunities for more growth in front of me.

There's more... but that's a different piece of writing.

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