by Melissa Rose
The writing process can be ritualistic, so setting the space is important.
Keep it consistent. Keep it holy.
I set the timer. Write the prompts on the white board while pictures of Frida Khalo gaze down at a table I have covered in stray paper, pens and composition notebooks.
Every week I lead a writing workshop with female trauma survivors. The format is simple: One hour of writing. Your time. Your space. I provide prompts that encourage introspection and self-care, but the direction the participants choose to take those prompts are unique as they are.
What began as a simple routine has quickly transitioned into a life line. Women who have curiously come one week now come every week. Diving deeper into themselves, discovering more with each session and unearthing more possibilities with every word they write.
Giving oneself permission to do something healthy, even for one hour, has slowly become a reason to give oneself permission to do something healthy for another hour. A reason to speak up in situations where they wouldn’t have before. A reason to forgive. A reason to tell their story. A reason to love themselves more.
Writing may be the medium we use here, but what we are creating is sacred space. Collectively, through sharing the space we have conjured, we are tapping into something magical. The strength of creative energy. The spell of communal healing.
Creating space, for me, is such an integral part of TLA. It is the equivalent to turning the soil, preparing it for the seeds. I now find myself just as excited to lead the workshop every week and contribute to that space. To understand that it is not only the participants who benefit from this experience, but I as a practitioner.
Together, we have learned that we cannot heal alone.
is the little ghost
hiding under your tongue.
A miracle you mutter under
Afraid you will jinx its magic
Mind over matter
Whole life preparing you for this
You will now show your cells
Life is worth living.
is the the voice that reminds you to rest.
The whisper that challenges you
to take a step back.
The gently falling rain on the roof
above your head.
The sound of growth.
The promise of a million new lives.
Healing is what happens when you finally put yourself first.
It is the wound that knows exactly what to do
when you give it the chance.
The burn that saves you
The silent pulse
only you can feel within yourself.
in your empty
there is still space to put your hope.
The seed that is sheltered by will
The dirt beneath you
you are not ready to die in.
Swallow this spring.
Let it fill you like a sunrise.
You are only just beginning.
Melissa Rose is a spoken word poet and playwright. She has hosted community spoken word events since 2003 and has been a member of 5 National Poetry Slam teams. She has performed her work across the United States and Germany and was a featured poet at the German National Poetry Slam in 2010. She currently lives in Eugene, Oregon.