Update on My Memoir

The River of Forgetting, A Memoir of Healing From Sexual Abuse, will be out to the world on December 1, 2010, published by Booksmyth Press and available through Amazon, B&N, etc. Now there are the real-world technicalities. The book is currently out for review by the major national reviewers such as Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and others.

Meanwhile, I got a great blurb from Marilyn Van Derbur, the best-selling author of Miss America By Day. She called it:
A powerful and sensitive portrayal, full of insight into Jane’s own confusion as well as her family’s bewildering dynamics. The writing is by turns lyrical and gut-wrenching, angry and tender. This inspiring, important book shows that healing and joy are possible after childhood abuse. 

UPDATE: advance copies are available for $14.95 postpaid at The River of Forgetting.

Daily Life with My Inner Child

It was ten years ago or so that I first began to get acquainted with my inner child. At first she seemed like a really sad little thing, and elusive. Often when I tried to find her, she was just a glimpse, vanishing around the corner. It took me a while to realize she was as shy as a real child—why should she come running to my arms after all those years of neglect? I needed to learn to be patient for her. I learned to sit every morning and take twenty minutes for her. I learned to welcome her tears and her fears, her big reactions to small things that happened each day.

We had a long journey together in therapy and on our own, through brambles and swamps of mistrust, through ancient castles of family structures, down a labyrinth where she hid for years, holding her secrets and holding out from love. We had to face what my family had done—the abuse, the betrayal by both father and mother. That’s the journey I wrote about in my forthcoming memoir.

These days I still sit with the little ones every morning and listen. Sometimes they rush in with fears or loneliness, sometimes I have to wait for the faint hints and listen with great patience. I’ve also grown much more of a spiritual life, but I’ve found it doesn’t substitute in my life for the aliveness of the inner little girls. I need both. My love for my self and my life is embodied in loving these aspects of me - Eager, Good, Silent, Creative, Loving.

wrestling with Old Fears

As I get ready to send my memoir out into the world (the first step being sending it out for prepublication reviews by Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, etc.), my Inner Child is getting scared. I know I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about the abuse, and even though I’ve worked on it in therapy for 15 years now and told numerous friends and written the memoir and this blog, the idea of making it really public is scary to the Child.

The fear works both on the completely irrational level of the scared little girl and on the more grown-up level of fear of criticism. When I met with my therapist the other day, I listened to the little-girl fears from back in the days when I was only four or five. I was terrified of my parents’ anger if I told. I fear being abandoned and all alone. Of course, the abandonment happened anyway on an emotional level and I was all alone with my feelings. But this little girl is also afraid of physical harm.

My therapist urged me to feel the fear in my body, the claws gripping my neck and shoulders. Then she had me imagine feeling real safety (which came slowly). I talked to my inner child about being grown-up now and no one is going to come to the door and beat me up.

It’s also true that I can’t promise the little ones that everything will be great. Critics can be mean and say hurtful things. Perhaps some reviewers, from their own insecurities, will doubt what I write or will see it as self-indulgent. This could happen. I need ways to stay safe inside. So I called and emailed a lot of supportive friends and received their blessings and encouragement, and I’ve pasted all their words in a big bouquet on a doorway. I also think of the other survivors of abuse whom my memoir may touch, my companions along the way.

I decided to post this because it’s a real-world example of how the inner child work deals both in the inner, magical/imaginary realms and in the real world where things are not under our control.