July’s Collection: Reclaiming Our Voices & Crafting Impact
In the vast expanse of the ocean, no waves are ever the same. The water flows with a unique speed, pattern, and rhythm, constantly shifting in time. Waves ascend and form an arc. When it breaks upon the shore, it’s distinctive.
Crafting a story is similar to water drawing back before its rise. Each wave leaves its mark as it meets the shore, just as the words of a story leave resonance. In the context of stories about sexual violence, it is important to note that no survivor’s experience is monolithic. While data and research play vital roles in raising awareness and driving policy reform, we must never underestimate the power of an individual’s voice.
Writer Lydia Yuknavitch says, “Words carry oceans on the smalls of their backs.” Survivors carry the weight of trauma, and healing narratives are far from linear. However, the process it takes to craft and share our stories takes time. It requires support, exploring others’ narratives, and immersing ourselves in the knowledge that helps us move forward.
“Words carry oceans on the smalls of their backs.”Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water
Stories enable us to flow like water, racing forward to leave an impact on the world. Stories surround us, they are an undeniable force as strong as nature. They have the power to shape our understanding, challenge our perspectives, and inspire change.
Each month, Our Wave will present, The Curve in the Wave, a series that will curate a collection of essays, books, podcasts, or media to empower our audience in crafting their own wave, their own narratives. In addition, we will share a writing prompt for readers to utilize and reclaim their voices. This series aims to create an impact that is distinctive for each individual. Your story holds immeasurable power, and it is entirely within your control to unleash it.
Melissa Febos’ The Heart Work: Writing About Trauma as a Subversive Act (also known as In Praise of Naval Gazing) is an excerpt from her book, Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. As one of America’s most accomplished memoirists, this essay was inspired by her students who dismissed their own writing, such as those with a history of sexual trauma. Febos convincingly affirms that “resistance to memoir about trauma is always in part — and often nothing but — a resistance to movements for social justice.”
The Girls of Summer by Kate Bishop was inspired by the complicated nature of memories and trauma. Through the lens of the #MeToo movement, Bishop tells a story of a love affair on a remote Greek island. In an exploration of power, sex, and consent, this is a timely tale of what Bishop calls “collective processing” and what it means to reframe and reclaim your own story.
How do you carry your grief? Is it in a certain part of your body? Is it represented in an object? Is it in a file folder, deeply tucked away? What instructions would you give them if you had to tell someone to carry the grief?