A creative vision grounded in forgiveness, acceptance,
I'd been on a personal journey toward forgiveness for years, but the road became more intense this past fall (a.k.a. The Fall of the Supreme Court through the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh) as I started talking about my own stories of being mistreated, dominated, and exploited by boys and men. I admit, I had grown a bit cynical and distrustful of the entire male gender.
But, as a white woman working through my own internalized racism over the past few years, I’ve begun to see how systems of oppression also damage the oppressor. So, in the age of #MeToo, (thank you for your leadership, Tarana Burke!) I began to get curious about what it would take for me to fully embrace a shared humanity while also honoring my story, and I embarked on a journey toward forgiveness.
My vision became more intentional and actionable when I started a writing project I titled “12 Note Forgiveness.” This project was inspired by an OnBeing podcast called "#MeToo Through a Solutions Lens." Click here to listen. Upon hearing that episode, I planned to write a note of forgiveness for every abuse. I started writing on December 6th, 2018 and right around the Winter Solstice something started to unexpectedly shift. I found myself in a new place where I could fully accept, and even embrace, my past trauma and fears around masculinity.
As I wrote “Note Five: I Am,” I knew I was done with the past and that I was ready to explore a new future, whole and free from resentment. The second half of “12 Notes” began on January 10th, 2019 while celebrating my 40th Birthday in Savannah, GA with my best friend, Alison. I wrote the second act whole and free from resentment, but not without anxiety. It’s been a wild ride and lots of additional fears have came up along the way. Even so, I actually finished writing Note 12 on February 7th, 2019!
Through this writing project, I have taken full ownership of my story and I’ve learned to stand in confidence around my writing skills. I’ve forgiven those who have been careless with my heart, the culture that created and skillfully upholds systems of oppression, and I’ve forgiven myself, too.
“12 Note Forgiveness” was a truly a labor of love and hard work, not only emotionally and creatively, but also technically. In all my prior Creative Writing classes, I struggled the most with poetry and never imagined I would be writing poetry or calling myself a poet. In fact, I called every piece a “note” right until the very end. It wasn’t until I started another project that I started to use the words poem and poet!
I'm not sure I would have finished if it weren’t for the encouragement, validation, interest, and input of a few particularly brave souls who read my poems and provided feedback as I navigated this emotional endeavor. Thank you Patti Phillips, Jodi Versaw, and Michele Perry.
These twelve poems, all grounded in a vision of forgiveness, acceptance, and transformation have carried me into deeper love, hope, and joy. It is my hope that anyone who reads them will feel more connected, more seen, more free to be themselves, more loved, and more loving.
Thanks for reading and joining me here for 12 Note Forgiveness!