It’s time to open the new expanded Write Your Self – with a new team behind the work.
Write Your Self started as a writing program for women, girls and transgender people who had suffered violence. Between 2013-2015, I offered the program in cooperation with Swedish women shelters, and in 2016 I assumed full ownership of the project and assembled a team to digitalise and globalise it.
Since 2008 I’ve taught writing and yoga to women and girls who have been subjected to violence, and developed a methodology for this. The text below was written in 2013 by one of my clients when the program had just started. At that time her world had fallen apart, she was in the middle of a therapy process, couldn’t work and needed to dedicate most of her time and energy to heal. Now she’s at a different place, working with several book projects and is about to start up her own company. She broke her silence and made her rebellion against what she had been subjected to. She triumphed – and I got to witness and be a part of it.
Sometimes things happen in our lives that shake us, break us open, force us to re-evalute everything we thought we knew, all our knowledge and perspectives, and start all over again. Afterwards, it might take a long time and a lot of work to figure out how to live on, and how to find the way back to freedom of choice and capacity to create – at a time when we might be feeling more lost, vaulnerable and powerless than ever.
I came to a point in my healing when my story ceased to be just my own and instead became a part of something bigger, where I had the opportunity to help others heal. Write Your Self has been one way to use my own history of violence to help others to face theirs – to tell and express these stories, and to live on with and beyond them.
“My name is Agnes and I’m thirty years old. At the moment I’m on sick leave from my work. Not because I want to, but because my body has stopped functioning. In January 2013 I crashed. My life caught up with me. I, who’ve always succeeded when others have failed, could hardly get out of bed in the morning and make myself a cup of coffee.
I’ve been subjected to different kinds of violence from early childhood and into adulthood. I have no idea how I’ve survived. I only know that in January 2013, the day before signing off sick, I stood in front of the coffee maker, hyperventilating, crying and checking a thousand times if I had pressed the button, inserted a coffee filter and poured water.
My perpetrators have never had to face their responsibility. I’ve never had the opportunity to confront them. They walk free while I’m trapped in an emotional prison caused by all the memories they’ve left behind.
I’ve never had a voice. I’ve never had the opportunity to defend myself or to seek justice. Until now. Now I’m writing my story. Now I’m writing down the truth my surrounding world did not want to see. I’m free in my words and my telling. No one judges me. No one questions me.
I’m writing to heal, to tell to myself what happened, to understand why I feel like I do today, to put an end to the memories washing over me. For every chapter I’m healing a wound. There are still scars, but they hurt less for every word.
I’m guided and I’m safe, because I know my words are being read by a survivor. A woman who has walked in my shoes, who gives of herself to help others. She sees me and she hears me. She shows me the way so I can heal.
Up until today I’ve written two fifths of my story. I still have some pieces left, but now I know how everything started. And now I can also begin to hope that it will reach an ending because now I know that when I write my last line, I will be whole.
Åsa is a writer, coordinator and conceptual designer at Write Your Self, and also the founder and owner. She believes in the power of healing, change and of creating new paths onward.
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