Thank you for taking the time to visit this website and read these pages. I love the ongoing experience of creating it. On this page I share some of my work in the survivor community and some history of my own upbringing to give context to the songs.
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As a white woman raised with access to a good education and opportunities to grow as a musician I came into my adult life with a good amount of skills and support and financial stability. Those assets gave me access to job opportunities and housing and a relatively safe community. Thus, as I struggled as a survivor I had material and social benefits that helped me find the support I needed. This has made a huge difference in my ability to manage and cope within my PTSD limits. I could build a life in my mostly white world with reasonable assurance that I had only my own history to contend with. I did not have to struggle with the repeated traumas of racism or poverty.
WORK IN THE SURVIVOR COMMUNITY
Since 2012 I have worked with Survivor Theatre Project, an inspired organization whose mission is to empower survivors with the tools to break silence and end sexual violence through social justice, creativity, and public performance. STP has offered a wide range of dynamic programs over the years. My particular role has varied but my primary focus has been organizing and promoting the monthly Healing Through Creative Arts workshop series. It gives me a steady venue to support facilitators in many art forms and to witness the healing potential of creativity when empowered by authentic vulnerability and trust within a group. I feel deeply moved by this work.
In 2017 with the support and guidance of STP, two coaches, a gifted accompanist, and many friends, I wrote and staged a one-woman musical I called “When I Ask My Body.” This performance gave me an artistic forum to share my experience of how trauma lives in our bodies. Throughout my recovery my body has constantly alerted me to the emotional, spiritual, and physical truth of my past. It is hard to argue with the body which does not run on chronological time. Whatever seeks resolution in our lives, our bodies are very clever at creating strategies to cope with the unresolved stress, essentially freezing time in the aftermath of a trauma. Think of a “pain in the neck” and how it will let go once the original source of stress has been named and somehow addressed. Eventually those coping strategies start to break down and the truth will out, either in physical dysfunction or in the emerging of memory and recovery, or both. While each of us store our experience differently in our bodies, minds and hearts, all of us embody who we are and our bodies speak for us in the world.
The album image with me in a field of Joe Pye flowers was from the time that I wrote the songs. The years have marched on. Because I like online media to be current here is a song video from last spring, 2020, recorded in my living room. Survivor Theatre Project was creating an Instagram series of video statements from survivors about life during Covid. I contributed this song called “My Gut Keeps Talking.” A few weeks after this, the death of George Floyd and the uprising with Black Lives Matter sharpened our focus where it needs to be.
Swimming is another one of the ways I have managed the challenges of survivor life and a world coping with trauma at many levels.