I didn't know where to begin promoting my book, but when a friend, Rev. Mary Catherine (Kitty) Bass, suggested I contact the Women's Studies departments of colleges and universities, I knew she was right. She doesn't take credit for the suggestion; she says she never had the idea before she spoke it and that it came from the Divine Mother of us all.
I started with UNC-Greensboro because I was born and abused in Greensboro. Not only does UNC-G have a women's studies department, but it turns out it is one of the oldest departments in the country, and it has over 100 faculty affiliates involved in a multi-disciplinary approach to women's studies.
I spoke with a young woman who referred me to the Greensboro Hive, which has a childhood abuse survivor's group that is planning a spring film series on abuse.
When I went to the Hive website map, I was amazed to see that the center is located right next to the park, Morris Farrow Park, where I used to play. The house where I lived and was abused (1302 Portland Street) was about two blocks from the center! The large, old two-story house of my youth is no longer there, but it is in my memory and in my book.
I visited that neighborhood three years ago when I began to write my book. I visited Morris Farrow Park where I used to run wild with my brother and the neighborhood boys and where I was certain that there were trolls in the culvert that connected the two parts of the park. My life was dark and troubled because of early hidden sexual abuse and because of the constant beatings from my step-father. No wonder I thought I saw trolls!
I have stones on my altar that I picked up while I was there and that helped me anchor my Self as I wrote my story. While I was picking up the stones, a young girl about 11 or 12 years old mooned me as she was swinging. That act of inappropriate exposure pierced my nostalgia and made me remember more about the wounding I received at 1302 Portland Street when I was just a baby, wounding that left me unable to establish appropriate boundaries -- like the young girl on the swing.
Looking at the map, I was awed by the coincidence, and I knew that my neighborhood of 60 years ago was the exact right place to promote my book about sexual wounding, about cultural complicity in the sexual abuse of women, and about the inevitability of sexual abuse when women are not imaged as divine while men are.
I took the plunge, wrote an e-mail to the woman in charge and told her this story. I was immediately welcomed by her. She invited me to be a part of the spring film series, which will include Angela Shelton's film about abuse, Finding Angela Shelton.
Just like that!
I said, YES!
The Divine Feminine, the Great Mother of us all, guided me home, so I could be a part of healing that place, and so my healing could continue. I am in awe and in gratitude.
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Hear an excerpt from GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS.
Read an excerpt from GROWING UP WITHOUT THE GODDESS.