The blog, Breaking Sarah, specializes in surviving trauma and the healing process which follows. Sarah is a survivor of incest, teen pregnancy, and family estrangement and death. Rather than let it to tear her down, she uses her work to inspire and help heal others. She…
Writes To Heal
Drem: Sarah, tell me about yourself.
Sarah: I was born and raised in small-town California and lived there until I was 39. Currently, at 43, I live in Southeast Texas and will be moving to Mississippi in a couple of months. Living in different places and experiencing different cultures and types of people has been fascinating for me; I felt so sheltered for most of my life and it feels good to be branching out.
Drem: And you Write To Heal as well? Tell me about that.
Sarah: I write to heal because it was and still is, in may ways, the only way I know how to contemplate and resolve everything I am feeling. After childhood sexual abuse by my father and brother and then recent family estrangements, I don’t really have a proper support system, no one to help me through pain and loss, no one who gives a damn. I swallowed my emotions for six years recently and that act alone hurt me more than any person ever could. I finally reached a point where it was give up and die or fight and start living. I chose to fight; I chose to heal. I just needed to find a way to heal when I was so very much alone. Writing gave me that outlet. My journey in life has been long and bumpy and tragic and choosing to write about it is one of the best and most healing decisions I have ever made.
Drem: So you started writing then. But was there a time before during crisis or otherwise you wrote?
Sarah: I started writing as a teenager in high school. When I was 15, I bought my first blank book and started writing small poems, mostly about a boy or God. They were simple at first and always rhymed. As time progressed though, they rhymed less and featured far more inner emotion, emotions that had been masked and hidden since childhood. I wouldn’t fully realize where it came from or what it meant until just a few years ago when I finally started dealing with the abuse of my childhood. It was then that the words started pouring out of me. Sometimes there are just too many thoughts in my head to sort out and writing somehow separates it and makes it manageable.
Drem: I know that feeling. And it’s interesting that you were able to witness the growth of your own work. Why do you continue now?
Sarah: I continue to write because it is such am amazing outlet – it allows me to be honest, to be real, to be raw. Don’t we first have to be honest with ourselves? After high school, I journaled for a while but eventually stopped when I started feeling less honest. Something I experience as a side effect of child abuse is perfectionism and it started controlling my writing – I went from writing for myself, from being open and real, to writing as if someone might read it and therefore it needed to be perfect. It was devastating – I stopped writing altogether. I guess you could say that in doing so, I very much lost a piece of myself. I just didn’t know how to get it back. But about 5 months ago, after a tumultuous last six years, I started a blog. I found that I had so much to say. I wanted to share my story and hopefully help others in the process. I decided to be as honest and raw as possible. If just one person could be comforted by my words, what a difference my life would make, what a difference I could make. It also allowed me to find poetry again. I think my best writing has come from openness and honesty, with myself and with others. It has allowed me to find myself again.
Drem: How often do you write now? You have a bustling blog!
Sarah: Since starting my blog, I typically make posts about four days per week. I write poetry less often, mostly because the perfectionism seems to still want to control it too much. I have to find private time so my mind can think clearly. It’s odd though, some days I have so many thoughts I want to write down and other days nothing. I don’t try to force it though, I let it come as it may. That’s the only way to stay real.
Drem: When do you write and how? I know you said earlier it was in a journal. But, times have changed. Technology has changed.
Sarah: I mostly write on my computer during the day, although I keep a pen and paper by my bed as I often find clarity and deeper thoughts lying awake in the middle of the night. Alone-time is when my thoughts are the most clear and vivid. For some reason, my bog is a private thing to me, even though I share it with so many strangers. I can’t write at home around my family; I feel like they just don’t understand sometimes. They’ve never experienced the trauma that I have so how could they?
Drem: Do you have another profession than your writing?
Sarah: I have always wanted to write professionally. In fact, I have been working on a memoir manuscript for years. However, in the real world, I am an accountant, a profession for which I have no passion at all. It’s sad really, when we settle for something less than what we want or deserve. Writing is giving me a chance to branch out though, to have passion about something and to be able to share it.
Drem: What dreams do you have for your writing now?
Sarah: I have two dreams for my writing: my ultimate dream would be to publish my manuscript, to share my life story with the world. In doing so would allow me to realize my other dream, to help others, to let other trauma and abuse survivors know that they are not alone. Writing about grief and healing is a very powerful and personal thing. I can’t think of a better reason for me to write than to try to help others through some of the very things I have survived.
Drem: Where do you find your most inspiration for those dreams?
Sarah: I think inspiration comes from every thing in everyday life, from people, places, things, and feelings. I find my best inspiration in feelings and new realizations, in those things that give me a better grip on life, a better understanding of people and the world we live in. Right now, my inspiration is grief and healing. I have experienced so much of it in the last few years. I was once told to “write what I know” and it changed how I write and how I feel about writing. For me now, writing, whether just for me or to share with others, is the one place I can just be me, where I can be okay with who I am, where I can grow and become a better person, where I can write what I know.
Drem: In a previous email, you mentioned about your holiday stresses. Would you mind discussing what happened over the holidays and what caused/lead up to your estrangement situation? How does it make you feel?
Sarah: Over the holidays, we lost our dog of 13 years. He had cancer and started having seizures and sneezing up tons of blood. We had to have him but to sleep a week after Thanksgiving. The grief was and still is overwhelming. I felt like I lost the one thing in this life who loved me unconditionally. The family estrangement is a long, sordid story and hard to summarize into a paragraph. It’s a large part of what I have written about in my blog. I guess in its simplest form, it originated with the incest of my childhood and gave me and my sisters quite different personalities. I took it to a good place and my sisters to a bad place. About 5 years ago, there was a big blowout and my sisters did some terrible things to me. How did it make me feel? At first like I was worthless. Now though, after time, facing my fears and starting to heal, I see that I am stronger than I ever knew.
Drem: I am so, so sorry about your dog. That is tough. My prayers are with you.
Is this where you’d thought you would be by this time in your life, overall?
Sarah: My life is very different than I thought it would be. While I do have a good marriage, everything else is way off. I am estranged from my son and most of my family and my career has stalled out. The thing is, all of the things that didn’t measure up to the dreams of the little girl in me made me a better and stronger person. It is not the life I wanted but it is the life I have and the life that gave me the power of genuinely caring about others.
Drem: Is the estrangement from the teen pregnancy you also mentioned in the previous email?
Sarah: That again is too long of a story. My circumstances were different than most teen pregnancies. I was the good girl that did everything right and followed the rules but still i ended up pregnant at 18 years old. i thought everything would be perfect and that I would be a great parent. But the effects of child abuse denial started seeping in and I found myself in major post-partum depression and CPTSD within a week of my son being born. My life crashed at the age of 19 and it has been one obstacle after another ever since. Today though, I see what I have experienced and survived and it is truly somewhat of a miracle that I am still here.
Drem: You’ve been through so much. Who has been your greatest support system?
Sarah: Honestly, I don’t really have one. I have a wonderful husband but he has a hard time grasping trauma and sometimes doesn’t know how to respond to me. I have one true friend but she hasn’t experience trauma either and I think I frustrate her sometimes. I guess my greatest support system would have to be myself, somehow finding the power from within.
Visit Sarah on her blog at:
If you also Write To Heal, become a featured artists!
〉 Become Part of the Movement
〉&/or e-mail Drem: ArtOfDrem@Gmail.com