Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Explaining your self inury to your children - When mom hurts

Was interviewed recently for an article about living with SIV.  The reporter was following my healing time line and taking notes.

There was a gap of seven or so years between therapy and starting to write on the message boards. I mentioned I wrote/drew a few things for the "The Cutting Edge:  A Newsletter for People Living with Self-Inflicted Violence" a snail mailed newsletter in that time, but completely, COMPLETLY forgot to mention my greatest contribution to the world of SIV education that occurred in that time frame.

I'm going to blame it on my annoying thyroid brain fog. Ha! Anyway I figured I should put it on here, before I forget about it again!

It's for parents who self injure to explain it to their kids. The age range for this book is 4-6 years old.

There was a time after hypnotherapy ended where I was just living and putting into practice all the skills I had learned there and in therapy. I worked and returned to school and just dipped my toes back into living with the human race.

It was in that time I found the Cutting Edge. I was pre-internet and it was the only support group for people living with self inflicted violence. A place were we could talk openly about self injury.

In one edition  in 1994 a woman named Ann vented a long letter about her situation and life with self injury. As she poured out her guts she lamented, "Why isn't there a book to help me explain my self injury to my kids?"

I thought, because no one has asked before.

And I wrote When Mom Hurts that very day. I sat on the manuscript for a few years not really sure how I wanted to proceed with it.

In 2002 on the self injury message boards, I began having to reply to a lot of mothers who wanted to know how to respond to their children's questions about their scars. I finally dug out the manuscript and put in some illustrations.

Those drawings were intended as temporary fillers until I had time to go back and properly illustrate it. I ran some rough draft copies to get feed back and sent them out. I figured the book would take a few months or so to finalize and boil down to its finally polished version.

I didn't fully comprehend the NEED for this book.

It took off and went like wild fire in its rough draft state! The cutting edge reviewed the rough draft and I started getting request from all over the world for copies.

I even got connected with Ann and sent her a copy.  It was so cool to talk to her!

The story doesn't end there. When my son was 7ish or so he came up to me and told me the shirt  I was wearing was his favorite one on me.

I was cleaning the garage and the shirt was a ratty old stained one. It was gross. I said "really? why?"

He smiled and said. "because it has long sleeves, and hides your ugly scars."

His words gouged my heart and took my breath away.  I had never hidden my scars and didn't normally wear long sleeves.

Wounded I retreated to the message board and wrote this:

after calming down and stepping off the anxiety train last night, I realized my son was pointing out to me the need for me to write a sequel.

As a writer it never ceases to amaze me how little control over my gift I have. I very, very seldom choose to write a story. They just come busting in to my mind and DEMAND to be written.

"When mom hurts" is aimed at introducing the topic of SIV to young kids. Designed to stir up conversation and more questions.

So its time now to answer those questions.

here is a peak into the writing process of my mind.
First I need a working title. (So I know what to call the project until its name comes to me.)
easy that one named its self.

"Long Sleeves"

Now to wait with yellow legal pad and zipped mouth and open ears to clearly hear what my son has to say when I interview him later today.
I can't answer his questions until he asked them. Its been too long since my farm kids asked me stuff, I don't remember what I told them, or how I handled things back then.

I know I will be unable to answer all his questions...and the book will stir up more. (great just got a commission for the conclusion of the trilogy)

Some where in my massive pile of things to finish are the manuscript for Long Sleeves for ages 7-10 and the conclusion of the trilogy that is for ages 11-15.

I should really finish them one day.

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