It's a wild and woolly day here in Toronto. The wind is whipping the leaves off the trees and grey skies blanket the city. I'm glad to be back.
The airport taxi took me along a familiar route and memories from my Toronto life came back to me as we drove through the dark, passing various landmarks I'd known in my younger days.
My early years were spent in the Yukon but Toronto is where I grew up. Here is where I left childhood and became an adolescent. I then left adolescence and became a young woman when I moved back to Whitehorse at the age of 18.
Tonight I'm telling a story at the Festival of Oral Literatures - FOOL (www.foolfestival.ca), a new storytelling festival organized by an artist friend I know. The story is a stylized tale about a little girl whose innocence is ripped away after she moves from a small town in the far north to a big city in the south east.
It's an autobiographical piece. When I was 7 years old, just turning 8, I was sexually molested in a ravine near the elementary school I attended. It was the lunch hour jogging program and I was with one other girl. Somehow we'd gotten separated from the pack. My family and I had only been in Toronto about a month.
You may be shocked to read this. It's not a secret. I'm open about this part of my life. It's been a long road of healing and every time I think I'm free of the shame that comes with this kind of abuse I discover yet another layer to discard. And so I do the inner work and find an even deeper sense of freedom. But it's been a lot of inner work!
The story I will tell tonight is about moving from darkness to light, from shame to acceptance, from blame to gratitude. It's a privilege to share this part of my life in this way and I'm excited to have a new audience. The listening, too, is part of the healing.
Inspiring Message of the Day: When we share our burdens, they are halved. When we listen, we invite transformation. The exchange is often sacred.