My focus in my life at the moment is honesty. With myself, and with others. Honesty is difficult. You are sharing a part of you that is most vulnerable and raw, and you don’t know how you will be received.

Our writing group starts every session with a five-minute sprint on a prompt word. I always find my subconscious takes over in this exercise. This was my response to the prompt ‘enough distance’.

Is there ever enough distance from your past?

Can you ever truly escape the shadows lurking in the back of your mind sometimes rearing at you, screaming furiously?

From which you have no sanctuary; it is hard to hide from your own mind, to disappear from yourself.

It exists in blackness, yet in blackness you still cannot completely erase your existence.

There is never enough distance between the difficult emotions of your past. So you must work to reconcile the distance, the difference. You must face the truth head-on and acknowledge it.

Only then can you create the space in which to grow and to heal.

I had been carrying a burden for over a year. I was devastatingly ashamed. But I respected someone too much to continue keeping it a secret. I was terrified, but I knew it was time to speak my truth, at the risk of a further traumatic response. But I was blessed with compassion, and in turn honesty back, which I completely respect. I took a risk. I released my burden I had been carrying for so long. I feel like a different person now. I feel a sense of freedom and courage.

I am being honest with myself as an aspiring author. It is hard work when you are learning, and being challenged every step of the way. It is a huge learning curve, at times you feel utterly despondent and confused. I have to be honest with myself and accept that what will be will be, and I will grow and learn from it, and hopefully improve as a writer.

In all honesty? This is extremely vulnerable to say, but I really want to be a published author. Not for accolades or success, but so I can share unspoken stories with readers, to give a voice to women who have not been heard for so long – if ever in history. To share their truth, the unheard honesty of their lived experience, to expose the ‘silent shame’ of war trauma which is not theirs to be ashamed of in any sense. That is what drives me. This is my passion.

Honesty makes you extremely vulnerable. It is a risk.

It is totally worth it.

It sets you free.

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