Finding the way out

Finding the way out

Finding the way out 1920 2560 WeMakeCamden

There is an expression used throughout the literary world called ‘Finding your Voice;’ It is steeped in the concept of authenticity and that each human has a different life experience and, therefore, a unique angle to express. My experience is that the escape from a life of abuse has an intrinsic link with the journey of finding my voice through the written word.

At an early age, I was taught to accept acts of violence and sexual abuse because I was loyal to my family, and my innocence precluded my understanding of right from wrong. My capacity to explore the world on my terms and discover what should be important to me was replaced with trauma and control, and in turn, to stay safe, I had to appease my abusers. I understand now that these actions were coping mechanisms for survival, but as I reached my early 20s and started to unravel, the idea that I did not know who I was and that my persona was a lie fell with a heavy hammer. My childhood circumstances made it okay in my adult life for others to steal away my purpose and abuse me.

Access to education can be a route out of the abuse cycle for women and children. The power of story gave me access to information I may otherwise have been denied.”

Ruth V Jarvis

In school, I was expected to be a high achiever, and whilst living their lies to get some version of love, it strangely became my panacea. The truth is that access to education can be a route out of the abuse cycle for women and children. The power of story gave me access to information I may otherwise have been denied. Reading Alice Walker’s The Color Purple at 13 was at the heart of my decision to survive and be whole.

When I put pen to paper and subsequently embarked on a degree in Creative and Professional Writing, I analysed my belief systems and furthered my perceptions. The research to create stories gives me insight into how the world functions, is oppressed and that humans have a remarkable capacity to survive. Most of all, it supports me in facing my truth and allows me to realise that I can be anything I want to be. This belief and the power of the written word have led me to bring this universal truth to my classroom.

Woman sat amongst greenery

When I began building Articulate’s creative writing classes, I knew that the support of marginalised women had to be at the centre. With the support of The London School of Mosaic, Camden Giving We make Camden Kit, and Camden Council, I have realised this goal. I now have two classes full of vibrant conversation and creative expression. Feedback tells me how the sessions improve students’ well-being, proving that finding your voice is intrinsic to a good writing practice and an authentic life.

I examine issues of female marginalisation in my upcoming book, Scattered Roses, which is, to date, my greatest achievement. I am also excited about furthering the business within a community full of vibrancy and promise.

And I Don’t Love You Anymore. By Ruth V Jarvis

When you came to the door, bouquet in your paws
Begging like a dog
Expecting a bowl of forgiveness
I looked at the snapped peonies
From your journey and I wondered
Where did you travel from?

The peonies bought a message
That beckoned me to see
To remind me way back when
The lies hid behind your eyes
Those eyes⸺that had stared
I thought, into my soul
Whilst love was on the sheets
And now you stand here waiting
For me to invite you in
Across my threshold once more
A bouquet cannot hide perfume
Or marry with it and remain true
Blooms are cut from stem and ground
and when we stop nourishing them
they die, the bright colour of hope falls
to the floor as your knees do now
You don’t stir the same tear as autumn
With your golden gift that brings a false promise
Let it rot away against cold stone
The gateway is closed
Compassion won’t dance the tango
Another has stepped into your shoes
Your shoes⸺that were not difficult to fill

And as you stand, a foot taller than me
Blocking the sun from my view
I know you bring only shadows
Lies, platitudes and disguise.
It’s no small wonder you walked to my
door with second-hand flowers

When your eye spied
The single red rose on my table
Your colour matched in rage
You scattered the peonies in your disruption
Waiting for me to flinch and cave,
confess and yield to your fury
To swallow in the way, I did as a child
That anger meant I had to
Bend, break⸺do as I was told
How is it you cannot see that
women, they move on
Hearts broken grow wildflowers
They learn to abandon the rules
With a single rose, I gave myself
permission to love only what
is worthy of time and care
and intelligent conversation
And I close the door
The floorboards comfort my feet
With familiarity and rhythm
Of my weight bearing down

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