slug Quotes

So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult. I was—and am—innocent.” The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis

- Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

to love life, to love it evenwhen you have no stomach for itand everything you've held dearcrumbles like burnt paper in your hands,your throat filled with the silt of it.When grief sits with you, its tropical heatthickening the air, heavy as watermore fit for gills than lungs;when grief weights you like your own fleshonly more of it, an obesity of grief,you think, How can a body withstand this?Then you hold life like a facebetween your palms, a plain face,no charming smile, no violet eyes,and you say, yes, I will take youI will love you, again.

- Ellen Bass

There is comfort in knowing that you don’t have to pretend anymore, that you are going to do everything within your power to heal.

- Ellen Bass, Beginning to Heal

To heal from child sexual abuse you must believe that you were a victim, that the abuse really did take place. This is often difficult for survivors. When you’ve spent your life denying the reality of your abuse, when you don’t want it to be true, or when your family repeatedly calls you crazy or a liar, it can be hard to remain firm in the knowledge that you were abused.

- Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Dead ButterflyBy Ellen BassFor months my daughter carried a dead monarch in a quart mason jar. To and from school in her backpack, to her only friend’s house. At the dinner table it sat like a guest alongside the pot roast. She took it to bed, propped by her pillow. Was it the year her brother was born? Was this her own too-fragile baby that had lived—so briefly—in its glassed world? Or the year she refused to go to her father’s house? Was this the holding-her-breath girl she became there? This plump child in her rolled-down socks I sometimes wanted to haul back inside me and carry safe again. What was her fierce commitment? I never understood. We just lived with the dead winged thing as part of her, as part of us, weightless in its heavy jar.

- Ellen Bass

the dolphins stitch sky to sea.

- Ellen Bass, Like a Beggar

If You KnewWhat if you knew you'd be the lastto touch someone?If you were taking tickets, for example,at the theater, tearing them,giving back the ragged stubs,you might take care to touch that palmbrush your fingertipsalong the lifeline's crease.When a man pulls his wheeled suitcasetoo slowly through the airport, whenthe car in front of me doesn't signal,when the clerk at the pharmacywon't say thank you, I don't rememberthey're going to die.A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.They'd just had lunch and the waiter,a young gay man with plum black eyes,joked as he served the coffee, kissedher aunt's powdered cheek when they left.Then they walked half a block and her auntdropped dead on the sidewalk.How close does the dragon's spumehave to come? How wide does the crackin heaven have to split?What would people look likeif we could see them as they are,soaked in honey, stung and swollen,reckless, pinned against time?

- Ellen Bass, The Human Line

If you’ve managed to do one good thing,the ocean doesn’t care.But when Newton’s applefell toward the earth,the earth, ever so slightly, felltoward the apple as well.

- Ellen Bass

As you heal, you see yourself more realistically. You accept that you are a person with strengths and weaknesses. You make the changes you can in your life and let go of the things that aren’t in your power to change. You learn that every part of you is valuable. And you realize that all of your thoughts and feelings are important, even when they’re painful or difficult.

- Ellen Bass, Beginning to Heal

This choreography of ruin, the world breakinglike glass under a microscope,the way it doesn’t crack all at once,but spreads out from the damaged cavities.Still for a moment it all recedes.The backyard potatoes swell quietlyburied beneath their canopy of leaves.The wind rubs its hands through the trees.

- Ellen Bass, Like a Beggar

You focus on telling stories,
we do everything else.