How Survivors Can Preserve the Lessons from Their Experiences for Storytelling

Now, in order to tell your story you are going to need the details of your stories. No one can tell your story like you can. 

Survivors have some of the most fascinating stories ever. 

Why?  

1.Stories of good vs. evil are of great interest to people from the time that they are small children. 

Good vs. evil is the core of most fairy tales. Sexual/domestic abuse is truly evil. Yet millions of Survivors manage to defeat it in their personal lives.

2. People love stories where humans must overcome something that threatens to consume or destroy them. 

3. Stories from Survivors help parents and guardians keep children safe

4. Stories from Survivors help other victims/Survivors to heal more genuinely and authentically.

5. Stories from Survivors help the community to have a greater understanding of domestic/sexual violence and spur them to action.


Gathering the Lessons
I have been journaling since I was a teen.  I carried notebooks with me everywhere!

But, that doesn’t mean that I always found it to be easy.  Sometimes just when you need to get that poison out, just when it gets to the surface, it stops. Kind of like a pimple.  All of a sudden it feels a whole lot easier to do something harmful.

Sleep for days, eat for days, be a witch for days.  You know, whatever your self harm thing is. Those are just a few of mine. The ones that I can share in public.

BUT in order to clean out wounds the germs have to come out no matter how much it hurts. 

It Won’t Be Cute
Stories are beautiful! Who doesn’t love a good story? The process that one goes through in order to tell that story is not always so pretty. Okay, it is ugly, unattractive, no one’s type. 

But in order to get to the story we just have to go through the valley of the shadow of yuck.

The Method

I recommend that you keep guidelines. When you are emotional, you feel and forget to think. 

Well, I do. I’m told that not everyone does that, but I don’t believe those people. 

In any case, wise counsel, wise friends, wise family and/or prayer can bring you into balance.  Until then, write, write, write. 
1. Keep recording supplies everywhere. Please don’t think that you will remember later. You will not. 

2. You don’t have to be a writer to keep a journal.  Just jot down your thoughts. Your English teacher will not collect them and check them for grammar and sentence structure. There will be a time for that. Now is gathering time.

3. There are many ways to record your story notes. 
Keep  in mind that you can vocally record your notes using your phone or a tape recorder. 
You can record your notes on video. 
You can use webinar tools.  
You can use teleseminar tools.
4. Do try to set up some form of organization or you will have an entire mess on your hands.  
The easiest go to is always by date.  
I have also used important time periods that were important to me. 
(Ex: Before this date/After that date)

Dealing


5. Flashbacks and memories are just part of life for rape, child sexual abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, and trauma Survivors. 

When you/if are able, make peace with the fact that memories come when you least expect them. 
Keep recording supplies near at all times. 

Especially the places that you tend to fall asleep.  That way you are prepared when memories or flashbacks hit.
 Record them and say to yourself that though they come in the form of evil they will be used for good.

(In an upcoming post I will talk about how they can be used)
6. Memories can come back in fragments or whole chunks.  Either way, record what you are given.  

Count it all good.  If you get a flashback of an odor record that.
7. What if the same memory keeps coming back? 

Well, that is your call.  I used to hate writing down the same doggone memory.  I was doing this for years.

But what I found was when I did, I realized that the more that I wrote it down, the more that I was making peace with the memory.  Not the gross things that happened. Heck no.

I began to remember some of the good times.  The toys, the music, family that did their best to help. It wasn’t ALL bad. 
Security
8. Keep it secure.  Years ago I went through a break up with a boo. 

Naturally, I was hurt.  I wasn’t thinking about those journals.  Wouldn’t you know, I forgot to grab some of my journals when we parted.  My ex-boyfriend kept them. 

Of course, when the smoke cleared I asked him about them.  He doesn’t know what on earth ever happened to them.

I’m so sure.

Lesson learned. Guard them y’all. 

Applause
Not every Survivor should or will want to share their story.  Just to make it through and live each day is a huge victory.  

If a Survivor makes it through and is able to care for their own emotional wellbeing that is like climbing the highest mountain on this earth each and every day. WE applaud you!

At the same time, there are many Survivors who find it healing to share the lessons and wisdom gained from their story. WE applaud you!  


Look for us to continue to share storytelling tools.


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Tonya GJ Prince
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Tonya GJ Prince

Tonya is a Social Justice Info Expert with over 23 years experience. She holds a BS in Organizational Management & Development. Her cat MiaBelle is her co-writer.
Tonya GJ Prince
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