A story of resilience, hope, and transformation

Early on in this writing journey when I thought about the story I wanted to tell it was clear to me that I would need to reach back into my own life for bits and pieces. It would not be a memoir but a work of fiction with a hint of truth. It would be a tale of a fictionalized family; a little girl navigating the troubled waters of her family. A story of resilience, hope, and transformation. And, it is all of that but it is more.

I was driving down the highway listening to NPR thinking about why I wanted to write this particular story and I heard a story about a neighborhood in an urban area where a large number of the children could be diagnosed with having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the violence they personally experienced or witnessed. It gave me pause. I knew a little about violence as it relates to adults. I had heard about and knew people that as a result of military service or the after affect of a brutal rape or witnessing a violent murder had experienced symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I never thought about children and PTSD. However, I did believe that experiences of childhood (good or bad) could be revisited in adulthood, and have long term affects, for better or worse. However, I didn’t know the terms used to describe the experiences.

I am not a clinician or professional in this area so I needed to read about the effects of violence on children and I found information on Adverse Childhood Experiences. I talked with professionals engaged in treating the symptoms associated with the exposure to violence. I found a therapist who treated adults and children with symptoms associated with violence. I learned that for some children the symptoms vary and in some cases the child may exhibited only some of the symptoms. I found the ACE survey that has been used to identify the problems associated with ACE and a Resilience Questionnaire (aimed to parenting skills.)

The most important part of my research, on a very personal level, was realizing that certain terms used in the discussion of ACE were present in my writing without a conscious understanding. I simply understood that my protagonist was on “High Alert” and that she often disassociated and turned the real to the unreal, as well as engaging in self harm. I have come to believe that children exposed to violence absorb that experience and grow another layer of skin that is with them for a lifetime and not something they can easily shed.

The bits and pieces of my life that I brought to this story have caused me to reflect on my life and the many people from classmates to family to friends that lifted me up and helped me find my resilient self.


Leave a Reply