When this scarred and charred tree revealed itself to me through my pens and charcoal, I had no idea who she was or where she had come from. It wasn’t until my husband took one astute look and simply said, Wow, your vagina. Oh! Why, yes, of course. There she was — my Mapplethorpe-esque vagina in this tree! Weird. Moments later her story knocked gently (yes, my trees tell me their stories) and said, "SHE WEPT.” Hmmm…not a typical tree tale and she didn’t present me with a name. Interesting, I thought. Just two quiet words phrased in the past tense. They spoke volumes.
I’ve had decades to grieve what was taken from me as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (my stepfather) and teenage rape, two rapes to be exact — one in high school and the other in college at a frat party. Despite the years of a multitude of different (and helpful) trauma therapies and alternative treatments (also helpful), it wasn’t until SHE WEPT arrived in my consciousness that I've actually been able to let go. Trees have a way of shifting life in directions one can never anticipate and SHE WEPT had emerged with skin-pink hints of new growth.
The first person for whom I printed SHE WEPT was my dear friend Sara — in her 30’s, a bright, highly successful television professional who went out for a night a smattering of years back with some industry friends. A few hours later, she was raped. One of her pals had said that a particular man in the group (who also worked in the same entertainment circle) was a “great guy” and “safe.” She went with him to ostensibly meet up with others. What followed was violent and terrifying. When he was finished, Sara was left traumatized and in a deep state of shock, disbelief, shame, and self-blame. All things we as rape survivors feel.
Now years later, I showed Sara SHE WEPT. She saw pain wrapped in power and perseverance. It resonated so deeply and she smiled through tears. Yes, she wept. We wept. But now we agreed we’re moving forward with the strength of great oaks.
To see what this particular tree might say to other women, I recently asked my Trees Have Feelings Facebook friends what feelings she evoked for them. The responses were deeply nuanced and showed me that she speaks to us on a multitude of levels. How amazing! Here are just a few feelings these lovely ladies shared:
So, here's what I take from all of this and it makes me happy: There is beauty in sadness, healing in grief, and growth where we least expect it.
With the strength of a great oak, I send you tree love.
P.S. SHE WEPT is now officially available in our store :)
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