i am taking my words on a journey to honour the women and men in my family line who were held captive, in so many ways, by domestic violence.
i could tell a hundred small stories of my people who lived two lives—a respectable and facing outward, and another one hidden behind closed doors.
i could tell of my childhood, the women, the men—the dna that shapes me, how fortunate i have been to be safe and respected, to not have to have raised a child in the same emotional and physical battlefield that the women before me had to. and not just the women. men too.
domestic violence is statistically perpetrated more often by men but know that many men are victims too and are too ashamed to seek help.
i see you.
i have gathered up my words and i have sourced beautiful vintage items.
the first one is an old, lacy apron—threadbare in places.
the stains are red wine.
i put them there.
in almost every story of heartache and abuse within my family, alcohol abuse was a presence.
as i stitch, i am reminded of things that bind us and hold us hostage.
as i stitch, i am reminded of things that set us free and show us how to plant healing at our front door.
some stories are uncomfortable to hear.
they are usually the stories that are uncomfortable to tell.
they are the stories that have to be told.
i am stitching my way through shame and fear.
i have decided to name the project ‘words with elizabeth’ and if you have either of my books, you will know that i have a series of poems that have this as a subtitle.
i am the storyteller for those who can’t, who couldn’t, who weren’t allowed to, and who tried but who were not heard.
i am also the storyteller for those who were caught in a trap of learned things, of things forced onto them as young men, as men caught up in a society that turned a blind, patriarchal eye.
there are no winners.
only people who were hurt and hurting.
this is important to acknowledge.
i hope you will join me.