The Woman in the Red Dress

In February of 1998, I became that woman. I was a 21-year-old newlywed, trying to finish nursing school and navigate marriage and life. I had a history. This history of chest pain, fainting and exhaustion had been diagnosed as a treatable valve issue. Doctors said I would “grow out of it.” But that year everything…

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Examining the Archetype

“The Woman in Red” can mean many things in our culture. She can be the woman that bears the shame of cultural stigmatization that comes with being female and feminine. The biologically associated monthly “red” cycle that reminds her that she is female. This cycle at various points in history was so stigmatized that some…

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Comforting My Critical Self

You know you have an internal critic when your therapist tells you that you have an “Integrated Self” and a “Critical Self.”

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Ugly Hope

Moving through loss is messy and unattractive. A few years ago, there was a song made popular by a country singer who lamented her mama’s advice: “Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady.”* Or, as others have said, “fake it till you make it.” There is a certain value in this…

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Between Joy and Sadness

“Can I watch Joy’s movie, Mama?” “Joy’s movie?” “Yeah! The yellow lady with the blue hair!” Frantically searching my memory bank for the missing puzzle pieces, I stare confusedly into space until a bright light blinks into existence above my head. “Aha! Joy! You mean Inside Out.” My sweet boy, with swollen eyes and a…

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Find Your Zen Again

The truth is like a lion: let it loose and it will defend itself. —Saint Augustine Autumn leaves crunch under my feet like a forbidden Kit Kat bar. And yet I keep walking—far away from the noise of the day. I don’t want to hear. I don’t want to feel. I want to heal. Scars on…

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Breath of Life

“Take a deep breath and fill your belly with air, in through your nose and out through your mouth.” Ally gently guides us through a trauma-informed yoga practice. I notice the rubber mat beneath me and the earth holding me. I am gathered with eight women fighting to find goodness in our bodies, vessels that…

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The Wounded Healer

The wounded healer arrives on the scene not a moment too soon or too late. She is ready and anchored in the flow of love to lean into the other’s deep pain. She heals with her eyes, her heart, and her hands, using words of comfort and care. She knows how it feels to be…

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An Ending of Sorts

I stepped on the downtown pavement for the first time in months, surrounded by masked bodies holding make-shift cardboard signs with words written in paint or permanent marker, saying things like, “I CAN’T BREATHE,” or “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE,” or “SAY HIS NAME—GEORGE FLOYD.” 

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The White Dress

Bagpipes resounded “Amazing Grace” as the June rain pounded the roof of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. After the bridesmaids processed in pale pink tea dresses to the tune of “Canon in D,” the large wooden doors shut. Thunder clapped, marking the redemption of this day, the many dark chapters of our stories now expanding and…

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