As we celebrate the third anniversary of the Women's Writing Circle this month, I asked women to write what the Circle has come to mean to them. I had written my thoughts and impressions many times on this blog, now it was their turn. I wanted to share their voices about our community of writers. They generously obliged. So from now until the end of November, the Women's Writing Circle features "In Her Own Words." This from Candice Swick.
"To say that my life has been in a transition phase for the last two years would be an understatement. If I were a piece of wood, I would have been stripped, sanded, painted and on my way to the varnishing station.
Two years ago I hit my limit and was forced to leave my best friend of fifteen years. When we met, it felt like heaven. We were each other’s everything. For the majority of our relationship I felt loved, accepted and cherished. Now in hindsight, I realize that although we were in love, in many ways it was a dysfunctional marriage. Our paths weren’t connected anymore and in order to save myself I was forced to go solo. Being alone after being a part of a twosome for so long was a scary almost foreign sensation.
Just when I was on my way to learning how to live and rely on myself, I ended up with another major detour. On January 9th of 2012, at the age of thirty-nine, I had open heart surgery. I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve instead of a tricuspid aortic valve. Although this operation was inevitable, the doctors thought I would be in my fifties, not in my late thirties. I’m a survivor and my recovery has been exceptionally smooth. Not a morning goes by without me appreciating every waking moment and breath. It’s a gift to be alive. The bow on top of life’s gift is the people we meet along the way.
I entered the next phase of my healing when I started attending the Women’s Writing Circle in March of 2012. The group of ladies in this writing group welcomed me with open arms. I refer to this time of my life as the healing stage, because that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m mending physically from my heart surgery and emotionally from my divorce. A new friend and fellow writer recently said, “Candice, you’ve come out of your shell so much since you’ve been coming to the circle.” At that moment it hit me how right she was. My confidence has come alive in the last six months. This writing circle has changed how I feel about myself.
I’ve witnessed a few other women join our group and like me they are hesitant at first. In our own way each of us took baby steps:
Step 1 - Having the courage to come and listen to the other women read.
Step 2 – Having the nerve to read our own material.
Step 3 – Having enough confidence to voice our opinions on others' work.
Each woman in the Women’s Writing Circle is special in her own way, but we share one common thread; we’re all searching for our own VOICE.
Thank you to all my new friends for being the colorful bows on my gift of life."