Monday, January 14, 2013

A Woman's Responsibility To Share



"Live your life from your heart.  Share from your heart.  And your story will touch and heal people's souls." Melody Beattie

Our About the Author series, highlighting the women who have contributed to Slants of Light:  Stories and Poems From the Women's Writing Circle, continues with Candice Swick.
                                                                                 "When life is spinning around us and slyly incorporates us into its chaotic cyclone of madness, it’s time to reevaluate our lives. I’m a 40 year-old divorcee, who has recently done some reevaluating.

Since my divorce two years ago, my life has been both a slow motion blur and a fast forward flurry. It's been a confusing, yet an eye-opening time for me.

When I joined the Women’s Writing Circle this past February, I was learning to breathe again; literally and figuratively speaking. Recovering from open heart surgery and learning how to be just me, without my spouse of 15 years, was frightening, but a necessary part of my life’s journey.

A big part of going forward is looking back and trying to make sense of nonsense. I had my opportunity to do this through writing two short stories, “Why Women Stay” and “Shriver’s Bench - Why Women Leave” for Slants of Light.

This project gave purpose and forced me to quickly graduate from the woe is me stage of healing.  It’s easy to let life’s difficult times pull us under into its greedy quicksand, but with age comes the realization that our time on earth isn’t just about us and our survival, but our contribution to others. We all have gifts entrusted to us by our higher power, and with these gifts comes a responsibility. Slants of Light reminded me of my gift of writing and my responsibility of projecting my voice as a strong woman having the courage to start over.

My stories are about a woman quickly approaching middle age and realizing that life isn’t exactly what she hoped it would be. Her sense of self has dissolved and she’s forgotten how to take care of the most important person . . . herself. Her lack of self-esteem, partially born from her dysfunctional marriage, has created a debilitating anchor.

The last three years of her relationship with an emotionally handicapped man begin to extinguish her internal flame. The ideals of society have convinced her to stay in a stagnant marriage for various reasons: her low-earning potential, the negative consequences for her stepchild and the undesirable label of being disloyal.


With a shaky voice, yet with conviction, I’ve reached my goal. Working together, my stories depict a woman who found the strength to recreate herself out of necessity, while hopefully breaking down some misconceptions of divorce. There are more reasons to justify a woman leaving an unhappy marriage than a man’s infidelity, or physical abuse.

Our responsibility as women writers is to dig deep into our pain. Then reflect and grow. Our growth has the power to breathe life into the courage of other women sharing their invaluable stories. Slants of Light houses a collective voice of passionate women making a difference through words. I’m honored to be a part of it.

One last thought, ladies: "Job well done!"
 
Candice L. Swick is a graduate of West Chester University where she earned her BA in American Literature.  She lives in Downingtown, PA and has enjoyed writing poetry since she was a teenager. In 1999, Candice had a poem published in The Poetry Guild’s anthology, A Shimmer on the Horizon. For the last year, she has been a member of the Women’s Writing Circle.  Candice is currently pursuing an interest in writing short stories and possibly a memoir.
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