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.


Jan Backes said...

Dear Candice,
You are such a courageous woman! Going through what you did with your heart surgery and the way you wrote your way through other portions of your life is magnificent. I can visualize your strength as I sit across from you and listen to you. Thank God for you,

LadyDi said...

Thank you Candice for just being you. Sometimes you lead the way and other times you take our hands and let us lead. I, for one, admire your honesty and willingness to do the tough stuff. I am so glad that you walked into my world. I'm holding on tight.

Mary Gottschalk said...

Candice ... beautifully expressed on an important theme, one that is at the core of the novel I'm working on ... how easily even a competent and capable woman can lose her self-esteem in a marriage that isn't working. But I know from my own marriage, that part of regaining that self-esteem is also accepting responsibility for what you "let happen" to you. I'll try to get your stories ....

Patty said...

Well said, Candice. I'm so glad to be on this journey with you. Your honesty and insight are a constant inspiration. And you write so well!

kathleen pooler said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt testimony, Candice. While everyone's story is unique, you have touched upon a universal theme for any woman who stays in a relationship at her own expense. Your courage to share your story so honestly will empower many women to do what it takes to get on the other side and that usually means facing the pain head-on , as you say so eloquently. Brava and Blessings!

Candice said...

Thank you for all of your encouraging words. It means the world to me.

Susan G. Weidener said...


Thank you for writing your stories for our anthology. They are very timely - now and always - for women. Thank you, too, for your honesty and intelligence in writing here about a very personal experience.

Michele Paiva said...

Sometimes with open heart surgery the heart must open and share it's feelings and pain, it's joy and love, because I can't imagine anything else other than true ethereal gifts being composed from you.... you rock sista!

Edda said...

You've bravely faced both physical and emotional traumas, dear Candice. You have met and surpassed both challenges. I witnessed your triumph on that rehab machine; I watched you blossom creatively and spiritually at our WWC sessions. Only one way for you now, dear Candice. Keep on going!

Unknown said...

Candice - You take life head-on and I find your example instructive! Thanks for your courage and candor. Your unflinching honesty is bound to embolden others and I hope you feel the power of your own words.So grateful for all you share of yourself! With admiration, Ginger