Book review: Behind the Quiet, a book by poet Amie Moran
We occasionally have an opportunity to spotlight survivors who add their voice to ours in the fight against child abuse. By sharing stories of their own struggles and successes in the wake of a childhood marred by abuse and exploitation, adult survivors provide support to one another and remind us of the far-reaching impact of childhood trauma, the incredible transformative power of hope, and the rich opportunities for healing through compassion and love.
In her book of poetry, Behind the Quiet, child sexual abuse survivor Amie Moran explores some of her own challenges and the help she has found through poetry and therapy to come to terms with her inner life, her memories, and the feelings and choices she faces as an adult.
“I’ve always struggled to vocalize my thoughts and feelings,” she writes, “I swear there’s a disconnection between my mind, my heart and my mouth. But when I write, what I’m incapable of saying flows freely out.”
Here is one of her poems:
September 9, 2009
Life is life,
There’s nothing you can compare it to.
It comes as easily as it goes,
And we’re just along for the ride.
It’s amazing the things we can survive.
The pain that seemed never ending,
Slowly becomes a dull ache,
You realize it no longer hurts.
Then you experience unexpected joy,
Which makes everything seem right.
I wouldn’t trade a second of my life.
Each experience has made me the person I am today.
I love who I am today.
I’m far from perfect.
But I’m me,
Exactly the way I should be.
— Amie M. Moran in her book of poetry, Behind the Quiet
Moran explores themes of love and despondency, hope and heartache — with a distinctive, bold voice. We applaud her talent and also applaud her bravery.
Child abuse takes root in secrets and flourishes in the dark. By speaking out about her experience, Moran not only embraces her own healing process, but encourages other survivors to do likewise. At Childhelp, we believe in the power of expression to help victims transform into survivors and to help survivors understand how best to thrive. By lifting our voice — or paint brush, or camera lens, or pen, or dance partner — we can lift our own spirits as well as the spirits of those around us.
Speaking of dance partners and uplifting voices to prevent child abuse, Childhelp celebrity ambassador and dance champion Maksim Chmerkovskiy, “Maks” of Dancing with the Stars fame, recently offered his time to help with awareness and fundraising efforts, tweeting about his visit the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village in Beaumont and MCing the Orange County chapter’s 27th Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon. He is excited about the role of the arts in the healing process, and so are we.
Therapists who work with abuse survivors — including therapists who work for Childhelp — use expressive arts in both assessment and treatment. This includes visual arts, music, drama, literature, dance and movement, sandtray therapy and play. Imagination and creativity are tools every child has that can be used as a springboard to overcome barriers to healing.
Building communication through symbolic, non-verbal means helps overcome walls of silence and shame; engaging, playful experiences enrich the creative capacity of survivors to find constructive solutions; and tapping into valuable mind-body connections touches all aspects of healing — physical, mental, social, and spiritual.