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|I CAN WE CAN: Films to End Domestic Violence|
|WomenShelter of Long Beach|
|Barbara T. Smith Joins I CAN WE CAN|
|I CAN Journeys|
|LA Mayor Villaraigosa Joins I CAN WE CAN|
"I can forgive you, I can love you, I can give you a second chance, I can have compassion for you, I can forgive you, Mom!"
My mom suffered a childhood of abuse. Although my mom never hit me, she was verbally harsh and threatening. I felt as if I was living on the edge as a child. When I was 14 my mom gave up on life – we lost our home, our car, our dignity, and our mother-daughter relationship. I was left to take care of myself and was surrounded by drugs, alcohol, violence, and sex. There were nights when my mom didn’t know where I was or who I was with, or even if I had a place to sleep. While my situation was bad, my mother's had become even worse. She was in an abusive relationship and decided to fight back. She stabbed her boyfriend and was on the run from the law.
"The art was my window into my deepest feelings that I had been suppressing for five years. I am not a victim, I am a survivor. Now we are free, my mom and me."
Her violent action had made me feel even more distant from her and I wanted nothing to do with her. She abandoned me, and I didn’t care, or so I thought. When I attended the I Can: Requiem for I Can’t workshop as part of the Survivor's Art Circle, everything changed.
As I began journaling my “I Cant’s,” out of nowhere I wrote, “I can't forgive you. I can't get over how you ruined everything. I can't believe you let this happen to us." Suddenly I realized I was writing about my mom. The art brought this out of me, and I knew I was in a safe place to release these thoughts and emotions.
The art made me realize that I hadn’t forgiven my mom and that I was still holding onto my anger. I realized I could put a stop to this vicious cycle. I wrote my I CANs with a joyous and hopeful heart. I felt free.
Later that night I called my mom and we had a two-hour conversation. It was the longest, best, most open conversation we have had in five years. Our phone call ended in happy tears and we are both excited to get to know each other all over again. We are ready to build our relationship. The art was my window into my deepest feelings that I had been suppressing for five years. I am not a victim, I am a survivor. Now we are free, my mom and me.
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