“Heal not their wounds slightly” (superficially)
This directive to an ancient prophet has been the touchstone of my work with Gabriel Orion Marie. This is not a story about child abuse nor even of the process of overcoming its effects. It is an intimate, graphic account of one woman’s courage and integrity in plumbing the depths of her being in order to reclaim her life from the impact of sexual, violent, emotional, spiritual and mental abuse and neglect. She provides an unflinching portrayal of her journey to her innermost being as she penetrated the violation, the resulting woundedness and the paralyzing survival strategies that separated her from her true self.
Paradoxically, our natural revulsion at the inhumanity of such abuse makes us avert our eyes from its impact. But healing in depth demands full surrender to its reality. My commitment was to safeguard the sacred space within which Gabriel undertook her healing and to be present as her constant witness. I learned to avoid trying to rescue her from the intensity of her fear and pain and to trust the transformative healing power that seeks to emerge from beneath the most intense personal devastation.
Through this book the author extends a personal invitation to each of us to witness her rebirth and to claim our own wounds in order to discover the healing power that affirms our essential humanity. It has been a profound privilege to share this journey with her and I am honoured to introduce Gabriel Orion Marie to you and encourage you to witness her journey through her own words and images.
This painting is about what it felt like to be sold as a child prostitute.
On these countless trips to the hotels in other cities, my father would sell me to other men for oral sex for $5.00.
Sometimes it would be many men in one day until I was fainting and so sick to my stomach I would vomit.
Standing next to him while he made the transactions, listening to him say, “This ****sucker is no dime a dozen, she can suck the chrome off a bumper,” I felt the sickening need to make him proud of me. I became very good at what he sold me for.
I didn’t know what chrome or a bumper was, but I asked one of my brothers and he showed me on our car what they were. After that, sometimes I would sneak out to the garage and suck on the bumper to see if I really could suck the chrome off it. I was worried and upset that I couldn’t, and I didn’t dare tell my father or he would kill me for making a liar out of him.
His selling of me wounded and harmed my heart and mind and soul more than can ever be said. It poisoned my sense of self to my core and has required unbelievable courage to go to those places inside to listen, grieve, and heal. For years, it poisoned my understanding and my relationship with work, fatigue, and money.