I didn’t realize the healing power of storytelling until later in my life. I came from a long line of prize winning secret keepers. Both my mother and my grandmother, who used to scatter misinformation in their recollections just to throw me off track. Growing up I learned to deal with things on my own, silently. For years I forged ahead feeling different, alone, and isolated – never realizing there was a limitless well of womanly wisdom just waiting for me.
I started searching for someone, anyone, who felt the same way. Life started to place courageous, open-hearted women on my path. At a time when I was feeling empty and looking for answers, their stories and the wisdom that naturally followed gave me a sense of courage and camaraderie that I had never known. I couldn’t get enough!
With time, I started opening up to other women in my tribe, exposing pieces of myself that I’d grown accustomed to hiding. It was liberating allowing them to see these imperfect parts of myself, bringing hidden hurts out into the sunlight where they could be warmed and healed. I discovered when I was vulnerable, it created a safe space where other women felt secure enough to do the same. This exchange brought the healing to a whole new level, as we shared, learned, and moved forward together.
S.H.E. was born in that spirit of sisterhood.
This book and website will be an ongoing community collection of women of women honoring us with their stories.
This experience of writing the book has been a life-changing adventure that has blessed me with countless new friendships along the way. Often after meeting a kindred spirit and hearing her story she would casually comment, “I have a friend you must meet – you should hear her story!” Through an organic course of introductions and meetings, this collection of twenty-five women came together.
I was able to sit down personally with each woman and we chatted, sometimes over the course of several days. For some, the stories came easily, their battle scars worn proudly for the world to see. Others took more time to warm up; they kept their secrets closely guarded the way life often teaches us to. I’ve presented their stories, garnered from hours of interviews and many follow up emails, as if they were speaking directly to the reader, thus including her more intimately in the sacred circle of trust that was formed.
The circle expanded even further with the addition of a unique, individualized work of art for each woman featured in the book. Twenty-five passionate artists, who were mindfully paired with their warrior women based on similar interests or struggles, have graciously created a one of a kind piece inspired by their woman. In many cases, they were able to speak to them personally and form a connection of their own. In instances where the subject matter was too sensitive or language was a barrier, the artist was provided with her story and some images to work from.
S.H.E. has become a community of fifty women! I am so proud to bring them together with this book. They have brought healing and happiness to my heart and I know they will do the same for the women who read their stories. My hope is that this book will encourage warriors of every age to start sharing and learning from each other. It is the beginning of a conversation – and I hope it will inspire the reader to continue that conversation and reap the benefits that I know will come with it.
This is more than a few stories bound between two covers. It is a heartfelt movement of women. As we open up and embrace our pain with our strength we will all become better, happier, and stronger together.