Someone recently asked me, who hurt you?, after reading my poetry book, Do You Suffer? Ever since, this question has been percolating in my mind because it holds so much possibility and potential for negative and dangerous experiences, full of hurt and heartache. If you’ve read my poetry book, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t read my poetry book, here’s what I’m talking about…
Do You Suffer came from a place of deep despair, internalized and cold. I grew up in an aggressive and verbally abusive household. Anger was rarely directed towards me, but bounced off of my parents like a professional-level table tennis match, or even a full-sized tennis match. Always hitting, always serving, always moving, bouncing, jumping, screaming. Mom and step-dad, full of anger and aggression bouncing off one straight into the heart of the other. For me, it felt never-ending. Who could egg the other on worse? How far could it go?
To all of this, my child’s brain needed a way to cope. To avoid confrontation, aggression, rejection, admiration, or being noticed in any way at all, I simply turned off my emotional functioning. Simply buried any emotion, possessive or negative, into a little box that I threw into the deepest, dankest, hole of my heart and my spirit. This was how I found escape. This was how I coped with the aggression which surrounded me. If I could just be invisible, no one would ever get mad at me or yell at me, and I could just slink my way through life, unnoticed, disregarded, and safe. Trudging like so many slugs. Narrowly avoiding being stepped on and squashed. I moved into a deep dank hole, sealed edge to edge with a big rock that I thought I could not move.
So, that was how I coped with my childhood trauma, and that’s fine! That’s how my spirit needed to process my experience. Being born into all of the love in the cosmos, only to let it all slip and fade away because I allowed myself to be controlled by feelings of fear, inadequacy, guilt, and shame. I held onto the loss of universal love because I thought it would be easier to avoid the potential pain of losing it again. So, I let it be and lived in that hole under that rock for many, many, many years, and with all of those years of self-inflicted torment under my belt, I moved to Chicago.
I moved to Chicago and suddenly everything changed. The separation and self-neglect I had been living in for so long finally had hit a catalyst. I felt within myself and my spirit that something needed to change. That I had been living undisturbed in this hole for so long, that if I didn’t try to escape now, I may never leave. Doomed to live eternally unsatisfied and lacking the love that I now know I deserve. A spark or a glimmer of hope, maybe even a vision of the future.
Then, in a city I did not know, I was alone, and it became the ultimate freedom.
The only place to begin a journey is at the beginning, and if you’ve fallen into that hole, the only way out to climb is up.
I think that’s what happened. I moved and I think, for a moment, instead of looking inside of myself at every deficiency I could make up, I looked up, and, for a moment, I saw a sliver of light peek through and I realized I wasn’t doomed to suffer eternal. I saw the light and I knew this was my only shot. Like if I didn’t make my move now, I may simply collapse back within myself and continue the life I was living of anger and aggression and deficiency, so, for the first time in 15 years – I stood up.
This is the place Do You Suffer was born from. I didn’t begin to write these poems until I moved into my first apartment with 5 other people, where we were all at our emotional worst. This, though, was the first home I lived in with Frances. I consider Frances my brother. They are a marvelous poet and I consider their support entirely and completely is the reason I felt comfortable writing again.
This book came from me finally listening to what the voices in my head had to say. Finally, I came at myself from a new perspective and processed and comprehended what was going on within rather than turning a blind eye and feeling ashamed for simply existing.
All of this to say, this book came from a place of needing to process my emotional body. This book may be construed as a physical, external love story, but the truth of the matter is that every play performed on the page is a conflict and struggle within myself, that I, too, had often mistaken for external conflict, rather than wholely an internal struggle.
The truth of the matter is that, out of fear, out of deficiency, out of guilt, I developed and romanticized fantasies that existed solely within my head. This became a way of processing attraction that I was afraid to express. Every “you” mentioned in the book is an examination of myself, of my fear, of my pain, of my suffering.
In truth, this book is a love story. My work is an examination of my emotional healing journey, and the ultimate task of loving myself. Do You Suffer is simply the beginning of that story. Negative, deep, and tumultuous in honesty and expression of my emotional body.
The question who hurt you? is a beautifully profound one, and, though, I allude to external persons within the text, they were all simply projections of my own fear, deficiency, despair, and suffering that I had to work through in order to move on, and in order to feel the weight of self-inflicted suffering lift from my shoulders.
For the people I projected my own self-hatred and fear onto, I apologize. Through this processing and growth, I now understand that living within a fantasy escape, especially a romanticized one, is an entirely selfish way of living, while equally honoring and accepting that this was the path my soul had to take for my growth.
Who Hurt Me? Nobody outside of myself has the power to hurt me. This book is about the ways in which I hurt myself, via my past of repression, my fear of truth, and my romanticization of fantasies that I concocted within my mind.
I know this is powerful work. I saw the light peak through the cage that I built myself and I was able to fight my way up and outside. I published this work so I could release the energy that this book holds out into the world. Helping those who need a push towards finding their own light. You are not alone. Your journey will be difficult and painful and you may earn some scrapes and bruises along the way, but you are worthy of lifting that rock up and feeling the sunshine on your face again. In order to do that, you must start your own journey at the painful beginning, allowing yourself to feel the feelings you have been avoiding.
The only way out is through.
Do You Suffer? Focuses around a very specific time in my life, from 2018 – mid-2019, which was the most depressed I have ever been, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. If I didn’t allow myself to write this book, go through this depression, and express my emotions in this way, I would never have been able to move forward and work through them.
By no means am I completely healed, but I am worlds, and what feels like lifetimes away, from the person I was when I wrote this book, and that is the greatest treasure I could ever have gained from this experience.
My next book focuses on the rest of 2019, picking up where Do You Suffer? ends, and moves into the next phase of my emotional healing journey.
Thank you so much for your support and for being moved by my words.
— Guinevere Yoseyva
A little extra note:
By coincidence or fate, or whatever you believe in… after I wrote this book, I found out about astrocartography, and that my moon line goes straight down through Indiana. In astrology, the moon holds a ton of emotional energy by being a place of focus for the subconscious shadow. Working with the moon, or physically around your moon line is going to bring forth a catalyst for deep internal examination. Thus, bringing to the forefront the ways in which we were neglected in our childhoods, and healing whatever those wounds may be.
For me, Astrocartography has become a very interesting examination of how my fated move across the country to Chicago allowed me to finally do this emotional work that I had been putting off for so long. Check out this link if you’re interested in seeing your own astrocartography chart!
(Available on Astro.com via “Astro ClickTravel”)
I really love this resource and I think it’s an awesome way to examine how the places you live or visit hold different emotional experiences!!!
Thank you again for your energy and time. I love to hear from you, so if you have any questions about my spiritual healing journey or my art, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Instagram DM: @vortexgallerysedona