Twisted Roots

Twisted Roots

#Reverb15: Day 6

Looking at the thoughts and patterns that may be holding you back from living the life you want, trace back through the generations of your family and see if your beliefs originated generations ago.
In 2016, how can you bring healing to these patterns of thought that are holding you back?

To say I grew from twisted roots would be only the beginning of a long tale that involves many strange undercurrents and mysteries. I don’t mean twisted as in macabre but in a complicated weaving pattern that only hushed secrets and forgotten stories left under rugs can create.

There is an unfortunate heritage of rape and sexual assault that has been passed down from one generation to the other, easily passed along as if it were our brown hair our stubborn streaks. I can trace the victimization of women on my father’s side as far back to far too many greats. Traced all the way to me. Until me.

Until I began speaking up and out about my rape and sexual assault the generational burden weighed heavily in my blood. We were the masters of not rocking the boat, to keep our heads down and follow the rules. It was unspoken. It didn’t need it to be pointed out to me. I could feel it in my DNA. Woman after woman in my pedigree had already broken ground on this particular new world so that it was old neighborhood for me. Yet when I began to feel the stirring of discontent inside me I knew that it wasn’t all me.

When I began putting my book Tea and Madness together I felt my ancestors whispering to me that it was time to bring this generational pattern of victimization to an end. I could feel their urgency every time I told my story. Whenever I insist that women don’t belong to men, that women are individuals and not objects to be abused, I feel them begin to heal and become whole again.

Cycles don’t have to be an endless exercise in futile acceptance. I now have a son and daughter. I won’t allow them to become another twist in our family’s roots. By accepting my role as a survivor I am empowering my ancestors to become survivors through me. It’s time for them to let go of the shame that was forced on them so many years ago, to shake it off their leaves and straighten out their roots so that they might grow tall with the sun on their faces. I can give them that.


This prompt is part of the Reverb15 reflective writing challenge. You are welcome to dive in at any time! If you’re catching up, you can check out all prompts so far in the Reverb archive.

C. Streetlights
Latest posts by C. Streetlights (see all)

Published by C. Streetlights

I wrote and illustrated my first bestseller, "The Lovely Unicorn" in the second grade and I've been terrified of success ever since. Published by ShadowTeamsNYC and represented by Lisa Hagen Books

8 thoughts on “Twisted Roots”

  1. JyllianM says:

    It is hard to say it is good to read someone with a similar tale to my own, but in a way it is. I am proud of you for speaking up and calling things by their true names. It isn’t easy. I haven’t fully been able to yet, but I get closer. Your post gives me hope, thank you.

    1. You’re so welcome. This is the kind of comment that keeps that same hope alive in me. xo

  2. Corinne says:

    ” By accepting my role as a survivor I am empowering my ancestors to become survivors through me.” Such a powerful voice for a future free of violence and shame.

    1. Thank you. I am working hard to make sure the future is free of both <3

  3. Noel says:


  4. I love that you felt your ancestors whispering to you. I often feel as if my mom is whispering to me. And I just went to Amazon and purchased your book. I’m very interested in reading it.

    1. C. Streetlights says:

      I feel very close to my ancestors. They’ve been good to me. I hope you enjoy my book — please let me know if you do. (And even if you don’t!)

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