Do you know who are to me?
Let me backtrack a little. I’m a writer with a memoir underway –– a memoir of evangelical fundamentalism and church-sanctioned domestic violence–– and as such, I spend a lot of time in the religious trauma community and talking to readers who think about spiritual ideas, feminism, healing and living in whole-hearted joy.
Maybe that’s how we know one another. Maybe that’s how you found me. I crave time with like-minds, connection, and communication. I’m not a “teacher” or a “coach,” although when one writes memoir, many times the writer fits those roles. I’m more of a come-alongside kind of soul.
I love the line from Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese, that reads, “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”
I like sharing. Raising a glass over wooden tables bedazzled with vibrant food, or pouring goblets of garnet wine near an outdoor fire. Since Covid, sharing’s meant hashtags on Instagram and Facebook groups around common interests. I’ve bought a TON of books. I call it “supporting other authors” and it is, but essentially, their pages represent something deeper: these books by writers of like minds represent fellowship.
Fellowship: friendly association with those who share one’s interests. Companionship, comradeship.
For years, this word strained from the weight evangelism placed on its presence and denial. Lost fellowship is a threat to keep believers in line. Your community is severed when you leave the church, and how much of your world you tied into it will impact how alienated you’ll become. Lost fellowship is what happens too, when children become teenagers and the mommy-meetups dry up. Lost fellowship is the price paid when a lack of confidence prevents you from joining other artists or attending a writers group.
“Fellowship” resonated tenderly with me and I shied away from using it from a broken place, a part of me that wants healing.
As my memoir nears publication, I’ve had time to envision what impact I’d like for it to have, and what I want my writing footprint to look like.
“Connection and conversation” is my goal. Fellowship is what that’s called. To me, you are a fellow companion, a comrade over shared interests. Tell me about life, yours, and I will tell you about mine. That’s how I want to spend my life after trauma, and you’re who I’d like to spend it with. We’re all just walking each other home.