Thank You Letters from The Telling proceeds recipients

Dear Marta,

We can’t thank you enough for all you have done to help our agency and the girls we serve. I have heard so many rave reviews of the April 10th production and Stacey credits its success to all your hard work and sincere passion. You have done an amazing job “giving voice” to such an important segment of our population and further empowering their recovery!

Thank you so much and we wish the very best in future endeavors.

-Pam Mesmer, Executive Director of Brookwood Florida

Dear Marta,

On behalf of Brookwood, thank you very much for forwarding a check in the amount of $3,637.50, as part of the proceeds from the recent performance of “The Telling.” I understand the performance was exceptionally done and very moving. Your check will help to support our Brookwood East program for abused and neglected teen girls.

Thank you for all that you do to bring attention to the plight of abused and neglected girls and their recovery process that continues well into adulthood. We wish you and your non-profit organization much success in all future endeavors.

-Diane Sunden, Research and Development Manager of Brookwood Florida

Brookwood is the recipient of proceeds raised from ticket sales to The Telling on April 10, 2011.

Testimonials for The Telling:

Telling my story and dancing my story was so huge for me! It was scary, I felt anxious, but watching my video I also felt a lot of compassion for my inner little girl, a lot of strength for myself for being vulnerable, and sadness that I hid myself in shame for so long. This performance was the first time I cried while performing, and it was also the first time I really felt the energy of the audience receiving the piece. That was an overwhelming experience for me, and I loved it because I felt so connected to the art and to Lara and Tracee while I was dancing. Usually when I’m dancing/performing, I am stepping into a world that doesn’t really exist for me. But this performance I was sharing a piece of myself, and I was being myself. It felt amazing! That connectedness is something I want to expand on and always have with me when I am dancing.

I have this fear that I won’t be able to find a man that will love all parts of me and accept all parts of me, even the traumatized parts. Hearing the husbands that stood up and spoke was proof; “Hey, there is no reason why you can’t have a loving man by your side.” After the show one of camera men told me he thought I was beautiful and amazing. And it felt so good and warm to hear that and feel that after he saw a video of me talk about something so traumatic and horrible!

It was a loving and warm experience to have different people come up to me and share their reactions to my piece. I had a young mother tell me that she felt angry that my mother didn’t believe me, which was validating. And the Brookwood girls, since this performance was for them, I felt happy that they liked it and connected with it and that one of them felt comfortable enough to hug me and tell me that she related to my story. That was actually a dream come true for me, because I always wanted to connect with teens on a deeper level, and because of you, Marta, I was able to do that! Thank you, for helping a piece of my dream come true. And the woman who spoke about feeling invisible, it was reassuring to talk to her as well. I intellectually know that I’m not the only one who feels invisible, but it felt validating and I felt warm to have this woman tell me that because of her trauma she feels invisible sometimes.

I know I have a lot of work to do on myself, a lot of growing, a lot of nurturing. But to see all these women, expressing themselves, embracing their imperfections, fighting to love themselves and others was so powerful and encouraging to me. It’s bringing tears to my eyes thinking about it!

I am so grateful to you for involving me in your vision, I feel so honored and blessed. Thank you.

-Marie Davis, Dancer and Cast Member in The Telling

Being a part of The Telling was an amazing, transformative, and therapeutic experience for me on so many levels. I have been in so much shame about the things I have gone through in my life and doing this has broken through some of that shame. What I went through is a part of who I am now and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. The abuse I went through as a child put in my head that I was not worth being loved and the different abuses I went through as a teenager reinforced that. I have been acting and behaving as if I don’t deserve love because of what happened to me. Through working with Marta and doing The Telling I was able to see that. Also seeing those men who loved, respected and supported their wives despite the abuse made me see that I can be loved despite what happened. I do deserve it. It helped me take it in on another level.

This performance was a great experience for me in regards to being around other women. I got to bond with such amazing and wonderful women. I got to experience women in a positive way for the first time in a very long time. I am forever grateful for that!

I am realizing things about myself everyday from this performance. Certain parts of me are blossoming only to reveal another layer of emotions and wounds that I have not been aware of and it’s great! Now, I can work on it. My life and behavior are making more sense to me.

-Melissa Michel, Cast Member in The Telling

Participating in The Telling was a life changing experience. After more than forty years, my secret was out, I shared my truth! A very liberating experience indeed! The process of getting to my truth was a journey, and participating in The Telling was the catalyst for releasing the shame that I kept suppressed for so many years. My abuse was my biggest secret, no one could know yet the results of my abuse showed up everywhere. Now, I no longer hide my abuse, the secret is out, the shame has been released, and the healing has begun!

-Rita Munoz, Cast Member in The Telling

Being a part of The Telling was very much like landing on a mysterious island and not being sure what would exist, and what I might see. I came into this with blinders on, and slowly as the cover lifted, what was revealed to me was a beautiful place of honest communication, laughter, tears, healing, and love, love, love and more love. The emotional creature inside me was nourished, the insecurities squashed like an ugly spider, and the artist allowed to paint with brilliant bright colors. The feminine was home, at last.

The Telling was a game changer, no, a life changer. It opened my heart up to relationships with others, and most importantly the relationship and care I give to myself.

-Tracee Kafer, Cast Member in The Telling

The Heart of a Woman book and Heart of a Woman workshops have brought women together to share their stories, connect and heal:

Heart of a Woman Book:

Marion Woodman’s handwritten note about Heart of a Woman:

Dear Marta Luzim,

Many thanks for the gift of your excellent book. I have slowly taken time to examine every page. It is a most interesting coming together of content and spirit.

I am moved by the way your work and mine have spoken together. Please thank your other female artists. I honor your passion and mission and your gift to women’s organizations.

Very much love in Her service,

Marion Woodman

The book has caused me to reflect. While gazing upon page thirteen I realized that I must grieve the loss of myself and the loss of my son before I can begin to reinvent. I look at the picture of the quiet, still, frozen woman and I realize that I am frozen too, “frozen in time” — a time when I decided that I would take care of myself, I wouldn’t ask for anything from anyone, ever. I would protect myself because the feelings I had as a young girl were just too painful to feel, so I became frozen and rigid and defended. This book is a reflection of all who read it – each of us reflecting on our own journeys. Contemplating the messages on each of the beautifully illustrated pages causes me to turn inward and reflect on my life. Heart of a Woman is a masterpiece! I strongly recommend Heart of a Woman as a catalyst for change through deep reflection and contemplation.

– Rita M.

Heart of a Woman is a truly amazing book. Gorgeous artwork, combined with powerful language, speak to a depth of a woman’s experience that rarely gets told so clearly. I find myself picking it up again and again, to read truths I need to hear. As a woman who has survived my own journey of trauma and silence, as well as a woman who has worked with many women who lost their voice due to trauma, I am constantly searching for truth about women’s lives. Rarely do I see the truth told as it is in this book. This is a book to treasure for its beauty: the beauty of the powerful artwork, and the beauty of its truth about a woman’s journey to finding her voice. I celebrate and cherish Heart of a Woman!

– Debora S.

I love the amazing artwork that captures the feeling in the words on the pages. I also kept getting surprised that the [quotes in the book were] thoughts and feelings that I thought I was the only one who could possibly have felt. It made me feel like I was not alone.

– Lily M.

Heart of a Woman Workshops:

I had the honor of attending the first Heart of a Woman Workshop on November 3rd.  I was so impressed with the mission of Give Her A Voice and its founder, Marta Luzim.  Marta has spent a lifetime preparing this gift she is now offering to women of all ages and cultural backgrounds. I learned that, while there were women of all backgrounds, races and nationalities, we all had similar experiences of abuse and/or trauma. Give Her A Voice is the pathway to healing Trauma and Abuse by giving women everywhere the courage to share and be in fellowship with one another!  The workshop gave each of us the opportunity to look at how our past experiences of abuse and/or trauma are still influencing our lives today.  When the world is ready, the teacher will come – the world is ready and the teacher has come!

– Rita M

The workshop was very powerful for me. Through hearing the voices of other women and their pain, it really caused me to look at my own pain and to feel how deep it is. It was great to be in a room where we could all voice our inner fears and wounds. To be in that environment was healing as well as eye-opening. That same night I came home and went through some of the exercises from the workshop packet that were based on the book. I wasn’t afraid or neglectful of my pain that night like I usually am. I didn’t just cry and share and run home and forget what had happened, I had a thirst for myself and for healing. Thank you. The workshop was a great experience.

– Melissa M.

The workshop was AMAZING, I can’t thank you enough for doing this work, for connecting with women, allowing the opportunity for other women to connect and work together, and for providing the forum, space and safety for women to do so in a way that is healing. I am hungry for the connection between healing and art.

– Andrea T.

In the Heart of a Woman workshop, I enjoyed the sharing that made me feel closer to women. It was humbling to realize that so many women are working to heal themselves with the help of others. Marta was a great facilitator who set the stage for us to feel safe to share innermost feelings about ourselves. It was great and I look forward to meeting again.

– Lily M.

Give Her A Voice Interviews:

Give Her A Voice gave me a voice! You would think someone who is so conspicuous and vocal in the community and who has spent all her life writing and expressing, wouldn’t need one. But as I sat down with Marta to make my video, I discovered there were parts of myself that I had never expressed…not even to myself. What I have learned is that even if you are, on the surface, a successful, contented woman, there is still a history of pain, there are still unaddressed needs and all of us have some sort of little girl in us, crying out to be heard. Give Her A Voice is for all women, everywhere.

– Joyce Sweeney

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