voice on the inside


Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress truth. – Liu Xiaobo

Amendment XIX. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

We continued to explore women’s history month and notions of freedom this week through the poetry of poet/activist Audre Lorde, the words of activist, critic, and writer Liu Xiaobo, the story of suffragette Susan B. Anthony, and amendments of the constitution guaranteeing free speech and voting rights for women. We are no longer in election season but using writing as a tool for expression and self-exploration is a continuous political practice and exercise of our rights. We take the time to examine our thinking and tell our story as a method of connecting to one another as well as a way to link our needs as human to our rights as citizens. 

In the pieces below you’ll see the candid reflections of the writers inside. I will let their words speak for themselves.


My mother’s name is Dawn. 
She is the woman who inspires me.
Change and love is what she has shown me.
We don’t always get along.
We have hurt each other.
Finally she realizes what life is like without me,
after I had a mental breakdown that
almost killed me,
she stood up in front of cameras
on a path to defend me,
showing me she loves me.
She gave me hope,
shined a light on this depression that seems
to haunt me,
a little hope was all I need.
I was surprised she did all that she did for me.
She gave me hope that someone in this earth loves me.
I haven’t cut in two weeks.
She is my mother, my hero.
She saves me from the agony others watched drown me.
She is my mother,
I am her daughter.
No corrupt judge is going to keep us apart.
There is only one truth:
That I still belong to you!
For a relationship that was broken.
Proof all broken things heal in time!



making history



It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here. ~ James Baldwin, Collected Essays

Within each of us lives an Inner Patriarch that continues to carry the old patriarchal rules and values, many of which may have been taught us by our mothers. This Inner Patriarch controls us from the inside, not the outside. We do not necessarily know about him because he operates beyond the edges of our awareness. He rules from the shadows of our unconscious, which is why I sometimes call him the Shadow King. When we do not know about him, this Shadow King is our enemy. ~ Sidra Stone, The Shadow King

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate. ~ Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

This month is Women’s History Month. To talk about the stories of women inevitably brings us to the difficult stories in our writer’s current experience at CRCF and their experiences in the past. Our work, as writers, is to explore our thinking and our thinking is inextricably tied to our feelings. To think of the old stories is to feel them.

We wandered together this week on the page and through deepening layers of inner landscape. When we examine these layers, we can know what we want. This is difficult but the circle and that page are built to withstand these challenges.

In the pieces below, you will read the stories our writers shared with us and each other this week. They were not written easily but they are as much as part of our history as any headline.


The stories holding me back,
are memories of my past,
haunting my inner being,
making me emotional,
leaving me broken down, bleeding, pleading for mercy,
from this agony,
still I remain strong,
standing tall with a smile on my face like nothing,
was ever wrong,
I try so hard to let my past go,
and sometimes I do,
when the person who hurt me is sorry,
true to their word,
unfortunately so few are,
in time we shall see truth and lies.
What’s their story?
You know what i mean,
truth always reveals itself in the ending.
It’s okay. I’ve learned to love myself enough
and that will help me keep my head up.
Through this rough spot in my life,
the walls encasing me.
These bars on my windows.
These chains hanging tightly to my feet.
The people that micromanage me,
I have good things yet to come.
People who love me,
a beautiful boy of three who call me mommy,
love awaits me,
love is what binds us,
defines us
and molds us into who we’re meant to be! Continue reading