Episode 2: Trauma

Listen to Episode 2 – Trauma – Featuring Host Stacey Gross
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“On June 3, 2014, my now-ex-husband was arrested for a slew of felony sex crimes.

At 9:30 that morning, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Child Predator Task Force knocked on my door, withdrew me from my home by the wrists, marched me across the alleyway we lived on into the parking lot of the bar next door, and placed me in the back of a police cruiser. From there, I watched, screaming my throat raw to stop, then, to be careful, and finally, to please just put their guns away as they swarmed inside to sweep the house with guns drawn.

Six feet from the front door, my twin two-year-old daughters stood in diapers, awestruck I’m sure.

Over the course of that afternoon, officers from the local police departments, local detectives, and task force agents turned my home inside out. Drawers were opened, contents spilled onto the floor and left. Pillows and blankets were thrown to the ground, the tread patterns from their boots clearly evident on the fabric.

My desk was disassembled. My phones were confiscated. And they would not tell me until about an hour into the whole ordeal what they were even there for, though I begged for information to no end. And to no avail. I’d come to understand later that they were telling me nothing because they wanted to find out exactly what I knew.

Unfortunately for them. I knew nothing, which frustrated everyone.”

In this episode, I go through my own story, and give the background that is the genesis of this project. My husband’s arrest wrecked me, and I spent way too long trying to turn that story into a book-length nonfiction project, which never got off the ground.

I realized, finally, that the story of my trauma was only the genesis of a larger project, and not an independent project in and of itself. I wanted to find a crossroads between creative nonfiction and journalism. I wanted to gather first-person narratives of motherhood, but more than that, I wanted to give my guests the same experience that I had when I worked as a columnist for my local newspaper.

Not only was I given a voice, in my column, to tell my story – to have someone bear witness to my experience – but I was given the gift of feedback. I had people tell me that they woke up every Saturday excited to read my story that week. I had one woman tell me that she mended a yearlong broken relationship with her daughter, and that she was getting a visit that afternoon from her grandson, who’d been estranged from her for a year because of the rift. After reading the column, she said, she reached out to her daughter and the two had made significant gains in repairing their relationship.

That was powerful.

It proved that my feelings about the power of story to connect, to heal, and to help us grow, is real. It reinforced the amount of energy and time I place on writing in my life.

But everyone deserves that opportunity.

Everyone deserves a platform and a moment to speak their piece, and everyone deserves to have someone give them the gift of an hour, to sit down and bear witness to their story.

But most importantly, I wanted the people who need to hear these stories – someone who needs to be in recovery but just needed the push that Emily Eggleston gave in her interview, or someone who’s going through emotional and psychological abuse and trauma who doesn’t know how to reach out for help, in the case of my episode – I wanted those people to be given a concrete example of why being vulnerable is good. And how it can be safe.

I’m really excited about every story I’ve already got on my agenda, more so than I could ever be about mine. But I wanted an Episode 0, something to give the background of the show, and so here it is.

I hope you enjoy it. If you did, share it with a friend you think might enjoy it too, and consider becoming a Patron on Patreon for as little as $1 per month.

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