WELCOME, AND HAPPY ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH

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Poet Spotlight: SL Heaton on the Healing Power of Reaching Out Through Poetry

This month, I had the opportunity to speak with poet SL Heaton, who beautifully describes how her writing journey has evolved over the years, from a therapeutic outlet and hobby to an inspirational message of hope and encouragement for others to keep fighting. 

 

SL Heaton: “I first started writing as a hobby and because I enjoyed it so much. My writing has taken on new meaning in the last couple of years, during and after a traumatically abusive relationship. My experiences have taught me strength and resilience, as well as what it truly means to be a survivor. I cannot speak for all writers, but for myself, writing became therapeutic for me when I was able to put into words the things I was unable to say out loud.”

 

Heaton took her pain and channeled her experiences and trauma onto paper. While writing was always something she loved, it took on a new role during this time of her life. Poetry played an important part in her processing, and her poems became a bridge between her and others who were experiencing their own hardships:

 

SL Heaton: “It was these words I found resonated with so many people that had experienced, or are currently experiencing, similar traumatic situations. It is overwhelming at times, and I find it heartbreaking when people connect with such personal, traumatic experiences, but it also gave me a new sense of purpose for my writing, for myself, as well as those who connect with it. 

 

The knowledge that I am not on this journey alone helps with my healing to some degree, and I want to be able to return that gift. Once I started to write of survival and healing, I found the same connections, and that has now become my focus. I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share my truth through my words, the struggles as well as the triumphs, to provide some sense of comfort in the knowledge that others have traveled the same path, and possibly a little hope to carry with them on their journey toward healing.”

 

Heaton knows the power of connection and how poetry can bring hurting hearts together in profound ways. She writes about finding hope, strength, and resilience in even the most difficult journeys. But more than that, she writes as a way to reach out to others who may be hurting too. As she sheds light on her experiences and emotions, she shows others that it is okay for them to do the same, and that when they do, they’ll see that they are surrounded by others who understand. 

 

As she shares her story through poetry, Heaton does a beautiful job of presenting her words to her readers with honesty and intentionality. The words she wrote as she processed her pain are the very same words that are comforting others in theirs—and that is a tremendous gift to anyone who reads them.

 

“I have been 

many women

in my lifetime.

I have been the protector

and the provider,

I have been the lover

and the fighter,

but the woman within

I value the most,

will always be

the survivor.”