My dad was an alcoholic, and my family was quite broken growing up. We never had therapy. We never even acknowledged our painful past.
When I was in the fourth grade, I wrote a story about a stifling patriarchal kingdom. Each royal character was portrayed by a member of my family – my mother was a beautiful queen, my brothers were knights and jesters, and my dad was the evil king who kept us locked in cages. We all had special talents that he ignored, but one day we each used our gifts to free ourselves from his control.
This story not only let me release my emotions, it won a young authors contest. My family was present when I read the story at my school’s auditorium. I believe this creative moment opened up a much-needed dialogue in our home, and, eventually, it helped us heal.