By Ms. Susanne Kappler (Jackson)February 21, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The military spouse group "Her War Her Voice" is continuing to build and grow its identity on Fort Jackson. Melissa Seligman, who co-founded the group in 2009 at Fort Riley, Kan. with fellow Army wife Christina Piper, said "identity will be the group's theme this year.
"It seems to be a common theme that women come here from various duty stations and get somewhat lost in the mix," Seligman said. "I'm not sure if that stems from not having the 'family' mentality that often emerges on deployable posts, or if it is because many women have time to think here without the imminent fear of blackouts and dangerous missions."
This year's monthly sessions will focus on helping women rediscover who they are. Seligman invited instructors from various field to help the group accomplish that. In addition, a counselor will be present during each session.
"Often, I find that many people outside of the military want to get involved and want to understand how they can impact and give back to the military," Seligman said. "I believe in forging those connections, and anyone who truly understands that these women are forces of sheer power and will work alongside them to help them achieve their full potential is someone I want to work with."
The next session, which is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday at the Family Readiness Center, will explore "the voice within." The session will be led by Cassie Premo Steele, a published poet and writing and creativity coach.
Premo Steele said the session will be "massage for your spirit."
"We will hear some poetry. We will get comfortable and quiet. We will write. We will create a shared space for each of us to journal and hear the wisdom of the voice within," Premo Steele said.
Participants will not be required to share any of their writings, she said. Seligman said that writing is an activity she has found helpful in her own struggles as a military wife.
"I want (participants) to feel and grasp the power of speaking and telling their story, even if it is only to a journal," Seligman said. "I would wager many of us are choking on our own words and stories because the fear of being ridiculed or told we are 'whining' suffocates us. We all want to be strong military spouses. And sometimes, telling what is hidden is terrifying. I can say, I have found speaking and writing to be the one way I learned to move forward. Once it is out, and it is in written form, new room is made within to begin to heal."
Premo Steele shared a similar sentiment.
"Writing is very powerful and connects us to our youngest selves," she said. "When we first learned to write our names as children, we were learning to be ourselves in the world -- make our mark. As women, though, we sometimes tend to make our mark by serving others, and we don't give much time to listening to that small, still inner voice. This workshop is an opportunity to do that."
She said that writing is an accessible way of expression, even during busy times.
"We forget how little it takes to replenish ourselves," she said. "We think, 'Oh, I don't have time for that!' But in an hour you can really rebalance yourself again. And then you realize, 'Hey, I might have 10 minutes while the rice boils. Let me get out my journal.' We start to gain clarity about how to take better care of ourselves in easy ways."
To learn more about Her War Her Voice and upcoming meetings, visit www.facebook. com/HerWarHerVoice.