I had a chance to interview Pat LaPointe, author and editor of “The Woman I’ve Become,” an anthology of women who have overcome toxic relationships. The stories in the anthology are an inspiration and I highly recommend the book.
D. We’ll start with the obvious question: What inspired you to create this anthology?
P. There were several significant reasons for creating this anthology. First, during my years of counseling with women, I found that some form of abuse often created the issues/pathology with which they presented. Second, and relatedly, for most, meeting with a counselor was the first time in which they could “voice” their abuse. Third, although society has become increasingly more open to acknowledging and addressing abuse, there was a lack of material available that was presented from the individual victim/survivors perspective. Fourth, it was my intent to offer stories from women who have been in toxic relationships and survived/thrived as inspiration for those still struggling with the aftermath of these relationships.
D. The anthology has a story for just about every relationship possible in a woman’s life. How difficult was the process of finding a story for every woman?
P. I received nearly one hundred submissions. I used several factors in deciding which material would be used: demographics such as age, geographical location, education and writing experience. This allowed me to include women ages 17 to 80, from the
and Canada ,
and those that were published writers as well as those who had never submitted
their writing for publication. I also
wanted to include essays that showed varying degrees of self empowerment
achieved by these women. That is, some
have discovered empowerment some time ago and told of how they were
thriving. Others had just begun their
journey to self empowerment. Also in
keeping with my intention for these women to share their “voices,” I did
minimal editing to their work. South Africa
D. As I read your anthology, I found myself taking time out for self-examination, wondering what affect my actions may have on others. When you created this anthology, what did you hope to give your readers?
P. I would have to say encouragement, hope, acknowledgement and inspiration. Encouragement for those who may not yet begun their journeys. Hope for those who worry that they may never be able to let go of the toxic relationships. Acknowledgement of those who have journeyed this far, and inspiration to all women who find themselves in difficult situations.
D. The most uplifting stories for me were those that honored the people who helped the women to see themselves as worth something. Were you surprised to receive submissions of that nature?
P. Not really. There are so many ways in which a woman becomes who she was meant to be, being assisted in this process is just one of these ways. Even when a woman gained self empowerment with the help of another, it was her readiness and willingness to embark on this journey that created an environment in which change could occur.
D. The stories in your anthology are very inspiring. What would you tell someone who is hesitant to read the book because they expect it to be full of “poor me” stories?
P. If I had only included stories of their abuses, I would agree that they would appear to the reader as “poor me.” But, the purpose was not to be voyeurs into troubled lives. As a result the stories reflect positive attitudes, behavior and life changes.