Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you, thank you silence
– Alanis Morrissett
Oprah Winfrey has given us three of my favorite phrases: vajayjay, Ah ha, and woo woo. Vajayjay and Ah ha are fairly well known Oprahisms. Woo woo, however, is a bit new – at least it is to me.
Woo woo is all things that require faith, imagination and a letting go of preconceived notions. Woo woo is meditation and other dimensions and spirit guides. Woo woo is embodying non judgment and being wide open to the experience before you.
For three days last week, in the ballroom of the Beverley Hills Hilton where just a few months ago Oprah told the viewers of The Golden Globes that “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” I mainlined the woo woo.
The speakers and panelists of the She Recovers LA event were amazing. But it was the attendees – the women who had come to do what Tara Mohr described as “the ‘women’s work’ of our particular moment in history” – that kept the woo woo buzzing around me and through me and left me a little strung out in the best way possible.
We women took notes and posted selfies and gamely sat down for meals with strangers/not strangers. We asked questions, both of ourselves and of others. And we shared our stories and spoke our truth – many of us for the very first time.
But it was at the silent disco where “recovering out loud” came to life. I joined with a few hundred women – stone cold sober but high as a woo woo kite could take us – and we showed Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake exactly how it is done. In our beautiful gala gowns with blinking headsets as our crowns, we recovering women reclaimed our dignity and remembered our moves. It was simply gorgeous. We were simply gorgeous. We are simply gorgeous.
Alanis Morrisette’s song Thank You did not come through my headset channel that Saturday night, but the words of her song echoed in my mind in the days that followed as I relived the memory of so many women dancing together with unadulterated joy, released for the night (perhaps forever) from our individual battles with terror, disillusionment, frailty and consequence. How did such beautiful transformations happen? How did we all find each other? Where do we go from here?
“Thank you, thank you silence.”
The silence Alanis sings about is the kind that brings us to our knees; hoists recovery upon us; gives us the strength to move toward the woo woo and onto the dance floor. It is this silence that then becomes the very tool we use to break the silence: of shame, of addiction, of trauma.
All of it – the LA event, the disco, the women’s work of this particular moment – all of it is only possible because we women got silent and still. And then we got very, very loud.
Erin Wickersham is the managing editor and lead writer for the She Recovers blog. She lives in Virginia where she has been working on and blogging about recovery since 2013. After years of trying to do recovery alone, she discovered the beauty of connection and friendship through She Recovers in 2017. You can find her here and on IG @ewickersham.