Yeah Maybe, No is finished. It has been finished for two months, but finishing is nebulous. I'm no longer tweaking anything is the project file, but I'm still talking about it, setting up screenings, and selling DVDs. My work has just shifted from a very inward, private process to an outward, public process.
I want to say that finishing this project was a triumphant affair, but that's not quite right. The truth is I pulled it along to the very end, driven by a sense of indebtedness to the people who funded me more than anything. I believe in this story, but sharing such a personal story about such a difficult topic took more out of me than I thought it would. Getting pregnant and having a baby while working on the film ground me down into a fine ash of burn out.
I thought about putting it off for another year, but there was always the tug. I could never be at peace while the story swirled around in me, still untold.
In many ways, it's beautiful how much the process of making this film parallels my healing process from my sexual assault. I was hesitant to start at first. I knew in my gut that it was the right thing to do, but I was terrified. Then it got hard, and I had to deal with uncomfortable truths. I wanted to quit, but I didn't because I could see that it was going somewhere that I needed to be. And all along, I was expecting a big moment at the end. When I was done with weekly therapy, I wished that there was a graduation or something to signify how much the work I did in that little room mattered. Instead, there was a quiet transition from doing one type of work to doing another.
I started my film after I finished regular therapy. I wanted to transform that personal pain into something that I felt comfortable sharing with the world. It was the project that was meant to help the stifled voice in my head find its way out. And in that sense, it's been a success. I found a raw and honest part of myself and investigated how it fits into larger patterns of sexual violence. Though the details are mine, I am part of a long tradition of violence. We've just started sharing the film, and already I have heard from people watching it that it has positively impacted their healing process.
At the outset of both therapy and the film, I thought that there would be a neat warp-up at the end. But I think work that changes you so much can never have a smooth edge in your life. Even though I'm done, I'll keep writing and reading about sexual violence. I'll keep sharing my film. Gradually, I'll do less direct work on it, but the gains will always be there. I've been transformed into someone who feels more confident speaking up and speaking out. I've found my voice, somewhere on the more personal side of the political. I have this story that I spent three years crafting that I can share with the world. I'm finally comfortable with the work.