Years ago, during my senior year of college, I imagined a giant womb shaped bag that I could climb into and zip myself up in. I pictured it ribbed like big corduroy and tear drop shaped. Thick and heavy and warm. It was to be a place of comfort and protection. I was raped during my freshman year of college. On Pearl Harbor day no less. I get a yearly reminder when Pearl Harbor is mentioned on the radio. The trauma of September 11th triggered memories of that night and I began to have intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and severe anxiety. That sketch I had made of the womb bag really swept me up and I knew I needed to create it. I found the weight and the textures of the fabrics to be a great comfort to me while was creating it. It gave me a place to stitch my paint and my grief and a comforting layer between me and those around me. I put several zippers, buttons and pants in the quilt. It was something I could control. Working through it was a process that led me deep into my grief, blame and pain. Through the process I found forgiveness that I needed desperately. As I worked through the piece, I began to want something bright and hopeful. The back of my womb bag became a collection of pinks and white pieced. From that darkness into light came several more sewn pieces- one celebrating girlhood and innocence, one about the comfort of grief "cradled in a tear" and one about rebirth. I felt like it was my Scarlet Letter. Something I was forced to carry with me that I made into something beautiful. Later I made a bed sized ocean-scape. In each, I have used buttons which still symbolize safety and security to me as well as a connection to my beloved grandmother and her collection of buttons. When I heard about the Monument Quilt project, I knew I was going to make a second red womb. This time I found what I was not able to in my first one. I was reminded of something a therapist said to me when I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel in my healing process. "The only way out of it is through it." How true that statement is. I made my quilt square into a self-portrait, a woman nearing the end of her journey as she saw the pink light at the end of her deep red tunnel. Working through that quilt brought up a lot of feelings I thought I had sorted through. It was cathartic as all of my others have been. Physical flashbacks still plague me but I refuse to let him get in the way of my intimacy and the connection I feel with my husband. Loving him has helped me to deepen my healing and trust. It has also helped me to see the positives of masculinity and men in general. What a gift he has given. For this project, I will be making a new narrative quilt about that trust, dependability, patience and nurturing that deep connection can bring. This one will be a large lotus flower with petals opening to allow trust and deep emotional intimacy.