I’m Sarah Mariann Martland. I am a cis-gender woman from North-West England, who uses she/her pronouns (and is open to they/them).
I live in a body that has known chronic, complex and severe trauma, including physical, sexual and emotional abuses since early childhood. I live with Complex-PTSD, along with other chronic physical and mental illnesses. And, while these experiences continue to unfold and shape who I am, in recent years I have been finding new and wonderful and painful ways to stay in my body and not want/need to leave it as often as I once did. I choose to stay again and again, and while I do not always love or accept the body I live in, I am learning a trust and an awareness of it like I have never known, which has been revolutionary to my life and my experience here as human.
I am deeply committed to unraveling the layers of my trauma, regulating/soothing my nervous system, staying with myself; healing that which can be healed and holding that which can only be held. I am always interested and open to hearing other people’s personal experiences of trauma and life, and I do not accept unwanted advice on how to become ‘healed’ or ‘enlightened’ or ‘better’ for myself personally, unless I specifically ask for or seek out the information for myself. As such, anything offered here in terms of resources or articles of an educational nature are offered in the full belief that you know you best and you are welcome to take from this project what works for you and leave the rest. Truly.
As I believe I know me best, just as you know you best. I trust in your knowing of you and ask you to trust in my knowing of me.
I hold a First Class BA(Hons) degree in Events/Business Management which indirectly led to my work in the non-profit sector before a change in direction in which I moved into support roles within the charities I worked for, moving away from my degree topic (and finding these roles, in supporting other people during times of crisis or need, were where I found my deepest sense of motivation and satisfaction). Most recently I worked for Victim Support, with people who have experienced a range of traumas, abuses and hate crimes in supporting them to navigate their complex, individual needs, and prior to that worked supporting unpaid carers in similar ways. All of which provided certain trainings and a depth of experience I treasure and call upon to this day and through this project. I was unable to work due to (ongoing) chronic illness for some time, which has been a challenge, everyday, not least because I loved my work. And, for this project, I ask for patience if there are times I am not able to be as present as I would like to be, such is the nature of living with these conditions.
So while I bring to this project my experience in supporting others with trauma, in various capacities, and a commitment to continued, lifelong learning on trauma and how it impacts us in our bodies and relationally as humans, I come here to this space, first and foremost, as human and as a person deeply impacted by trauma, believing community and connection to be such important and often missing pieces in our experiences in navigating life with trauma.
I am also a writer, a creative, an artist, a human who (most often) writes into the hard spaces of life. Writing and art has saved my life, repeatedly, and I am a huge advocate for their power. I’ve also had the honour to have articles published on websites including Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Women for One, Rebelle Society, The Manifest-Station and The Mighty. My poetry has also been featured in various online journal and anthologies (see website for more details).
I am a feminist and I do not accept racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, misogynistic, victim-blaming, fat-shaming, dehumanising (list not exhaustive) language and behaviours in my spaces. This space does not tolerate discrimination of any person, nor will I allow others to question another person’s identity here.
I am deeply and continuously in the process of unraveling my own cultural learnings, biases and privileges within myself (because we all have these some of these in us having lived in the cultures and societies we live in, to one degree or another). And I am listening and learning every day, more and more, to the experiences of those with different life and trauma experiences to me, for example to people of colour and transgender humans. And I believe my feelings and comfort are worth less than another’s humanity and safety.
I believe people when they tell me their experience in this life and I will sit in my own discomfort to learn and unlearn, know and unknow and do differently where different is needed.
I believe representation matters and, while I am grateful to and will sometimes share the work of the many people (most often historically white men) in the mainstream mental health/trauma world whose research and work in this field have been vital to our current understandings of these topics, I hope to continuously seek out and amplify the often under-represented voices of humans with a range of identities, including those of victims/survivors of trauma themselves.
I do not apologise for any of the above. Nor is any of this open for debate. These are some of the parts of my humanity where I create and live from and, for the most part, I will continue writing into the hard spaces of this life for as long as I can draw breath.
I have been dreaming up and working towards this project for some years now and have longed for a dedicated space for voices (in words and art) on trauma and its complex intersections with being human, along with continually updated resources for those navigating these areas of life. I am beyond excited to finally be realising and creating this and I am so grateful to all the people who have supported me in reaching this place, as I couldn’t have got here alone. I look forward to collaborating more as the project moves forward. And watch this space for new developments in the months and years to come (I have big dreams for this space!).