Chapter 1: The Pearl

 Pearls are beautiful, right? Lustrous in a variety of sensually smooth shapes and glowing colours, pearls dignify necks with class and grace. Beautiful. On the outside. 

 Inside every pearl is a secret. Inside every pearl is pain. Every pearl, every single lovely pearl is formed out of pain or, perhaps more accurately, as a way to avoid pain. Every pearl tells a lie: everything is fine; in fact, it’s more than just fine—it’s spectacularly fine…

 It’s not natural (though not unusual) for oysters to harbour pearls. If given a choice, I imagine that oysters would choose not to grow pearls. Oysters form pearls in self-defense. At some point, a foreign substance enters the oyster, often when very young. This foreign substance could be a bit of grit, a parasite, or, as in the case of cultured, man-made pearls, a piece of another oyster is deliberately inserted into the tender flesh of the recipient. The oyster is powerless, helpless to protect itself from pain by ejecting the irritant. So it covers up. It layers a smooth material over the intruding irritant and goes on with life as best as it can.




The problem with the oyster’s creative covering and layering-up defense is that its healing efforts make the irritant larger. An oyster responds the only way it knows how—it adds another layer, further complicating its life and making the irritant more of a presence, though not as sharp. And so the beautiful pearl grows: initiated by intrusion, a reaction to pain, nurtured by its host’s self-protection. The oyster lives (survives) with the embedded pearl always present, always growing. It is not difficult to imagine that the oyster, over time, adapts to the presence of the pearl as if the pearl were a part of the oyster. The two are inseparable, moving through time until death do them part. Do you see how you and your efforts led me to think of oysters and pearls?

This book is for you if you have been hiding a secret, nurturing an ancient or recent harm, or using denial and pretence to protect yourself from pain. This book is for you if you have been "sexually" abused.