Friday, June 8, 2012

Local Author Speaks about Overcoming Abuse

Katherine Mayfield, local author, will discuss her memoir at York Public Library (courtesy photo)

How can a person recover from the strain of coping with a dysfunctional family and create a more authentic life?  Award-winning local author Katherine Mayfield will answer this question and talk about her caregiving experience and her new memoir, “The Box of Daughter: Overcoming a Legacy of Emotional Abuse,” at the York Public Library on Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m.  Books will be available for purchase following the author’s presentation.
”We all live in boxes, letting ourselves be defined by the limits others place on us, as well as those we place on ourselves. The boxes keep us from living fully, from making choices that are right for us, and from experiencing our own strength and power,” Mayfield said. “I grew up in a dysfunctional family, with fundamentalist, emotionally abusive parents who were raised during the Depression. I lived in an emotional and mental box practically from birth, creating my life and myself based on who my parents wanted me to be. But over the years, I've climbed out of the box and discovered who I was meant to be. Life is just incredible, outside the box of daughter.”
“The Box of Daughter” is a compassionate, inspiring portrayal of Mayfield’s quest to raise her self-esteem and create a more authentic life after growing up in a dysfunctional family.  Entering therapy in her thirties in response to a divorce, she began to unravel the threads of dysfunction in her family of origin.  More than a decade later, armed with the truth about her family, Katherine sought to understand the challenges her parents faced and to recover from the trauma they inflicted on her, while simultaneously acting as the family caregiver for her parents in their late 80s and early 90s.  After the deaths of her parents in 2005 and 2008, she began an inspiring journey to wholeness—developing self-esteem, uncovering her true self, and finally creating a life that is truly her own.
Mayfield, a former actress who appeared off-Broadway and on the daytime drama “Guiding Light,” said she started journaling while she was acting in her 20’s. “My first book, “Smart Actors, Foolish Choices,” came out as I was leaving the business,” she said.
“In our generation, we were all programmed to be a certain way, especially women. Writing “Box of Daughter” was a catharsis. When my parents passed away, I felt an incredible freedom to tell the truth about dysfunctional families and the stuff that goes on behind closed doors.”
Mayfield wrote poems in the 1990’s when she was going through the process of recovery. It was one of those poems that gave her the title for her memoir. “The poems just kind of came out of a feeling or an insight. They were written somewhere in the cosmos; I was just the conduit,” she said. “The memoir is more from my own experience.”
Mayfield urges readers to make it to the conclusion of her memoir. “That’s the most important part – the process of overcoming the abuse. I want my readers to know there is hope.” Mayfield said she has about four more books in her, all on similar topics. One she envisions will be on bullying.
The York Public Library is located at 15 Long Sands Road in York and is open on Tuesdays from 10 to 7, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 to 5, and on Saturdays from 10 to 2.