Two years ago I was involved in an accident at work that left me in extreme pain and, because the accident involved young children, I suffered from panic attacks and constant anxiety. I was at an absolute low.
The pain didn't subside as I expected, and I was left struggling with everyday activities, and this was having a devastating impact on my family life. I was aware of the strong link between mental health and physical health and knew I needed a holistic approach that would attack the pain from all angles, not simply using medication. So I joined a ten week pain management course run at the Astley Ainslie in Edinburgh where I met a group of caring staff who understood and spoke openly about how pain impacts on work, relationships and mental health. I cried when I heard other people's stories and for the first time I didn't feel alone. The course changed my life and by using the range of strategies taught, I now live alongside my pain rather than inside it.
On the opening day of this year's Edinburgh Fringe, the writer and graphic artist and poet Lesley Traynor was challenged to produce a piece of art work that interpreted the first day of the festival.
Her intention? To photograph female poets that use fierce words to smash glass ceilings, blast barriers.
Our challenge? Bring a word that has empowered you. Bring a piece of poetry that speaks your truth.
Before I even got there I was excited. But I hadn't realised just how incredible the event was to be...
Just before 3pm, a group of female poets gathered in the cobbled street outside the Scottish Poetry Library and we were soon creating friendships and bonds. And as the church bells up and down the Royal Mile marked 3 o'clock, Lesley kicked the event off with a piece of her own work.
And her word?
One after another, the women bounded up to the front of the circle. They shouted their poems for passers by, and for the whole world to hear. Unashamed. Unrestricted. Unaccustomed to such freedom to express exactly what they wanted to say. The atmosphere was electric.
The poems were honest and powerful. The fierce words were cheered.
SPIRIT SISTERHOOD EQUALITY FIESTY
QUEEN MIRROR TRANSFORMATION
COCK-A-DOODLE-DO DERANGED POETESS
JOY J.F.D.I [Just Fucking Do It!] VOICE
Emma Mooney is a writer of Scottish contemporary fiction and is the author of A Beautiful Game. and Wings to Fly.