Sunday, December 4, 2011

Writing Your Heart's Truth ~ The Thing You Think You Cannot Do...

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

Writing from my heart...

I've been having a wee bit of trouble with my book, or rather it's been having more than a wee bit of trouble with me. They taunt you, you know. You write your heart out with your stomach kind of going flibbity-jibbity because you know that while you are almost saying what you wanted to say you are somehow skirting the truth because:

a.) You're scared.

b.) What will people think?

c.) What if you offend someone and they don't like you anymore, even if they didn't really know you in the first place, or even more to the point, even if they've always known you and never liked you anyway.

d.) You're scared. But you're pretending like you're not. But it shows, like when your slip hangs down beneath the hem of your skirt and you keep twisting this way and that and trying to yank it up when you think no one is noticing (of course they are) but it always shows anyway. When a writer is scared and doesn't say what she was meant to say, what she knows she should say, that slip is hanging down in neon colors.

Of course there is a solution. You get online. You dilly-dally on Facebook, perhaps throw out a word or three on Twitter. Stare around the room. Play with the pugs. Finally, you decide to write a blog entry because at least its writing. Well, that's what I'm doing anyway. Just get it all out in the open, take the dang slip off, throw it across the room and go back to my book. Yes, this is the tact I've chosen. Is it working? It's too soon to tell, but since I am here doing this and the pugs are running between my knees like 3 little hooligans being boys as boys will and tossing toys and hollering and carrying on, it's at least taking my mind off of the fact that the last thing I wrote sounded so bizarre it terrified me. I thought, "Either no one will buy this book or they will cart me off to the loony bin." As no one has bought one of my numerous books in decades and I've already been in a loony bin (Okay, it was a nice hospital for a month after a nervous breakdown but that counts, doesn't it? I mean my room-mate was having electric shock therapy which scared the hoo-ha out of me.) You see, dark memories come up that you don't know what to do with when you are writing a book.

I've tried the, "Oh, I've had decades of therapy and I'm dealing with my past and I'm so much better I will encourage people by writing about the fact that we can live through trauma and go on to have wonderful lives." thing Well, it's not that that's not true, and it is a message I want to get across, but I wanted to skip over the elephants in the room and not write about the abuse, and all of the things that led up to me being me today, good, bad, wonky and otherwise. All of it had to happen, you see, or I wouldn't be me as I am today and as odd as I do seem to most people I'm quite happy with who I am now. As happy as one can be.

I'm fully aware that you can't stay mucking about in the past and ever live fully in the present, but you also can't deny it or hide it or the full picture can't be appreciated. I can't show you how I've healed and have any impact if I don't tell you the truth about how I was wounded. And not just the abuse. Throw in a little thing, perhaps, like finding your biological mother at 26 simply to find out if there are any medical issues you needed to worry about for your children -- I had a 3 year old and a 6 month old at the time -- and we were very discreet in the search and I swore I didn't want a mother, I had a mother, I simply wanted information for the sake of my children, but she threatened to kill me, tried to sue me, and, well, let's just say it wasn't the storybook ending that adopted children long for when they are in that, "If I only found my real mother she would love me and take me away from all of this." Not so much. You know there are things like that that I can throw in, but this is the first time I have ever even mentioned this last part publicly. I am far past the fear and the sorrow, that was more than half my lifetime ago now, I just feel sadness, for her, and for all of our tender gentle wounded selves that soldier on as best we can against a tide of people who on top of whatever we went through are hell-bent on giving us grief about being or not being any and everything they think we should or shouldn't be. No, I'm done with that, and that's why I'm writing this book. I want to help others who have had lives that for whatever reason held them back from the full and satisfying and even glorious life that we can live. Notice, I did not say perfect. There is no perfect, but there is good. We can live a good life. I am.

I must do the thing I thought I couldn't do. Some of it is not pretty. None of it comes from a place of seeking pity, nor because I can't stop wallowing about in it like a pig in the mud because it feels good to have an excuse to hide from life (been there, done that) but I'm a big girl now and if I don't own my past I will never really get over it. I keep inching up to the precipice, looking over it, and running back from my life thinking that surely I can just write a book about gardening or pugs or something that I know a fair amount about and that would be fun, but that's not who I am as a writer and it's not why I'm here. Writing is my spiritual path. There, I've said it. I've written all kinds of things here about my spiritual journeying and everything I've written is true, but if we are going to truly live our path we are sooner or later going to have to have a long dark night of the soul as St. John of the Cross did, and we are going to have to face our demons in our darkest hour. I know to my core that I am meant to live a life of service. I also know that as a borderline agoraphobic that the way I will achieve that is not by going out into the world. There's only one way to do it and it is best summed up in the words of William Butler Yeats in his poem, "A Coat."

"I made myself a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
in walking naked."

I have been trying to write this book for years, fully clothed, hiding the dark places, the lumps and the bumps and the scary, hidden things. And I shall not, now, go into the specific details of the abuse. It isn't necessary, it isn't the kind of writer that I am, I truly am no longer in that place, and yet I, like any other survivor, am marked by it. We don't tell our story without telling our truth. For such a long time, like Yeats, who is one of my most beloved poets for only one poem that I long ago memorized and sing in my sleep as if it is a long ago song from a time when I could really voice my experience and in tears and on my knees offer my humble story to you. I no longer need be on my knees. The tears are long dried. I am healed in so many ways I cannot tell you, and yet I wear the scars of a warrior, but I am a warrior with a tender heart, and the only reason I will tell my story is so that other survivors can know that it is possible to survive, and, in our own way, and in trying to please and appease no other, no matter how much we genuinely love them and care about their feelings, we must be fully who we are, and love as we can, and give what we have to offer, in whatever way that manifests. To try to live otherwise is to never live a full life, never be able to give to the world that which we have to give, never really be able to help others in the way we so dearly wish to do. And so I will go back to my book, and I will tell you my story. I will do the thing I thought I could not do. It is time, and I am ready.

Tonight I will leave you with my favorite poem, the one that lives in my heart and speaks to my feelings more closely than anything else I have ever read. I leave you with these words, I send you my love, and I will return to my pen and paper...

"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams."

~ William Butler Yeats ~


Gemel said...

Forget what others may think, do it for you, the words are inside of you waiting to be unleashed, let them loose, writing with a heart full of love and belief of achieving your dream♥

Maitri said...

Thank you so much Gemel. You just don't know what that means to me. Today I am having what Douglas Adams called "A Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul." These things come in my life and they will pass. But your comment this morning helped me more than you will ever know and I don't know how to thank you. What a blessing you are to me this morning.

God Bless, and much love...


Maitri said...

To anyone reading this I most sincerely apologize if you have written me a beautiful, kind response in the past and I have not answered. I read and cherish them all, but it has been a couple of years of just hanging on and moving forward when sometimes writing the entry took all that I had. I promise that I will be diligent about answering every dear person that comments now. I know how much it means. I hope you will forgive me and this will be changing now.

Love and blessings to each and every one of you...


Debora said...

Hello Maitri!

I just stumbled onto your blog...well, not really, for as we know, we never really stumble onto anything, do we? I can relate to this's hard to tell the truth for so many reasons. I admire your candor.

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