“Rebekah, I think you are a writer.”
I laughed out loud. Partly due to the relief and release of having the validation that my writing and my way of thinking are valuable. Partly a nervous response to the inevitable anxiety and compulsion that would come with increasing my commitment to this hobby.
I’d been talking to my therapist about my tendency to have to think through things to the fullest before I felt free to move on. Whether it be a passionate feeling about something or a scene in a movie or a perplexing social interaction, I so easily get hung up and feel a sense of dis-ease when trying to move forward before I’ve completely processed/made peace with/understood the circumstances and feelings at hand. Is it about being in control? Is it about being artistic/creative/empathic? Do I have a slow processing speed? I don’t know the answer. But whatever it is, Jeff even agrees, I want to squeeze every last drop of juice from the fruit in my brain. I want to appreciate the full meaning and apply it to the best of my ability. I’d like to think that this, for the most part, is a strength that serves me in positive ways. Perhaps it makes me more open to understanding the experiences of others. Perhaps I more richly appreciate aspects of this life that many don’t. Maybe. But, I know that it is often a hindrance as I struggle to recognize my limits, relax and let go of things that don’t make sense to me.
“Rebekah, I think you are a writer.”
I’ve often mentioned to her that I want to write. But that I don’t. There’s this really difficult push and pull. I really want to write. I feel like so much has happened and that there are so many issues and observations and considerations on my mind that are like caged birds wanting to fly.
There’s this method of therapeutic intervention called narrative therapy. The whole idea is that patients will find comfort and relief in narrating or re-narrating one’s own story. To clarify your history into a somewhat linear story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, with main characters, auxiliary characters, themes, a climax, and a resolution. It’s probable that part of what I want from blogging is to create this type of narrative. But lately, (as in, the past year or so), I feel less and less like I understand how our day to day experiences fit into the story. I don’t quite know what they mean or where they are heading. And so I don’t write. I feel guilty writing very much without being able to tie it all up into a neat and tidy bow at the end. It’s hard to write without being able to scrape together some sort of optimism or gratitude. I really want people to read, but feel like my writing, if I were to do it, would be repetitive and depressing and self-serving.
But I want to put it all out there.
I’ve asked myself, why don’t I just journal? First off, I kept a journal when I was a pre-teen or junior higher. A pink one with a little lock on it. Much later (maybe just a year in those days), I came upon the journal and upon revisiting the pages, I was so disgusted with my words. I was immature and silly and boring. I was embarrassed. I threw it in the trash. I was pretty sure that my “deepest inner thoughts” were junk and that I was a terrible writer.
Fast forward two plus decades and I sure as hell don’t want to sit alone in my own thoughts. In fact, I do enough of that already, without keeping a journal. I want to be loved and I want to be understood and I want, somehow, to make meaning out of the trials and tribulations of my little life. For better or worse, I value the immediate feedback that I get from blogging. The sense that others know me a little better, that I’ve made good on my commitment to be vulnerable and transparent, and that I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings.
And then there’s the Swiss cheese. Since the beginning of my blog, I’ve tried to be as real as possible, though always eliminating a few topics for the sake of privacy, decorum and respect for those near to us. I never talk about how our parents cope with Keira and I don’t talk about finances or legal concerns. In the past year, it seems to me that these matters have blossomed and grown substantially. Increasingly, there are things I need to be especially sensitive and tactful about because of individuals and systems that are involved in our world.
It seems that the holes in this story have gotten so numerous and large that the cheese is no longer even snack worthy. Issues with therapists, clinics, nurses, and doctors are tricky to write about. Though I don’t name names, in this small community it is foreseeable that some readers would be able to identify the persons I mention. My political undertakings have left me extra sensitive about online persona. As a networking exercise, I “friended” many Idaho senators and representatives on Facebook, giving them direct access to my blog, which, in turn, could influence the effectiveness of my CMV-related endeavors. I also fear that sharing my story in a raw and vulnerable way could inadvertently have a negative effect on Jeff’s and my ministry at church.
Should I take the risk and share? Or keep it to myself? Somewhere in between?
Regardless, I fear that my therapist has awoken the beast. I was awake much of the night and awoke early this morning, narrating my life in my head. From experience, I know that this is what happens before a spurt of writing. Before an episode in which I produce a flood of writing with such automaticity and energy that I can’t stop until I’m done. In the end I feel exhausted, satisfied, and a wee bit anxious. I feel like I’ve just birthed an aspect of myself that is right there online for others to consume.
So here I am, starting with a piece about how and why it’s so difficult to write. But she may have created a monster. I’ve let loose and am considering about going back to write about the events of the past year. I’ve wondered whether I should write more about my own coming of age story, perhaps as part of a larger project, maybe a book, someday. I’ve begun collecting quotes and images and books and articles that speak any sort of new wisdom or intrigue me or that articulate specific thoughts and feelings more astutely than I can myself. I’ve even wondered whether eventually I’ll be contributing writing to the field of psychology. Perhaps someday, for their licensing exams, psychologists will have to memorize Hall’s Stages of Special Needs Parenting. Who knows? Thanks for the vote of confidence, Barbara.
In the meantime, bear with me?