Last Updated on: October 24th, 2017
THIS IS A ‘TRUE TALES TUESDAYS’ POST
Most of this post was intended to be a guest post on The Gift Of Writing, but Claire didn’t think it fit her audience well, so I revised it and am sharing it with you since it is a true account of my views and experiences and also fits quite nicely with my True Tales Tuesdays posts! Besides, it was already written, and I didn’t want it to sit, unread, on my computer when it was meant to be read by others! 😉 Although it mentions a few personal things, it also speaks of a tragic event I endured – being raped.
I was raped when I was a virgin, two months before I turned 15. It took me years to deal with this, since I was devastated and didn’t speak about it for years. When I finally sought counselling, I learned several coping strategies. Writing was one of them.
I have always found writing to be therapeutic. Whenever I have to make a major decision, I make a pros/cons list and weigh my options. If my emotions are running rampant, or my thoughts are turbulent, I write out what I’m feeling and thinking. I get an indescribable sense of satisfaction from the mere act of taking pen to paper – even though we live in a technological era where computers and word processors are so much easier to use, especially in the editing process.
Editing, however, is not my focus when I’m writing. The act of writing is. I have written poetry, letters, short stories, essays, lists, and descriptive paragraphs, all by hand, the “old-fashioned” way, on paper, with a pen. Although I have written many things for others, most of my personal writing is never seen by anyone but me. Often my words and my feelings are so personal that I don’t want to share them with others. Perhaps it’s safer that way; if I share them, I’m subject to ridicule. Yet, if I don’t share them, no one knows what I have to say. I think many writers feel this way.
Of course, on the flip side, a possible positive consequence of sharing is receiving praise. I love praise, but don’t always think that I deserve it. I think this is because I have had so many negative experiences in my life, and have viewed myself as a failure in certain areas. One of these areas is parenting. I was not the best mother I could have been, although I tried hard to be perfect. My son ended up moving out when he was nineteen, just to get away from me. Of course, at the time, I was in a “dark” period of my life, and he wanted to teach me a lesson. He did, too, even though it took me a year or so to learn. Since my near-miss with death, I have regained contact with with him, and we now have a good relationship again. We’ve been working on it for the past year, and have made huge strides! He now tells me he loves me; I didn’t hear those words for a long time. I know that I am on the right track again, finally. We are both relieved.
I have been a single mother for the majority of my son’s life. I have always had issues with perfectionism and control. The first stemmed from being raised as the eldest of three children who was continually told that I had to “set an example for your brother and sister.” The second resulted from being raped when I was a teenager. I was a virgin when I was raped, two months before I turned fifteen. Being a single mother meant that I had to do everything, alone, with no help from anyone else. It was tough, too. The other day, my son I had a 3.5-hour discussion on whether or not he had a good childhood. He assured me he did. But his teen years were not the best.
Being vulnerable is something that most of us shy away from and avoid at all costs. I’m a bit different; I embrace it. Writing honestly is not something most of us do, but should, especially as a therapeutic aid. Accepting our shortcomings and loving ourselves for who we are is often difficult but can be extremely rewarding. Exposing our vulnerabilities is the first step we can take on our road to healing; I learned this when I was completing workbook exercises using The Courage To Heal books, which help a person deal with the effects of being sexually abused. Because writing and being honest with myself were two major components in my healing process, I was able to overcome many of the obstacles I was facing and find some semblance of closure in my life.
Writing has always been a huge part of my life. My mom taught me to write – literally, in cursive – before I started school. I can recall getting into trouble in the first grade when my six-year-old peers were learning to print. I was writing within one line, and they were struggling to print within two! I am forever indebted to my mother for teaching me to love words, to enjoy stringing them together, and to appreciate the creativity that lives within me. Crafting poetry is also something I do in my attempts to understand and deal with the waves of intense emotions that wash over me from time to time. Many of these are negative, and include devastation, anger, confusion, hatred, and self-pity. I have been involved with drugs, drinking, prostitution, and gambling in different periods of my life. Sometimes they overlapped with one another, too. However, I was able to turn my life around, and have been free of these things for the last few years. Pretty much, anyway.
Coping with the after-effects of abuse through writing has lessened my pain. Simply by writing down what I am feeling and thinking, I am able to dissect why I am feeling the way that I’m feeling and what caused me to feel that way. Years after being raped, I can now talk about it openly. After remaining silent for many years afterward, this is a huge stride for me. I should say that I did, eventually, seek professional counseling; it was my psychologist who taught me some of the coping strategies I use to deal with the pain. She also recommended The Courage To Heal books. These books consist of a regular book that includes stories from many different people who have experienced abuse and a workbook that is comprised of a variety of exercises for a survivor of abuse to complete. Many involve writing.
Using writing as a form of therapy makes sense for me since I love writing. However, even for those who don’t love writing as much as I do, it can make a world of difference. I highly recommend using writing as a therapeutic tool.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever used writing this way? Share your experiences in the comment section, please – if you feel comfortable enough to do so.
I’m here to listen.