Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What Price Those Words?

The price of speaking what’s in your heart can be very costly. I have discovered this harsh reality over the years. I always thought I was a people-pleaser, not wanting to say or do anything that would offend someone else. I was raised that way. I remember going to BINGO games with my grandmother as a little girl and just hating the cigarette smoke blown in my face by the players who shared our table. My grandmother was quick to scold me when I would wave my hand to clear the air around me. The only time I recall her physically hitting me is when I talked back to her in front of a neighbor; that incident garnered me a sharp slap in the face.

Even as an adult I found it very difficult to speak up for myself, at least not to anyone’s face. The one place I have always been able to speak my truth and reveal what’s on my mind is when I write. That skill is one I treasure.

Writing for me is the greatest and most effective therapy. I believe that writing has allowed me to work through a grief that was denied me as the tragic events that took my parents from me happened when I was only a baby. I never had the opportunity to work through the effects of such a loss. When the obvious questions arose as I matured were not satisfactorily answered, I turned to the one source of comfort that was within my reach – I wrote about it.

At first I wrote only to myself in a journal that was intended for no one else’s eyes. Over time I found that I not only have become an adequate writer, I discovered that people enjoy what I write and want to hear my story. I fed on that acknowledgement and want to continue to write and share with others.

I am a good and passionate writer when I it comes from personal experience, when I reveal what’s in my heart. I have tried to tell my story from a fiction standpoint but I am not as good. My fiction writing is bland and stilted; it’s just not believable. And it just doesn’t flow from me like when I tap into my inner emotions; then my words can’t get out of my head and onto the paper fast enough.

What I have to say, however, is not always what others want to hear. There have been more times than I care to count where I have been shunned for sharing what is on my mind and in my heart. The problem is that I am not the only character in my story. I have long held back what is inside of me trying to get out. Over the years I have placed a toe into the water to test the reaction to publishing my story and have been scorned by those who would rather I keep my mouth shut, my feelings trapped inside, move forward and leave the past behind. I just can’t do that. It truly is a matter of survival for me.

My initial reaction to someone who gets upset at me for writing is “Oh my God, I’m in trouble.” It doesn’t matter that a piece of writing has released something inside of me, gives me profound joy and lifts a weight from my heart, offending someone causes me distress. I have learned, however, to work through those feelings and continue writing. I want to say I’m sorry to those who get mad at me for what I have to say. The truth is I do consider each and every word I write and, yet, I still displease someone.

I could offer all the apologies in the world but if I don’t stop writing I will not be forgiven. I’m afraid that in the 5th decade of my life I choose to follow this path and to see where it takes me.


Suzanne said...

Press on!

Lilly said...

Please never stop writing, what a gift you have. And what a story you have to tell.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

In her book, Bird by Burd, Anne Lamont has a brilliant line: "You don't have to cut with the sword of truth, you can point with it as well." I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing. But usually I go ahead and cut and piss people off.

miruspeg said...

Hello Lisa
Saw your face as a follower on my blog so ventured on over to get acquainted.

If you love writing, have a passion for writing it is a beautiful thing.
Talent is something that shouldn’t be wasted, so share it with the world.


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I would not worry about what people will think. If someone gets upset with what you write, it is likely because you have hit a sore spot -- and very likely that is good for them (although maybe less good for you if they send some venom your way). I just ignore the venom. Truth is truth, and if you try to please everyone, you often end up pleasing no one.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, if you allow your thoughts to be censored in any way, then you will never experience the release you are in search of.

A good writer tells the whole story, with nothing held back. Other people may see themselves in the pages of this blog and feel you have invaded their privacy, but if the story of your life is to be told, you must be true to your own feelings and experiences.

Freedom comes with a price.