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.