how i found her
Is it possible to love her? I wasn't so sure.
We don’t want the same things, she and I. She is bad and I am good. That's what I thought. But maybe she is misunderstood. Maybe she is here to help me realize that my feelings don’t define me. Because if they did, then I would be nothing more than a scared, defensive, insecure person who only sees her own shortcomings when she looks upon the abundance of others. Someone who makes herself the victim in every situation. That would be my story.
If she were all of me, I wouldn’t be able to separate those feelings from who I really am: the light, the love, the compassion that drives me. I have slowly found the value in observing her side of things -- the shadows and secrets. I watch how she reacts to her fears and I learn from her.
I thought she needed to be conquered, this hidden part of me, but that wasn’t it. She needed to be loved. This raw, messy, unfocused and untamed part of me needed to feel LOVED. That is how I began to get free.
Do you know how I found her?
I was writing my first book and I couldn’t find my voice. Tightly wound, I had much to say but I couldn’t find the words. After many starts and stops, I began writing in the third person, like I was talking about someone else. Suddenly it was easier for me to write the difficult truths -- like how I let men mistreat me and how hard it was to live with a mentally ill mother that I didn't know was mentally ill. By saying “she” instead of “I”, I was able to study myself objectively without the usual feelings of self-consciousness and shame.
It gave me the courage to let her speak and be seen in the light instead of keeping her and the wisdom she could offer hidden away in the dark.
Writing in the third person has been a pivotal technique in my writing journey. It offers a sense of detachment that makes it easier to admit difficult things. Detachment enables us to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings without believing they are all that we are. Detachment releases judgment and replaces it with curiosity.
As much as we fear what we’ll bump into in our darkest places, we also fear being blinded by our own light. But the truth is there, alive in our extremes.
With this in mind, I was able to use this third person technique in my first book to see myself more clearly and describe myself more honestly. The way my heart would burst from the simplest acts of human kindness. The way I could never give up, no matter how many times I wanted to. How my optimism always prevailed, even when I was too afraid to trust it. Dreams that were buried far beyond my reach became visible, as I described this "she" who was me.
When I wrote, I realized that deep within me, I had the audacity to believe that I was worthy, and that I had a purpose that was somehow tied to my struggles. I learned that I could actually live a fulfilling and meaningful life if I could find the courage to walk through these difficulties with my eyes wide open, instead of avoiding them and walking through life with my eyes stubbornly closed.
This is an excerpt from my next online writing workshop, Words That Heal, starting June 5. If this resonates with you, join us and learn more about self-discovery techniques and creative ways to heal in a compassionate and collaborative virtual environment. Registration and details are available here.