I just finished reading a book called Write for Your Life to help me work through issues I have about my writing. The book was originally a seminar that the author used to host with his wife, but he turned it into a book so people who couldn’t make it to the seminar could still benefit. He also thought it might be a good way to sell the seminar. At this point he has stopped the seminars, so this was the only way I was getting the information. I found it extremely effective, in part, because the book encourages you to face your fears head on, because once you show them the light of day, they aren’t nearly as scary.
One of the exercises was to write down everything we wouldn’t want anyone else to know about ourselves. When we write, we shy away from going anywhere near those topics, lest anyone figure out that we are what we don’t want to admit. (I hope that made sense.) This was more effective at the seminar because people had to express these things to someone who is a relative stranger. They’d been interacting throughout the day, but after the seminar they were unlikely to see each other again.
I made the list, but sitting in my notebook, on a page no one else is going to see sort of seemed to defeat the purpose a little. So I’m doing what I do best – sharing more of myself on the internet than a lot of people care to read. However, I hope that once I put all of this out there, I won’t have anything to hide from anymore. I’ve debated about this for the last couple of hours, so I’m just plunging into the cold ass water, ripping off the Band Aid, [insert your own expression here].
Things I didn’t want anyone to know about me:
- My first sexual experience was rape.
- I’ve been the victim of domestic violence.
- There was a period of my life as an adult where I didn’t believe my parents loved me, and if they didn’t love me, who would?
- I’ve never really felt attractive.
- I’ve been severely depressed and suicidal (like had a plan for how to send good-bye emails on at time delay and the manner of suicide).
- I’ve often felt completely alone in my life.
- I didn’t felt good enough for pretty much anything most of my life.
- I usually feel pretty alone even though I have some amazing friends and family.
- I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but never thought I was good enough.
- I went to law school to gain my mother’s approval, not really because I was interested in going to law school.
- I think that if I’m good at something, it has to be because it’s easy to do, not because I’m good at it.
- I’ve always wanted a family of my own, and a big one, but worried I’d never have it.
- I also never thought I’d find someone who really got me and wanted to be with me. (SCRATCH THAT OFF! Love you, Mr. Lyndsy – even though he won’t read this.)
Anyway, now that they’re out there, I do feel a little better. I’ve worked through most of these issues, and what I haven’t, I am still working on it now. I don’t feel nearly as concerned about my looks as I used to, though I occasionally have some lapses. I do think this will help my writing and I hope I’m not shying away from anything else going forward.
If you’ve ever felt any of the things I listed, you’re clearly not alone. If you ever want to chat about them, we totally can.
Also, even if you don’t want to be a writer, the book is pretty good for working through your fears, though a lot of the exercises are things you can find elsewhere. If you want more details about the book, let me know!
(And yes, that’s an affiliate link up there.)