Archive for Therapeutic Writing

Spring Forward

jonquilsNature sprouts.

People go outside their homes, put on shorts, take off shirts, dig in dirt, jump in water, and feel gleeful in the renewed warmth.

After being cooped up, personal media shifts to in-person.  They look over fences, tender a wave, and greet on the street.  Maybe, just maybe, after their sequestration by winter weather, their eager attitude forces phrases from their mouths that they might not have let fly before.  Then, many stop cold, suddenly frozen in doubt.

Does the first flower of spring stop to assess the sunshine?  It just feels the warmth and grows toward it.  Does the grass quiver with the thought of the oncoming lawnmower, or rise high to the sky?  And does the Robin ponder long where to dig for the worm, or does the bird land and begin pecking?

Spring, the season of rebirth, signals Earth’s abundance, an unfolding of natural expression.

Do you feel inspired to shed fears, dig deeper, risk new relationships, and let more of your true self out?

Thaw and sprout.  Feel free as you reflect honestly with even just one someone new in a face2face relationship.

 

Closet Writing Sanctuary

closetwriter“When I get really stressed, about to boil over, I head toward my closet.”

Totally serious and willing to share, my friend, a woman I’d known since our teenage years, went on.

“You’ve seen my closet, right?  You saw the chair?”

Nope, just a big walk-in closet in a big house seriously packed with lots of clothes.

“I go in and sit in the dark so no one can find me.  It’s childlike, going in and hiding.   Soon, I’ll turn on the light, grab a stashed legal pad, and start writing.

Why do you do this?

“I don’t want to be mean to people.  If I hide, I can mellow out and deal with more stuff, like I’ve always done, without losing it.”

When did you start?

“I started 15 or 20 years ago.  I hit a level of ‘I can’t deal with things.’ Everybody calls me.  They think I can handle anything and will fix their problems. I started writing my whole life, wrote until my hand cramped.”

She explained as she moved forward, particular incidents surfaced that needed attention. One example was about a family issue, something said that made her feel like a bad mother, something I can attest is far from her nature.

“It was 20 years later, but writing allowed me to let it go.  It had hurt my feelings, but it wasn’t true.  When I put it on paper, I could see it and not take it personally.  It was just how it was said to me.”

How often do you read your writing?

“Sometimes I read it pretty quickly.  Sometimes I never do.  There’s no rhyme or reason.”

So are all the pads in your closet?

“They are in drawers under underwear, hidden in other closets, in filing cabinets, stuck behind things.”

Has anyone every found them and read them?

“My husband found something I’d wrote and read it.  I didn’t feel betrayed because my writing is honest.  It’s how I felt and who I am, plus I never hide anything from him.”

Do you ever destroy them?

“I’ve shredded some after a few days when I didn’t like the way they sounded.  Then I rewrote them more clearly.  The letters to people I never send.  I talk to them or let it go.”

She doesn’t call her writing journaling.  It’s more of a diary, but there’s many of them, none with lock and key.

What if you died and your writing was left behind?

“I wouldn’t care if they were read because there’s not anything bad, just actual things that happened and how I felt about it.  Sometimes I look at it and think ‘this is so stupid’ or ‘I should be in the looney bin for keeping this in my mind so long.’”

We laughed, an expression common to our relationship.

Is your writing sometimes a prayer?

“Probably sometimes, some of them maybe.  Sometimes it’s a way to let go of my anger and forgive.”

Then outfitted with peace through writing, her wise coping mechanism, she reemerges and connects, in the same way she did with me.

Disclaimer —  It’s true: writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.

Dear John, It’s Over #breakup

ibeer.bing.images

29 characters of a short-not-sweet tweet broke his heart.

Then she grinded it into the ground with detailed phrases.

Always late.  Earbuds in ears, you never listen.  Forgot bday.  Crappy friends.  Not best lover. #breakup

Not only did they go out to her hundreds of followers including their friends and families, but she hash-tagged it for anyone who wanted to follow her ‘breakup’ rant.  And she wouldn’t return his calls; she had a different audience she wanted to talk to.

Keep stinky dog.  I get DR table, bed, clothes Sat noon.  Be scarce.  Stop calling. #breakup

Her follower count climbed as John commiserated with his pals at the sports bar the next day.  Too many beers for 11:30am on a Saturday with no good game on.  The buds pretended to check scores while following the ex on twitter, shooting grimaces behind John’s back while they tried to console him.

“You’re too good for her, man.  I bet she’s messing around.”

“John, if she won’t take your calls, you should be tweeting.  Let her have it!  Crap, here’s another one!”

Dog bit my friend, ripped his jeans.  Lucky I didn’t kill her.  Trapped her on balcony.  #breakup

“When Shandra was fooling around on me, I figured it out after her phone kept breaking up on the road.  She never drove on the expressway, and that’s the only dead zone between our places.  Where was she going?”

“When I lived with Beth, she’s such a snoop that I just sent myself a sexy text from a girl’s phone at work.  Then I left my phone when I went in the next day, and Beth did the rest.  She was gone when I got back that night.  Trashed the place, but I never heard from her again.”

John emptied the pitcher.  “Maybe I should have tracked her more.”

They reinforced “Couldn’t hurt” and then “Too late now.”

Taking ipod dock you never use.  Leaving dishes.  #breakup

“Shoot, I remember way back before my first wife when I dated a gal who kept getting pages and left me to get to a phone.  Crazy, but I thought she was a dealer or something until a buddy showed me how easy it was for her to set off the beeper.”  He poured some beer on the old wound.  “Just an excuse to get away to find a hookup.  I wish she just could have told me.”

Broke shelves laughing.  Glass against wall.  Buy broom.  #breakup

Many operate intimate relationships by rules learned as seventh graders where they tell their friends to tell the other person their feelings, or they do something to make the other person break up with them so they don’t have to look bad.  Now with more ways to communicate, it’s easier.  But do these rules really work?

Is it time to play by new rules?  If you can say “I Love You” to someone in the passion of the moment, why is it so hard to tell them face-to-face that it’s time to move on?

Can you really express your character in 140 or less?  Do you owe the one you loved more than that?  And what do you owe yourself?

Outta here.  Place is all yours.  #breakup

Disclaimer:  It’s true: writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.

Dead Air or Well-fed Relationship?

mother-daughter

“Just the headlines!” Paige demanded, interrupting me with more brass than a marching band.

I’d known her game through years of friendship.  As a retired broadcaster, she gets impatient with lengthy descriptions.

“Okay, okay!”  I feigned defeat, waited for her reaction, then went right back to telling the same story, only faster.

She tilted her head back into her thick mane, pursed her lips and squinted her eyes in submission.  If uninterrupted, I knew I had her for another ninety seconds.

Too soon, her phone vibrated on the table like a half-dead locust.  She diverted her gaze as she picked it up.  That’s when I stopped.

“It’s Peri,” she said beginning to text her daughter, then, without looking up or missing a keystroke, she added, “I can multitask.  Continue.”

I didn’t, preferring to wait for her full attention.  Instead, I watched her focus on making a point in minimal words.  Those two text all the time, talk on the phone weekly, and keep a strong face-to-face relationship at least once per month.  Each mode of communication enhances the relationship.  Paige views texting like keeping an eye on the ticker crawling across the bottom of the news channel, whereas phone calls are news programming, and being together is the up-close-and-personal unedited interview.

Texting complete, Paige looked up with faux irritation.  “Go on.”

And I did.  It was my turn under the network lights.

That doesn’t happen for me all the time.  I think of Hal, a buddy who texts occasionally, but when I return it, especially if I ask a simple question about how he’s doing, there’s dead air.  When I see him, he doesn’t share much either.  He gives out soundbytes like Halloween candy, a sweet little tidbit before smiling and closing the door leaving me outside.

Another acquaintance from years ago, Fiona, loved talking on the phone, so I rarely saw her personally.  Her modus operandi for gathering and disseminating information was simple:  share  a little to break the ice, ask leading questions, and get the juiciest morsel.  When she heard a gossipy soundbyte, her mind raced to an internal rolodex to determine who to call while the person finished the story and asked for support.  Like what happened to Marla sharing her heartbreak. gossip.girl

“You’ll be fine,” Fiona snapped.

“But I hoped—“

“Someone’s beeping in.  Call you tomorrow.”  Fiona got what she wanted and disconnected.

When tomorrow came, Marla didn’t hear from Fiona, but heard her brutally edited story from someone she never would have told.  Marla felt manipulated and betrayed by Fiona’s over simplification, which added to her pain.

Where’s personal reflection and honest interaction?   Hal hides it away from everyone, maybe even from himself.  Fiona fakes it and feeds off it from a distance over the wire.  None of this is new in our culture of mass communication, ever-increasing information, and survival-mode summarization.  Still, our fondness for using electronic devices instead of having face-to-face contact where we can sense emotional reaction and read nonverbal communication leaves something big out of the conversation.  Many feel the loss.  Some mourn it.

Though my friend Paige is sometimes anxious to get to the point, she still wants to experience the journey.  She loves the interpersonal, is integral within a large community, as well as treats family and friends with equal care.  She’s laughs, cries and hugs it out with her wide circle.  Paige achieves this by balancing written and verbal communication, as well as by integrating text, social media, Skype, phone calls and personal contact to nurture rich, rewarding relationships in today’s hurried world.

Soundbytes are simply a tease.  Headlines are just an invitation.  With the important people in your life, do you want to nourish relationships with nibbles or five-course meals?  And what would you like to consume to feel nurtured and satisfied?

 

Disclaimer:  It’s true: writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.