The process of writing Untangled had been an amazing experience. At first, I was writing as a way to incorporate another healing tool into my tool box. For me, using the keyboard as a way to write, instead of using paper and pencil, provided me with a way to get down my feelings, thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed. I was taught that for some people, using the keyboard was a way to incorporate bi-lateral stimulation. This method provided a way to create a bit of distance from the subject matter I was writing about. The first gift, was while writing I began to discern the difference between the truth vs my truth. Both are the same, but for me, being able to say My truth had a profound and healing impact on me.
I always wanted to paint, and since I have very little talent in that department, I use my writing as a paint brush to bring the visions I have in my head to life. In the introduction of Untangled, I talk about the scene I had in my head after I had processed my memories. Sitting against a brick wall, in what looked like a war-zone. Dirty, tired, bruised, sore, exhausted, but with a feeling of relief, of surviving. I had hope, in my vision and I knew that my past was indeed, Untangled. I could see that image clearly in my head and really wanted to paint it…so I wrote it down. The gift of writing.
I took a huge risk by writing and publishing my memoir. My entire life was focused on keeping quiet, not telling, protecting those I loved, or who loved me. It took a long time to understand that by me keeping quiet, I was actually protecting the people who hurt me in my life. Writing Untangled was a way to announce in a really big way, that I will not keep quiet any longer.
In the book, I talk about my past and some of the trauma I experienced. I write about how I repressed my memories and how I managed to raise a family and live a life where I was mistakenly convinced that my hidden past had no effect or impact on my life. The last part of the book is my healing journey. Untangled isn’t about naming names or the horrific specifics of what happened to me. I don’t feel people, especially those of us who have been through trauma need to read and be triggered by another’s specific tales of horror.
I do, however, explain in detail the feelings that went along with being hurt, traumatized, abandoned, neglected. I don’t shy away from feeling words such as fear, emptiness, loneliness, embarrassment, shame, etc. For me, during my healing process, I would sometimes get stuck on the actual event, and refuse to experience or talk about the accompanying feelings. The feelings that were stuck in my body, mind and spirit long after the traumatic experience had stopped. When I began to speak and write about the feelings, deepest pain, the sludge, my healing began to move forward.
One of the most humbling gifts of Untangled is that when people read the book, they find it is relatable. The things that happened to me, may not be relatable but the effects, the feelings, the sense of no-self is something that a lot of people experience, or they know and love someone who has experienced those things.
We all have feelings, but we may not all be able to articulate them, we may doubt or judge our feelings, or that terrible feeling of no one else could possibly understand this kind of emotional pain. The gift for me is that I had that terrible alone feeling, and now from the feedback and sales of the book, I see that I am indeed not alone. It’s a paradox…I’m so glad to be validated by relatability and so sad to be validated by relatability.
Every day, I still deal with the effects of my trauma and have to cope with some pretty disabling symptoms. Untangled, and my blog postings are written from a place of honesty. I want my book and my blog to touch others, provide a feeling of hope, but still be true to the pain and struggle of living with PTSD. I want to start and keep a conversation open and honest about living with the effects of trauma, other illness, or simply riding the waves of life.
The best gift of all so far is the ever growing community of this blogosphere. I love the connections I have made with people of all interests, from all over the world. The connections in the form of words, photos, recipes, humor, pain, sadness, over-the-moon happiness and everything in between. My healing journey is a work in progress. The connections from the readers of my book and blog and the respect and support I have for the blogs I follow and still discover has been an incredible and continuing gift of Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph.