The Gifts of Writing a Memoir

If you have an itch or a yearning to write your memoir, I encourage you to go for it. Even if you are the only one who reads it, writing your story can bring unimaginable gifts.

Fifteen months ago, I anxiously waited for my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph to go live on Amazon. What a wonderful, unexpected and humbling time it has been.

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 me a long time to understand that by 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.

I literally went from telling no one but my therapist about my past, to throwing my arms up, and saying, okay….what the f**k, let’s go for it, and tell everyone at once. My husband and children read the book before it was released to the public, but close friends, acquaintances, and long-lost friends learned the truth of my past when they read the book.  Were there big reactions? You bet there were! Of course, they reacted. The biggest reaction was sadness that they didn’t know what was happening at the time and that feeling that if they knew, they could have helped. I get that reaction, I probably would have felt the same way upon hearing of a friend’s brutal past. But, they couldn’t have helped and it was imperative to my safety that I kept quiet. I used to feel guilty that I somehow hurt my friend’s feelings that I didn’t share my past, but I’ve learned to let go of that.

In the book, I talk about my life 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 mistakenly convinced myself, 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.  One of the most humbling gifts of Untangled is that when people read the book, they find it is relatable. The events 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 that no one else could possibly understand this kind of emotional pain. I lived with that terrible alone feeling until a year ago. Now from the feedback of the readers of Untangled, I know that I am not alone. Admittedly, the validation is a bit of a paradox…I’m so relieved to be validated by relatability and so sad to be validated by relatability.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. I began to notice that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud.  It provided distance from having to use my voice. What I discovered was that writing actually gave me a voice.  When I still couldn’t speak a truth, I found, if I read what I wrote out loud to my therapist, that I WAS speaking the truth. The bonus for me as that He didn’t freak out or go away. The gift of Untangled is that people also don’t freak out and run away. The book has been a tool for conversation.

I am frequently asked if I was afraid for my safety when I released the book?  To be honest, I felt a lot of fear for my safety and took as many precautions as I could, but in the end, I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to share what it looks like to live through unimaginable circumstances for 20 plus years, with continued threats to stay silent and still be determined to be live not just survive.  I knew that this was my truth, and by publishing my story and continue to talk about the effects of trauma and the resulting PTSD that no one could ever take my past, my truth away from me again.

There are so many gifts from Untangled. The gift of writing, the gift of remembering, the gift of a congruent past, the gift of trying to remove the stigma of living with an illness. I wouldn’t have started writing a blog if I hadn’t written my memoir. I was told to start a blog in order to market a book. I never, in my wildest dreams knew the world of connection that awaited me last October when I wrote my first post. Not only have I connected with survivors and mental health professionals, but I also have connected with poets, authors, thinkers, travelers, photographers, fun-loving lets blog for the heck of it people all over the world. I’m a better person because of all these connections. There are some people I’ve met that have changed my life. I’m grateful every day for my blog.

I’m not ready to leave Untangled behind. I’m excited every time someone purchases the book, I wish I could personally thank every person. I don’t ever take it for granted. I love getting reviews on Amazon, I love hearing the feedback. I hope that the readership grows each month. As I look to the future, collaborate on a writing project, and think about what direction I’m going next, I feel eternally grateful for writing my memoir. If you ever wanted to write your book, I encourage you to go for it. You never know what gifts await you, who comes into your life and what new doors open and new dreams emerge.




Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

56 thoughts on “The Gifts of Writing a Memoir

  1. Pingback: Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

  2. Thank You! I would be honored if you read my book. Good luck writing your memoir. I will read it when it comes out. If you have any questions about fear and baring your soul feel free to email me. Have a good weekend! Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now, I have to read your book. I’m going to add it to my list of “must-reads.” I also walk around with a past that only close family is aware of, and I am in the process of writing my memoirs but my progress is often halted for extended periods and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the fear of baring my soul. I’m not sure. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mandy

    Writing memoir requires one to finally understand they don’t have to worry the world will come crashing down on them after telling their story- it already has. I look forward to checking out your book, Alexis.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations for finding the courage to decide to write your book, and for getting it done. I know from my own experience how tough this can be, but you did it! I tell my memoir-writing students that the first rewards of memoir-writing are the gifts they give to themselves: learning about oneself, seeing things anew and gaining insights along the way which can lead to strength. Well done. Thanks to Lynette for reposting.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you Alexis for sharing your story – you are certainly a gift to all of us, I truly mean that. I find you inspiring and strong – I am fortunate to have found your blog. Thank you, happy day my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lynettedavis

    My absolute pleasure Alexis! Your blog encourages me to get start a personal blog about my writing my memoir (still not published) and my healing journey. Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lynettedavis

    “…was a way to announce in a really big way that I will not keep quiet any longer…” To me, this is the essence of writing memoir. Writing a memoir brings about many gifts but most of all – the gift of healing and moving on. Thank you for sharing this blog post. I’m going to re-bost it on my blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank You for your kind words. You have the perfect attitude about getting your book written. You will find people will read it and relate to your experiences. Good Luck when you publish. I’ll give your blog a follow, so I can see when it’s published. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for your honesty, courage and encouragement. I’m about to publish my own memoir, something that was difficult to write and conjured demons deep within because of how the subject matter was directly connected to my past. This book became a necessary tool to share, if only for the sake of others. Learning of their woes and focusing on that subject matter started a healing process of my own personal tragedies from long ago that in retrospect gave me the strength to take this task on. And even if no one reads my book, it still will not have been written in vain.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. fefeeley412

    You have NO IDEA how much I needed to read this. No IDEA! I am 12k words into my own Memoir and I’ve called it just that. A memoir. Jesus. I’d come onto WordPress to find a bit of my poetry I’d written – as I’d just finished up the last chapter in my own book – and bang, “Here’s why you need to write your own memoir.”
    Was that God? The Universe? Chance?
    All of the above?
    In my head I was asking myself, “is it worth it?”
    I just got my answer.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank You, I hope you like the book when you do read it. I love the honesty that courage is not the absence of fear. Thats really to bad that people feel they can criticize you. How frustrating! I wish you lots of good writing luck and support If you decide to move forward with your writing project. Its great you and your friend may be writing together. Built in support. Have a good weekend! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Shattered in Him

    I saved your book to my list. I am also waiting for Linda’s, book, too! 🙂

    So far, all I have managed is to bind what I have already shared in a blog, in addition a few other things I open up about. Already, I am facing criticism from the ones I wouldn’t expect it from and I am tempted to fold up shop on a writing project I am working on with a friend (she wants to share her journey, too). Anyway, today is a hard day. Some days are good, some days are better, and then some days, well, it is just hard.

    Congratulations on sharing your journey and for being so brave. It takes courage and we all know courage is not the absence of fear. I am looking forward to reading your book.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. When my friend Linda recommends a memoir, I take that recommendation to heart. Dear Alexis, thanks for writing and publishing your memoir. I’ll be back when I read that over the Christmas break. All the best, Marie

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Ann E. Laurie

    I loved your book and am so happy you wrote it. I’m glad you encourage others to write, too. I’m always looking for memoirs by people like us–who survived and are learning to thrive!!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Wow, thank You so much for reading Untangled and letting me know. Yes, Im extremely grateful for strength and resilience. Im so lucky to have the support that I have. You’re talking to one grateful person! Thanks for your support. 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Barbara

    I finished reading your memoir yesterday evening. It is a harrowing tale and I am so glad you managed to survive in a way that has led you to a happy family life. The quote “you are much stronger than you think you are” came to mind many times while I was reading. God Bless.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I have your book and I hope to read one day soon. When I do, I will blog about it, if ok with you? I will tag you in it when the time comes too, again if that is ok with you? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Thank you so much for your kind and generous offer. Now I have happy tears.

    I will be glad when Christmas is over. I love what Christmas represents, but some of my worst trauma memories happened around this time of year. This is when my mother tried to gas us all to death…

    But I am Ok. Right now, I am cuddled on the bed with the two sweet dogs we found starving on the street, a 20 lb Poodle and a 60 lb Pitbull. They are pure love.

    Liked by 5 people

  20. Thank You for reblogging this Linda. Im going to be one of your first readers when your book comes out. You are an inspirational survivor, that is for sure! I totally understand how hard and triggering it is to write it all down. My first few drafts were close to 90,000 words. I put it all out there. The final published book was about 70,000 words. You’ll find the things you need to keep private and the things you are okay sharing. It’s a dance sometimes. Im always an email away if you want some writing-buddy support. 💕

    Liked by 5 people

  21. Reblogged this on A Blog About Healing From PTSD and commented:
    At first, I was just going to leave a comment on this post by Alexis Rose, author of UNTANGLED. But then I decided to reblog her very encouraging post, instead.

    Here is my comment to Alexis:

    Like I’ve told you before, reading your memoir was a great inspiration to me, to finish writing my own real-life horror-to-healing story. But it’s so HARD. Sometimes, when I am writing about certain things, the memories make me want to scream. Then I set my work in progress aside, and shut down.

    You know what… I am going to read your memoir again. I need another “if Alexis Rose can do it, I can do it” shot in the arm.

    Thank you for this encouraging post! ❤ ❤ ❤

    (Comments are closed here, please visit the original blog. And please, if you haven't already done so, buy UNTANGLED and read it. Thank you for stopping by. God bless and Merry Christmas.)

    Liked by 4 people

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