to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; to think of again.
This time last year I wrote a post that I argued over in my head for a long time. I sent it to a mate and asked her point of view. I worried that in writing a post about the bad it would negate the good. To remember is to relive and to relive is re traumatising.
There is power in remembering. It allows you to see where you have been as a way of predicting where you will go. To watch the hands of time and make sure they keep moving. In the chapters I submitted to my supervisor this week I wrote a section on the way in which counsellors sit with people, remember with them – as a way of finding new ways to cope in the future. We look to the past to see the ways that we craft little coping mechanisms to see if they might fit with what is happening now. We are all experts on our own experience.
Between research, parenting, relationships and writing I’m forced to remember over and over. Remember the snippets of joy families have shared with me when they have worked out new ways to survive catastrophic losses, remember the smiles of the day I birthed my babies, remember that to be truly in a relationship I have to remember my potential to fall back on old ways of doing things. I stop myself and start again. I remember to write in a way that is true and honest but doesn’t find me in the foetal position in the corner of the room.
Strangely enough every time I type corner it comes out as coroner. My work in the death field has ruined my touch typing skills.
In 2007 I got to spend a week at the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide. The lovely Micheal White spoke for 5 days about narrative therapy – about helping people reauthor their own lives. I think that I learnt a lot about the skills I might need in the counselling space but more importantly it gave me the power to reauthor my own life. Michael used to talk about ‘saying hello again’, about the bonds we could establish between people that are here and the people that are lost. A continuing bond that can occur even after a loss has happened.
I learnt that week to say hello again to myself. To remember that in all the connecting we do, we have to reconnect with ourselves.
In November, we remember.
What do you know about remembering?
Link up an old or new post below and then pop around and read the other posts x
image from here
I was reading an articleÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â while my boy slept on the backstory authors have in the process of writing a book. The little pieces that get you to the point where you are ready to begin the story-telling.
I can remember a few months back when I talked about people’s little bio’s. The little snippets of themselves they give in three sentences or less when they meet someone new. Im thinking of starting a new one as I discovered this week that someone typed into google ‘can a baby be born in space’ and found my blog. Astronaut is the new addition to my bio.
Both blogging and life often start with a backstory. A reason to explain where you are, how you arrived here and what you’ve got to say about it. I notice that most of the time when people start a blog its born out of something that happened to them that shapes them into the writer they are today. Some of the backstories come from places of trauma and sadness, of the need to overcome adversity or just an attempt to make meaning from their loss. Sometimes in the sharing of the backstory the unravelling of what brought them to that moment becomes clearer.
I was having a text chat with an old friend (because who has time to actually speak on the phone??) and we were talking about the over-sharing phenomenon that happens to certain people. Having a social work degree doesnt always extend to after business hours but the listening skills you develop mean that if someone is going to make a graphic disclosure about their backstory at the park, at the dinner party or waiting in line at the supermarket its going to be us. I dont have the heart to stop people even when Im late or tired or all full of other peoples stories. The backstory share is the challange of a kind face Im told.
I think when stuff happens that make life more difficult we tend to get frozen to that time. Its as if our lives become the before and then the after and the space in between becomes the material for the backstory that impacts on the stories we are telling now.
Does your backstory impact on the one you’re telling now? Do you share it with other people?
Ive been absent from the blogging roundabout for the last couple of weeks except for my post about pancakes. I began to worry that Id lost my capacity to sit and concentrate for longer than 12 seconds. Holidays with kids can do that – all I want to do is sleep, drink coffee, watch bad TV and hang by the pool…oh wait thats what Ive been doing!
I put it out to the twittersphere tonight that I was worried I had lost the will to blog and the lovely MarnieÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â came straight back telling me to write about my lost words. And so thats what Im doing.
Im in the last stages of a book on my holiday reading pile that explores theÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â trauma of peoples lives, fictionally. The story sounds incredibly familiar to me. I’m not sure if, as a social worker, Ive just been exposed to so many similarly horrific stories or if its been lifted from a real life story with just a bit of tweaking to make it non identifiable. Regardless of how it came about it makes me a little uncomfortable as it starts to cross that imaginary line between fiction and real life. Its isn’t escapism its stark realism.
In the early stages of my blog I latched on to some creative writing tasks to get my fingers moving. I guess I passed off these fictional attempts as just that – fiction – but to be honest most of them were true stories about me just crafted into small pieces that maybe someday could be glued together as the basis of a short book. A girl can dream.
In the telling of stories we share tiny bits of our soul. I have been able to share a lot of spaces with people as they tell me about parts of their lives – the intricate tapestries that brought them to where they are.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Yesterday I felt that I had stepped back in time. I met with some people that I had knew from my working world many moons ago. People who by trauma or misadventure got to meet me and in turn I got to sit with them when they heard the worst news any person could ever hear. They shared their story with me and they continue to do so. It sounds ironic but I guess having this blog makes me wary of sharing of stories from your own vault because each time a little piece escapes so does the anonymity and the solitude that comes from working through it in peace, in your head.
Some days I feel that all I am is one big repository of stories but maybe instead of thinking of it as a hindrance maybe I’m just one big book with lots of real stuff to tell.
Im hoping that this year gives me more chances to tell more, to hear more and learn more and I wonder how many more faces, names and stories will continue to leave little reminders on my soul. Only time can tell.
Are you a story teller or a story keeper?