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
A year ago I sat down at my desk and began to type. Id been promising myself every New Years Eve that this would be the year that I’d take the leap and start to write. For the last 8 years before that I’d spent my time writing down the stories of other people. On some level I think I had waited for someone to ask me what was my story, I gave up waiting and created the platform for myself. If I genuinely believed that everyone had a story worth telling then I had to believe the same for myself.
A blog can change a lot in a year, I thought Id spend most of my time writing amazingly insightful pieces about life, the universe and me but what I found was that the more I shared the more I wanted to keep some of my universal truths silent. That baring your soul makes you feel more vulnerable some days and that a bad mood can swiftly pass but a blog post remains forever. (unless you delete it, but that’s beside the point). That was when I stumbled upon the idea of asking people about their spaces, where their gaps existed between themselves and other people. I actively sort people out who had a new perspective on life, one that I thought other people could benefit from.
Over the next 365 days my blog wasnt far from my mind. It shaped the way I viewed the world, every experience was a potential post, every heartbreak a possible share and every achieement a possible exploration. Ive worked out that not all of my stories are mine to share and Ive also found that the power of telling my story has released me from its stronghold. Onwards.
For all 22123 visitors over the last year, for the average Joe or Josephine that stayed for around 3 and a 1/2 minutes I say thank you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy days to read and comment…when I looked back over what I’d written I felt both proud and amazed that in between 2 chickens and 2 step-chickens I found the energy to tip tap away on my trusty mac. Perhaps Ive just been avoiding the washing up for a whole calendar year?
For those new to my blog, or those keen to know what stood out, the most popular posts about other people’s stories can be found here, here and here.
The ones where I laid my little heart on the line resonated here, here and here with people.
Thank you to my husband for reading and listening and for kissing me on top of the head, not using any words when he reads something he doesn’t know about me, thankyou to my new lovely friends at Sydney Writers Centre who push me to keep going, thankyou to my new friends in the online world and thanks to my brain – for trusting that what I thought might be worth jotting down.
Hip Hip Hooray
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?
Yes I know thats an oxymoron…
I read a lot of blogs and articles about weight loss and being the best you can be (in a non Oprah sense)…its just a topic thats interests me – places like Sarah Wilson, Diminishing Lucy and even the WW FB page let me dip my toe into the world of food where the world of food makesÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â you feel and look better.
When working with people experiencing sudden andÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â traumatic life changes, or even trauma’s thats creep up over a period of time, its fair to say that whatever brochures or pamphlets may to be thrust intoÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â hands in those moments will have a looking after yourselfÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â list attached. A few centuries ago when I was working as a social worker I scoffed at the inclusion of eating healthily on these lists. I kept thinking that people had enough on their plate without some bleeding heart telling them what to eat and what to do with their ‘me’ time. I just thought it was about surviving anyway you knew how (and if that meant scoffing chocolate secretly in the pantry then so be it).
But then a few years back I joined WW – it was scary and confronting and exhilarating all at the same time. I found that in the midst ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â my uncontrollable life controlling what I put in my mouth made me feel strong and powerful and in return I had the added bonus of feeling better – I slept better, I felt more comfortable in my own skin and I actually stopped and looked at myself rather than slinking away from the puffy reflection that had greeted me for a fair few years before that.
Part of getting older, being exposed to people’s intimate life experiences and actually feeling good about me made me rethink those scoffing moments when I read or write self help literature for people suffering a loss. Thinking about what you eat is just an extension of looking after yourself and in the midst of chaos and trauma maybe thats the one thing that can be controlled.
CanÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â food one of the controllable parts of our life…what are some of the others?