Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Saturday, 24 November 2012

First Steps...

In October I was surfing the internet looking for a creative writing/memoir workshops in my area. I wanted to really start working on my writing but knew I would need some help along the way. 

I did not really want to take a 2nd year college course as I would be required to write assignments I am not interested in. This is not to say I may not do it later but at this point in time  it is not what I am looking for. I was having no luck until I found a program at the University of British Columbia called The Booming Ground. This is a non-credit- yeah hoo!!!!- writer- mentorship program. You can choose poetry, fiction or non-fiction/memories.

It is a program in which a mentor will work with you one on one, and help guide you with your writing. Hot dam – this was better than what I was looking for! They will work with you to a maximum of 30, 000 words, which is about 5000 words a month.  I sent for some information, they sent it to me along with a application form. I filled out the form and they asked for a sample of my writing. So I send it off  into cyber space hoping that the universe will deliver it to where it is supposed to be.  It does and two weeks later I get confirmation that I have been accepted and they soon let me know who my mentor is.

I sent an e-mail to my mentor explaining my condition that some days I can function, some days I can’t and that it would really help me if she can think outside the box, and that it would be very helpful if she did not mark anything with red ink! Her reply was that she has no problem thinking outside the box and has worked with people who have done  memoirs and realizes  it can be a very difficult task.

So, my first assignment was to start writing from when I was diagnosed so that’s what I did. She told me not to worry about it as this submission was to allow  her to see what kind of writer I am, where my strengths and weakness are, what my writers voice is etc. So this month, off I go to my friends studio, (she has given me space to write)- and I start.

Well, actually it was not that straight forward!!!!

 I fretted for three nights about it, wondering how I was going to start, how it would sound, how to do it and wondering what the hell I got myself into.After all these years   of talking about it and people telling me I should do it  I wondered if I could really do it, and I found excuses not to go to the studio. But eventually I went and started to put words to paper, and last Friday the 23rd I sent in my first submission of 5054 words. Only 850, 000 more to go and my memoir will be done!

It has been a very interesting process. It has made me look back to that time when I thought my life was falling apart. A time where there was much confusion and pain for myself, my family and I thought I was going crazy. It has also reminded me how scary the “first steps” can be.

I think back to the fear and uncertainty I felt when I first started to get help. I didn’t know what the future held for me, and as terrified as I was I knew I needed to listen to my guts, to follow my intuition and step through those doors. After all, my intuition had kept me alive.

At the beginning of this month, I once again listened to my intuition and sat down and started to write. It was not as scary as starting therapy, but I still don’t know what my future holds,  if I will get published or if anyone would even want to read my book, but like my therapy, I know this is something I need to do.

All first steps can be scary. It may be our first physical step, the first time we ride a bike on our own, the first time we skate, do public speaking or our first step in getting help to heal. 

And yes, the first time I sat down to start to write my memoirs.  

Stepping into the unknown can be a scary and terrifying place to be, but unless we take that risk and step into it, we will miss so much. I am glad I took that risk. 

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that really helped me in the beginning of my healing journey.

Human beings , especially at an early age are amazingly resilient….Errors can be made and errors can be corrected; And tenderness, care and understanding can help bring about new beginnings at any age
June Singer

I send you all tenderness, care and understanding and wish you all new beginnings.
Be gentle with yourselves.

Those are my thoughts for today

Cheers and be well


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Happy Birthday To Me.....

Happy Birthday To Me….

From this post you can see it’s my birthday- I was born of Friday the 13th, I was not supposed to survive and my parents were told that if I did survive I would be a vegetable…as you can see I have been very tenacious the second I was born. Some would say stubborn. I read somewhere the difference between stubborn and tenacity- stubborn means I won’t, tenacity means I will! 

It has been an interesting Birthday. Last Friday I met a friend and we went for a walk and she treated me to lunch and gave me some wonderful hedgehog chocolates. Last night I had many birthday wishes from my ringette team- and chocolate and wonderful hugs.  This morning there were tons of e-mails and Facebook messages wishing me the best and to have a great day. I then went singing with a wonderful choir group- they serenaded me with an awesome happy birthday song, and many wonderful hugs, then my son took me out for lunch, then I met a dear friend for coffee and she surprised me with a wonderful Pavlova cake- it is to die for…she was up making it at 6:00 am this morning.

 I get home and there is an e-mail from my sister that says “To my beautiful, talented Sister....have a VERY happy birthday.  We wish you a year of all things beautiful and many giggles and happy surprises.” I have presents and my husband and I are going out for dinner. It’s been a wonderful day, and later this week I am meeting another friend for coffee to celebrate.

This is- once again- such a contrast from what I grew up with. Growing up- birthdays were never a big deal and I got the sense they were more stress as my mom worried about getting me a present. I learned early on not to mention an upcoming birthday or look forward to it  or celebrate it.

Needless to say, things are now different. In the choir I am in, -it’s called Letz Sing, and is a non-audition, non performing choir community where every voice is welcome. The philosophy is that everyone is inherently born with the ability to sing. One of the people in the choir is a retired psy nurse who has known me for some years and walked along beside me through many of my challenges. She told me to celebrate me. I think I will.

There have been times in the past where I felt no one cared about me, and it would not matter to anyone if I was around. I truly believed that no one would show up at my funeral. I now know people do care for me, and that I do make a difference in the world and it does matter that I am around. Not only do I know, I feel the connection with my family, friends and the world, and I can now accept all these wonderful hugs people give me.

Why am I telling you this? For all of you who have just started on your healing journey, or have stumbled and are trying to get on your feet, or feel alone and lost in the dark wondering if you have the energy to go on. For those of you who feel alone and feel as if you are  lost wondering through a foreign land, and   for all of you who are about to deal with some very tough issues and are afraid to look at what needs to be looked at. You can do it; you have survived it all and are still here. It is not an easy journey; I have stumbled and fallen  many times, I use to tell my psychiatrist that “I’ve been down to the black abyss of Hell and back so many times I should get frequent flyer points!”  As deep as the deepest despair I have felt during those times and wondered if I would make it, I now feel how wonderful life can be. Because of the work I have done, I now have connection with life and those in my life. It is a wonderful feeling. All the hard work is worth it, do not give up.

So I am going to “celebrate me!” And my birthday wish is that each and every one of you celebrate the very unique, wonderful person you are, celebrate your survival, your true self, your courage, your tenacity and your strength. No matter where you are in life, celebrate you! You are unique, you are special, and you do make a difference in the world. You may not believe that now, but persevere and time will show you that you are.

Tonight I will make a toast to me, and all of you who carry on!
Cheers and be well