I’ve Said My Piece, Now What?

Following on from yesterday’s post.

Phew, I’ve said my piece. I prayed for guidance on what to say to my friend, and I was pleased with what I said. Because I had had a practice run first, and because of the post I wrote on yesterday’s blog, my head and heart were clear.

My fear of rejection meant that I had some thoughts saying that I didn’t want the friendship anyway, but I know that isn’t true. I spoke kindly, said how I felt about something that they had done, how it left an imbalance in the friendship, and I suggested a way forward.

Now I need to let go. I’m not in control of how they respond, but I have gone into worry that they will be upset, and that they will become angry with me. That’s control. It’s me wanting to control the outcome.

I identify as being codependant, I find it easy to put others needs before my own, I have an inbuilt belief that I am unworthy, and other people need to be taken care of, that I should become what the other person wants me to be. I can very easily lose my personal identity because I see things from the other person’s perspective. Some may call this being a doormat, but I think codependancy is a form of dishonest and manipulative behaviour. It’s trying to control what other people think of me. I know it comes from the inconsistent and abusive childhood that I experienced, so I’m not giving myself a hard time. It’s actually seeing codependancy for what it is that has opened my mind to the reality that it is OK for me to have wants and needs, that it’s OK to say when I feel hurt, it’s OK to express my needs in a relationship. It doesn’t come easily to me. It takes a lot of effort for me to be honest in relationships, but I’m getting there.

What I Could Do During Social Isolation – Freewriting

One thing that I’ve already mentioned before is writing Sophie Lives. Not that I expect to write the whole book, but I can write more of it. There’s lots of writing that I can do, I intend to keep up with my freewriting on a daily basis, whether that’s on here or in my notepad.

Meditation has been a part of my life for many years, although I have let that slip recently, and I we would like to take that up again, whether I do breath awareness or use the Insight Timer app. I like to put wax earplugs in, shut out the background noise and just focus on my breath, so I set the intent of meditating today.

My photography portfolio hasn’t been added to for s while. I think it would be beneficial if I went through all of my photos and created a folder for all of the best ones. It’s nice to know that I have taken a few good photos over the past few years and I need to make the most of these. If I have them all in one place then I can get back onto curator space and submit some of them to exhibitions and competitions.

My eating disorder recovery has involved attending online 12 step meetings, and I have a weekly routine of attending three. As well as keeping up with those, now might be a good time to log into some others, which would increase my social contact.

Of course I should continue reading as well. Currently I’m reading Palestinian Walks: Notes On A Vanashing Landscape by Raja Shahadeh. It’s a fantastic piece of non-fiction about the life of a Palestinian from the West Bank (Occupied Territories) and his walks through the landscape. It’s beautifully written, and naturally it touches upon the political landscape of living under Israeli occupation and how the illegal settlements have interfered with the physical environment. I have an interest in the political environment between Israel and Palestine, the conflict has been going on longer than my lifetime, it would be nice if this conflict would end at some point before I die. I hold out no hope for this, but I guess people didn’t believe the conflicts between Republicans and Unionists in Norther Ireland would ever end either.

During the 12 week period of social isolation I am aloud out for short walks and to the shops as well, which is something I will most definitely do.

There are more things that I can do, and this piece of writing has helped me to solidify my ideas from my previous post. I wish all of you safety, peace and love and pray that you all get through these challenging times safely and that you remain in good health.

Freewriting In Response To My Book Review

I just wrote a book review, one which I found incredibly difficult to write. The book was confusing for me because it was so heady, and I lacked an emotional connection with it. How would I write a book which is dynamic, gripping and with emotional connection from the beginning? I’m not sure, I cannot answer that at this stage of my writing career, but I expect I would need to write from a place of passion and emotional involvement myself. I can see that writing a novel is hard work, and that developing a writing style isn’t easy. At the moment I’m writing short pieces of a story, and I have no idea as to how to develop and connect these so that a book appears. Beaumont has done this, but it was bloody hard going. I’m relieved that I’ve managed to cobbke together some kind of book review, although I’m displeased with what and how I wrote. I have two pieces of non-fiction to read next, books that I would not normally read; this has been suggested in the coursework. I’m certainly looking forward to the Arthur Miller play.

Reference

Beaumont, S; 2008; Thirteen; Newcastle Upon Tyne; Myrmidon

Exercise 1.10

This exercise combines three aspects we’ve covered in Part One: freewriting, the writing diary and reflective commentary.

  • Freewriting. Consider this quote, which is said to come from the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg: “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” Think about this quote for a minute or two, then complete a five-minute free write about these thoughts.

My passion is where my source, light and strengths will come as a writer. I’m very open about my life and experiences, both positive and negative. This authentic writing style has helped me to develop an online community and to build relationships. I do not hide my madness. I can also see that this authenticity will be a huge bonus in writing short stories or a novel. Writing about what I know. My opening idea for Sophie Lives comes from my experience of being abused and from my understanding of domestic violence and the tragedy that in the UK 2 women are murdered every week by their current or ex partner. This is something that I feel angry about. Writing from Sophie’s perspective of abuse and recovery is something that has the potential to be powerful.

  • Writing Diary. Read your freewrite through and think about your writing journey – the good and the difficult parts to this exercise. Make notes in your writing diary about the experience. Be as open as you like – only you will read this account.

Firstly, other people will read through my account. I don’t mind this. My community matters to me and I welcome feedback and interaction with others. However, there are some pieces of writing that will remain behind closed doors until they are complete and ready to be seen. For example, I will only reveal one more small passage from Sophie Lives, and then I’ll develop the rest of the novel in private.

Writing from a prompt has been easier than I have expected it to be. It’s a very good way to approach and develop writing. I can see why the notebook is so important, it will become a source of my own ideas and prompts, which are far better than the prompts from others. Having a starting point that comes from the heart will be the driving force of successful creative writing.

  • Reflective commentary. Read through the notes you’ve just made on the original exercise and start to think how much of this you’d want to share with your tutor. Also think why you’d want to share this. (Check the ‘two-fold purpose’ above.)

I have absolutely no problem with sharing anything I write with my tutor. I feel no shame about my writing, I don’t fear critique; the opposite is true, I value feedback from my tutor, she’s an experienced author and can guide me on my journey. Yes my reflection is self-critique and this is highly valuable in developing myself, I get that, it will be a source of strength, but I’m open to my tutor reading anything I write.

Freewriting will also be a source of overcoming writers block, which all writers experience from time to time. I had creative blocks while I was studying photography, and getting out and taking photos for enjoyment and developing personal practice helped me to move forward. It’s no different with writing. It troubles me that creative writers on the course are not expected to have a blog and are encouraged to secrecy. Why should creative writers be treated differently than other students? Yes we do need to keep personal projects behind closed doors until they are complete and ready to be published, but coursework doesn’t need secrecy.

Reflective Commentary – Exercise 1.9

Open your writing diary and make an entry. It’s up to you how much you write; write anything from one paragraph to a couple of pages. 

Choose one or more of the following to write about:

  • A book I read and loved
  • How I felt when I first wrote something for pleasure
  • What I fear most about starting to write creatively
  • The sort of writer I would like to be
  • Something I have noticed about the way I write
  • My thoughts on freewriting so far
  • My plans for notebooks and note booking. 

Be sure to complete this exercise before moving on. 

Something I’ve noticed about the way I write

Writing in the mornings is such a pleasure for me. It’s not that I can’t write at other times of the day, but I wake up early, have nothing else to do other than Instagram and Ebay, so writing is filling a void. I’m enjoying the freewriting and this has become an important part of my morning routine.

Freewriting is a skill that I haven’t used before, and I feared that I would write poorly, something unstructured and random, but this hasn’t been the case at all. Mostly, I like to undertake my freewriting with pen and paper, and the time flies by. This morning I’ve written about my athiesm and god, or more to the point that there is no god.

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I’m finding that I’m writing a lot of auto-biographical snippets. A year or so of this and I’d be able to collate these snippets into a book.

Writing about myself, my life and my beliefs is really enjoyable, and I find the structure flows easily. I invest a lot of myself into this style of writing, and I write authentically, but I don’t want to limit myself to this form of writing. I’d like to explore poetry in my freewriting as well.

I have managed to write a couple of poems, as well as a couple of passages for a potential novel or short story.

All in all I am enjoying the course, and being able to write freely. I’m doing far better than I thought I would, and my practice has brought around better results than I expected.

Exercise 1.7

Try doing Morning Pages every day for a week. Consider whether you find this easier than doing freewriting at other times of the day. If you find it helpful, build Morning Pages into your regular routine. There will be more about writing routines in Part Three.

Freewriting has become an important part of my morning routine, and I’m pleased that it has. I have my coffee and talk to my trees first, and then I write. I’ve set a reminder on my phone so that I don’t forget to do it. I haven’t tried it at other times I don’t think. Although a previous brief said to set a timer and work up to 20 minutes, I haven’t been doing so. I’ve gone with the flow and just allowed myself to write. But I think most of the time I’m around the 20 minute mark. I will try doing it with a timer soon.

Winter Is A Bastard – Exercise 1.6

Spring is most definitely in the air despite the periods of relentless rain. Crocus and daffodils are pushing their necks out of the ground, and they are adding glorious pockets of colour to my days. Such joy. My mood is improving slowly but surely, I’m isolating less, and I’m having more clarity of thought. Gratitude is what I’m feeling as I write this short piece of freewriting (I adore freewriting, it’s shown me that I do have lots to write).

But winter is a bastard, an effing c of a nightmare that I often struggle to get through!

This year my mood dropped at the end of December, and my thoughts darkened. I began to obsess about suicide, and I researched methods on the Internet, and purchased some pills which I believed would end my life.

Motivation and pleasure from activities deserted me and I felt hopeless. Situations which involved close contact with others was a struggle and I avoided people. Ultimately I was overwhelmed and tried yet again to take my life. Disappointed that I didn’t succeed, but the disappointment that I tried to end my life pushed me into accepting help. I’m now attending a therapeutic day unit. It’s a short term program for a few weeks, enough to get me through until I am able to keep myself occupied and productive.

My energy always improves in the spring. If only I could hold back the self destruction long enough to get me through to the lighter, brighter and warmer days.

My thoughts are much clearer now, and I am enjoying my studies. I had my coursework for over a month before I could even open the folder. Eventually I realised I had to just begin the first exercise, I couldn’t wait until my motivation returned, I had to simply take action without expectation. I’m so grateful that I did because I find it has brought joy and satisfaction into my daily life.

I’m looking out for signs of spring now. I’m not waiting for motivation I’m acting as if I’m motivated, and I’m finding signs of spring right now. Recovery is action. Hope is important but I can’t hope my way into feeling better, I have to put the effort into hunting for joy and gratitude.

Freewriting Is A Blessing

I’m surprised by freewriting and how it has been such a positive experience. My initial response to reading about the freewriting exercise was dread and anxiety, with thoughts that I would be writing random words without a clue about what to write.

However, this has not been the case. I generally start with a word or two in my mind as a prompt for my writing, and I have found this to be helpful. From this the words have flowed from my pen, and as I produce sentences more thoughts begin to coalesce.

The coursework asked us not to consider structure, but this had also been a natural part of the exercises for me. I’ve managed to write prose, snippets of auto-biography and a nonsense poem. I particularly like the nonsense and the poem that I produced.

This morning I wrote for over 20 minutes, which is quite a long time, especially as I originally thought that 5 minutes would be too long.

I can see how freewriting can help people overcome blocks that can surface with writing. I don’t expect this form of writing to be so natural all of the time, but it has been a positive experience so far.

If I Didn’t Have Paranoia – Exercise 1.6 – Freewriting

If I Didn’t have paranoia… I would aim to live in the female role again, and would save up for laser hair removal on my face. I find it interesting that I hate my legs when in the male role, but in female clothing and tights I find I have lovely legs that are slender and feminine, although my belly is still fat. I’d like to live in the female role, but I’m scared that I would be attacked. It wS hard to revert back to living in the male role, but I’ve become used to it now. I’ve learned to consider myself as being gender fluid, although deep down I consider myself as a trans woman. It would be nice to be Helen again.

If I didn’t have paranoia I would feel safe and secure, not have images of me and my home being attacked and feel safe in my home. I would like to be able to live freely and not live in fear for my life. I’d like to recover from ptsd, but I don’t know how to do so. Life would be more fun, and I wouldn’t have all my little measures to feel in control. Currently I feel the need to avoid the number 6. I have to have my TV volume set on 17 or 22, I finish the day by having either 4 or 8 puffs on my e cig and I have to get my clothes ready for the next day in the evening. I also feel the need to continously pray throughout the day and have my medication boxes with all of the labels facing the same way. It’s ocd, but my ocd doesn’t come out in hand Wasing and tidying and cleaning kind of way. If I don’t do these things then I get anxious and scared that me and my home will be attacked. It’s exhausting and frightening to live like this.

If I didn’t have paranoia I wouldn’t become anxious when I hear the sounds of my neighbours talking, and I wouldn’t thin that they are talking about me. I wouldn’t need to either turn up the TV or wear ear plugs so that I can’t hear them; and I wouldn’t think that when they talk they are talking about me.

My paranoia is self centred and self obsession, but I can’t help it at the moment. Maybe one day I will feel safe and secure but I don’t hold out much hope. My paranoia, when it becomes severe, leads to suicidal ideation , and I make attempts to end my life. I get so scared that I am going to be harmed. I get a strong fear of pain, and I would like to die peacefully. That’s why I overdose rather than jump off a building or poison myself or jump in front of a train.

Trafalgar Square – Exercise 1.6

Now try this using a topic of your own choosing (e.g. childhood, ambition, favourite places).

I wrote the following by hand and am now typing it up.

 

Trafalgar Square means so much to me, especially after last summer. I had a relapse with my eating disorder and my mental health in general. I became paranoid and suicidal, and I believed that all of my neighbours were plotting to kill me. I was terrified of being in my home, and whenever I was I would wear ear plugs so that I couldn’t hear their muffled voices. I had to get out as soon as I could in the mornings, and not come back until the evening. I visited many places, a wildlife park near to Canada Water, Woodbery Wetland, a Wetlands near Tottenham Hale, Alexander Palace and many other places beside. However, my favourite place was Trafalgar Square. I would take a book and buy some carbonated fruit water from the tesco metro nearby. Some of the time I would sit and sunbathe while watching people, other times I would sit and read. Trafalgar Square was my refuge. I look forward to the return of the warmth so I can si there again.