Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the March Slice of Life Challenge. I am joining other bloggers and writing a Slice of Life story each day in March.
Tonight I sit with our Teachers as Writers group, a group that has been meeting once a month since October. We all came for different reasons, and at the same time we all came for the same reason...to write. Our group has come together like writing communities do. I so look forward to these Tuesday evenings. As the rain spattered against the windows, we all began to write about what we've learned about ourselves as writers these past months. I knew right away what I wanted to say.
I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer these past few months. Shortly after this group began, the girls came to live with us and our lives were turned upside down. In the process, I stopped writing. Never in our wildest dreams did we think our lives would change so drastically. People tell us all the time what a wonderful thing we've done. I don't look at it as anything special. In our hearts, there was really no other choice. The girls are very important to us and we wouldn't do anything differently. From the outside, it may appear that now that the girls live with us, all is well.
From the inside; however, that is not the case. There have been ugly, scary times and this is when my writing came to a standstill. Why is that? Some of the stories were raw and not mine to share publicly. However, I could have written in my journal, which I chose not to do. Something continued to hold me back. I still grapple with what that "something" was. Fear? Writing would make it real? It would force me to feel things that I didn’t want to feel or to acknowledge things that I didn’t want to acknowledge? Like the realities of what drug abuse does to a family? Like maybe we're not equipped to deal with the mental health issues facing us. Like how angry I am at the system and at a mother who doesn't see what she's doing to these beautiful girls. These are not pretty subjects to write about and I worry that I sound like a broken record.
Not writing hasn’t been good for me. Thoughts swirl and tumble around, building anxiety and fueling negativity. It's time to write again. Returning to the Slice of Life challenge gives me the space to come back to writing. I remember now why I write.
I write to think.
I write to process.
I write to connect.
I write to heal.
I write to celebrate.
I write to make sense of the world.
So, what have I learned as a writer? I've learned it's ok to be vulnerable with my words. It's ok to share the not so pretty stuff. People will treat my words with compassion and empathy because that's what community does.