I’ve been back home two weeks now, after spending a month on a friend’s ranch in Oregon in the United States. My Stateside sabbatical was to begin work on my childhood memoir -a cathartic exercise that has been lurking at the back (and front) of my mind for over 20 years.
Pouring my complicated childhood onto paper is something that I feel I need to do. And, having shed my predilection for living in survival mode and making a committed decision to live my life more consciously, now is the time for me to dive into what I see as the next, and possibly even final step, in truly healing.
Over the past two years I’ve been dedicated to working through the physical and mental health issues that I’ve been storing. But I feel that not truly addressing, acknowledging and expelling the festering psychological minutiae of my formative years has been what’s holding me back from healing in so many ways. The pain of my traumatic childhood continues to cause me untold damage to this day, and it’s time to kick it to the curb.
I admit I had no idea what my month would look like, nor did I have any idea what I was going to be able to achieve in that time. When, at the end of the month, I had just 10 thousand words and 20 pages of story, it didn’t seem like much. Especially when compared to an average 120-thousand-word book. Indeed, it felt a bit like an epic fail but in reality, I had no idea how difficult the task was going to be.
In that month I did manage to put in writing a great many of the ‘situations’ and ‘incidents’ that happened to my child self, but without the nuance and emotion required for it to come together into a cohesive whole.
That could be because my friends were there and I just couldn’t ‘allow’ myself to fully open myself to the trauma of going down that rabbit hole, or perhaps said trauma has been squashed and repressed so deeply for so long, that it doesn’t know quite how to surface. Either way, until I can find the inner fortitude to unpick it all, it’s not going to be finished. And I want it finished. Over. Kaput.
My desperation to see this through is because after decades of meds, treatment, various counsellors and all kinds of self-help and potions, I know that as long as I hold on to this trauma, it will continue to manifest in me physically. I am so over the chronic pain that started as injuries but continue through trauma. Confused? While I do live with chronic pain from multiple injuries from a huge fall, there is one that rears its head for, seemingly, no reason at all. Well, no physical reason.
I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I had to remove myself from the toxic life I was living prior to leaving the big smoke of Sydney. And I am equally proud of my own strength in making that decision, of my own volition, to change direction, and continue to learn how to heal. But the wounds are still there and they need closing for good.
I find the ‘everlasting’ nature of physical and psychological trauma on the body, let alone the mind, extraordinarily perplexing. Unless it is ‘dealt with’, ‘processed’ or whatever needs to be done for a person to be able to make peace with it, it will continue to haunt you in some way. Clearly, for me at least, living in denial for the last 40 years has not had the desired effect, so as I take ownership of my own health and healing journey, I WILL finish writing this damn book!
Has anyone been down this path? Have you successfully completed your book – published or unpublished? How did you do it? How did you cope? And did it have the desired cathartic effect? I’d love to know …