Friday, June 24, 2011

Most Ordinary by Susan Piver #Trust30 (Day 25)

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____), false expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all), and false investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother). What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary.


False comparisons with others:

While I love to write, I have never considered myself a serious writer, i.e. an author of a memoir, book of poetry, children’s book, or any other type of published writing.  I find my words lack depth and meaning.  They are not descriptive enough.  I lack coherence.  I have thought about wanting to tell the story of my life in a book, but I always considered having someone else write it for me!

So, to answer the first question, “I’m not as good a writer as anyone”. 

False expectations of ourselves:

This is easy—I have none!  Since, I do not take my writing seriously, being on any list never crosses my mind!  More importantly, I write for myself.  I write because it is healing.  I will quote my profile on my Facebook page:  ‘It is wear I pour my pain into words.’

False investments in a story:

Now here is a topic to which I can laboriously indulge!  So many books have been written about survivors of child abuse, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the many other aftereffects of abuse.  During the ninety’s there was a lot of controversy and negativity associated with D.I.D. (formerly MPD), sexual child abuse, and false memories.  All of these things deeply disturbed me and many other survivors.  It felt as if people were refusing to listen to our stories, the pain we were continually struggling to overcome, and accusing us of confabulation.  Worse than this, it felt like they were denying our very existence.  So what this did to me was add more pain to my existence and HEAPS of SHAME to an already shattered soul.  The thought of people dismissing my story, ridiculing me for writing yet another memoir of abuse, or accusing me of making it up would have destroyed me.  Until recently, I have been very low on the ‘ladder of selves’. (Idea taken from the book “Reinventing Yourself” by Steve Chandler)  Slowly, I am climbing higher.  Actually it seems rather rapid to me!  So, with this progress and the realization that most of “the people” believe this type of abuse DOES HAPPEN, I do not think my destruction is at play any longer.

Truly, why do I care what others think anyway?   I feel myself growing stronger each day.  I am trying to realize that people’s opinions are just that—they do not define who I am, who I should be, or who I should become. “Excuse me; you think my hair is too long, that I am too old to wear it this long.  Is this really your business?  What if I told you your hair was too short?  That it makes you look too masculine…”  I have NEVER uttered the previous sentence aloud.  But I have thought it.  My beliefs and my boundaries prevent me from going down that road.  Yes, the things people say still hurt and cause pain, but I am beginning to understand that they are speaking from their own insecurities.  They are speaking from the “lower levels of their ladder of selves”.

Is it me or did I just totally go off subject? J J



  1. That 'false memories' crap from the nineties really hurt me also. We already struggle with being silenced - that stuff was just another way of being shut up.

    I think the prompt fits what you're writing about in that it says write about your actual experience, even if it doesn't seem 'special', and you're doing that. Cheers

  2. I opened Brenda Ueland's book this morning (15 years after purchasing it) and on the first page of the first chapter she writes, "Everybody Is Talented, Original and Has Something Important to Say." I believe her. I believe that she, like us, is writing about her actual experience, as a teacher of writing.

    Each time I read your blog, I think of a friend who's story I am reading, exploring, editing -- combining her words with darkly beautiful images, photographs of her paintings, oils on canvases, the images she paints of childhood memories. Her story is horrific. She is beautiful. In the telling of her story there is beauty. She will choose who here on earth will read her book, the people who will share in her story.

    Please continue to write. Your words.

    I applaud your stamina, to hold to your beliefs and boundaries. I think of my son... a man who is now 6'7" and is often asked if he plays basketball. He does not. He is a lover of the outdoors, a fisherman, a hunter, a conservationist. Today, when people ask if he plays basketball, he laughingly responds, "Are you a gymnast?"

    "Everybody Is Talented, Original and Has Something Important to Say" are words in 1938.

    Please continue to write. Your words.

    You are talented. You are original. You have something important to say.