Monday, May 9, 2011

Healing Through Writing

writing photo3

I have never considered myself a "writer."  And even though I've been writing my blog for a few years now, I just had a new realization...this space is helping me heal old wounds associated with writing.

You see, going back to first grade, I distinctly remember a traumatic experience at a spelling bee.  I was sitting in a college classroom with several other students.  It was my first spelling bee (and my last).  It was my turn and the word was "once."  I remembered the rules like a good student would.  Repeat the word (once) and then spell it, then repeat the word again.  I spoke, "Once."  "O."  Then I thought about it again, to make sure I was getting it right.  Ok... "O-N-C-E.  Once."  Phew...I got it right.

Then, the teacher spoke up, and told me I spelled it wrong because I said two "o's."  She proceeded to rewind the tape so we could all hear it again.  I was mortified.  I was only six.  I was sitting there in my seat, while my "mistake" was put on display for all to hear. I left the room crying and luckily my parents were waiting for me in the hallway.

From that moment on, I accepted my new thought, "I am a bad speller."  And I equated "bad speller" with "bad writer" for many years.

writing photo1

Skip to fourth grade.  I had some very controlling catholic schoolteachers at this age. Conformity seemed to be of the utmost importance.  I can see this clearly now just thinking back to the way they taught me "handwriting."

My teachers seemed obsessed with making sure I wrote with a perfect "slant."  My letters had to go to the right.  For any left-handed student, you know that this can be a challenge.  But we do what it takes to get it "right."  I tried everything, like turning my paper to a slant and kinking my neck so far to the right so I could see over my hand.

And not only did I write "too up and down," I was also told I wrote "too wide."  One of my teachers would even sneak up behind me and rip the pencil out of my hand to make sure I wasn't gripping "too hard!"  It seems so ridiculous now.  How cool would it have been had they focused their energy on teaching me about self-worth and personal expression, rather than pointing out my so-called writing flaws?

writing photo2

By the end of the year I had won the "Best Handwriting" award.  What it should have said was, "Best Job at Conforming and Doing What it Takes to Get the Grade" award.  I did it. I learned how to be a good student and get my teacher's approval.

In college I had a lot of friends who were "writers" but I never thought I was one.  I could never be one of "them" because I was a terrible speller and therefore a terrible writer.

After college I landed a job where writing was part of my job description.  I felt like a fake. A phony.  I definitely didn't believe I was a writer, but I played the part well.

I've journaled for years and years and years...writing in secret.  And I was scared to start a blog, mainly because I didn't want people to see my misspellings and grammatical errors.  But I did it anyway and have never looked back.  After blogging for a bit I started embracing a new thought..."I like writing."  And after my recent computer cleanse I was reminded that writing helps me process.  It helps me release my creative energy.  It has helped me find my voice.  And it continues to be an amazing self-discovery tool that helps me heal and grow.  I love to write.  I have to write.

I write with mistakes, wide, up and down, upside down, over and out, inward and outward...

im a writer

This is me.

Your Personal Reflection:  So many of the beliefs we embrace now were formed from our past experiences.  What thoughts are you ready to release?  BEcome and BE yourself - today and always (despite what anyone told you in the past).  NOW is the time to set yourself free.  Think a new, positive thought and you will truly start to heal and change your life.

Have you ever wanted to start a blog, but let fear get in the way?  Maybe you read blogs, but never leave comments?  Is today the day you'll express YOUR voice through words?


  1. How funny is it that I not only misspelled profusely as I responded but missed the whole 'techy' part of using a comment... I just tried to post this and it was "rejected" so it will be just my luck in the long run that you see this twice - feels like a ROF moment!

    Here's the original post:

    I love your discription (misspelled not on purpose just "caught" and purposefully NOT corrected) of you in your closing:
    This is me.

    That is perfect.
    I really think that is a description of who we are meant to be and a mantra for life. It's embracing.
    And yes - I relate, not to the left hand or specific spelling bee but to all it holds and it's similarities. And Yes, I've tried to write. And I really do much better on computer because I don't feel awkward about my penmanship or spelling/grammar errors. I have spell & grammar ck here and can type almost as fast as I think it and know it's there to fix when I'm done.

    Yes - I have tried blogs and blogging and just the perfect one. I am trying to embrace my goals as formative vs. punitive. I'm getting kinder at my "idea" of my blog and even webpage plan. It can be paralyzing to overcome those days when both "writing", creativity and technical workings are overcoming my "Big Idea".

    Thank you for your continued sharing. You always have a way of sharing yourself that leads the reader to feel encouraged.
    Mustard Seeds,

  2. Woah. Good one. I can relate in the opposte way. Woops, I spelled opposite wrong. oh well. I was always the perfectionist who spelled every word right. I remember erasing the curved part of my e's if they didn't come out just the right way, according to the standards I had already set for myself in first grade and up. My teachers were amazed that I would go to such extremes!
    Now, my handwriting isn't always so neat, and it feels good to not worry so much about such small unnecessary details...
    I can also relate to "not being a writer". I know I am one if I just believe it, and keep work towards it! Thanks so much, Shannon, for the inspiration!

  3. Debbie,
    Thank you for taking a moment to share. I'm happy to hear you are practicing being "kinder" to yourself, too. :)

    It's amazing how stifling perfectionism can be. I've been there, too, and still catch myself from time to time. So great to hear from you.

    I appreciate you both.


Thanks for sharing!