“A book must start somewhere. One brave letter must volunteer to go first, laying itself on the line in an act of faith, from which a word takes heart and follows, drawing a sentence into its wake. From there, a paragraph amasses, and soon a page, and the book is on its way, finding a voice, calling itself into being. A book must start somewhere, and this one starts here.”
– Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness
The desire to write is really the desire to evolve. You’re on a search for the truth that maybe feels, at least in the beginning, like some vague unnamable tugging at the edges of your consciousness.
So you begin.
But the more you write, the more you discover that the truth is elusive, like the shadows of passing cars on the wall as you lie awake at night.
And perhaps the greatest obstacle: What if I’m wrong? What if my truth is inaccurate? What if my loved ones disagree? And perhaps underneath all this: What if I’m abandoned?
Your mind does a number on you when you start to dig. It seems we’re hard-wired to stick with the safe and the familiar.
But yet, you know something isn’t right. You sense you’re carrying a burden that doesn’t belong to you, some psychic detritus. It’s ancestral, this unnamable dread. And you fear that to write it down might, in some way, be disloyal.
You fear that you’re breaking the oath.
But what if your disloyalty is not to your loved ones, but to a shared lie. What if there’s a limiting belief you’ve been carrying about yourself and the world?
You know in your heart that the truth is your birthright. But you’re beginning to glimpse the fact that there is a cost to this freedom. It demands risk. It demands betraying the lie.
Your mind searches for any way around this cold fact. There must be an easier way! (Have you found one yet?)
Have you ever noticed that while the facts of your life are indisputable, your story of them is evolving? It’s almost like you carry within you your very own Rashomon. Something that seemed unforgivable might shift, while a casual sleight opens your eyes to patterns of deceit you’ve spent a lifetime trying to ignore.
The goal of memoir is to develop a coherent narrative for your life, or perhaps even a single event in your life.
The irony is that when you connect to your true power, to the reality that you can never, as an adult, be abandoned, you will begin to see your situation in a new way. You will begin to develop compassion and forgiveness, first for yourself, and then for others. The people you feared will no longer carry the same charge, because you have found your voice and stepped into your truth.
You will move in the direction of love, and generosity of spirit, and relationships that are based on reciprocity. You will move in the direction of your tribe.
Here, you will discover that you possess a power and grace and wisdom that you previously believed was unimaginable.
You will meet yourself, and you will know your truth.