In the first day of The 90-Day Memoir workshop the writers often have some major insights and revelations. But it is the second day that things start to get interesting. Here’s an excerpt from my Day 2 letter to the writers.
“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.”
– James F. Byrnes
Have you ever told someone you loved them and were met by a blank stare? You feel mortified, exposed, humiliated. You wonder, “How could I have been so vulnerable?” Then you want to hide, withdraw, take it back.
Yesterday you looked in the mirror and told yourself, “I love you.” And now you’re wondering if you should take it back.
Don’t take it back.
Sometimes, in the process of meeting ourselves, we begin to wonder whether or not this is all worth it. We question our sanity, our memory, and we begin to measure — we do a cost/benefit analysis on the efficacy of this endeavor. What if no one reads it? Or what if everyone reads it and they hate me? What if my family reads it and they disown me? What if I discover something about myself that is unforgivable? Why take the risk of telling my story if it will only lead to more heartache?
This is a voice from your past. It is your old self wanting to hold onto the familiar, to protect you. It is a violent voice, but you no longer need to fight violence with violence. You can acknowledge the voice and let it know that you are in charge now, and that you will be handling things from now on. This old self served you valiantly — it kept you safe, but it also kept you silent.
This is a gentle process, but it is also a daily process of stepping incrementally out of your comfort zone. You are not going to rip the bandage off in one pull. Remember, you never have to show this to anyone. That doesn’t mean that you won’t, but right now you are building a nest. You are preparing yourself for transformation. And while the person you are today may feel exposed, through this process you will discover that exposure is really just the shedding of a burden that was never yours to carry in the first place.