On our way to school the children and I go through an alley way to get away from the bustling traffic. It was snowing today and my daughter tends to scream more during a snow fall. It’s not the snow itself that makes her scream, it’s the sound dampening effect that tempts her to make noise just to hear it bounce off the snow and garages. She’s not upset, but her ear-piercing screams are not something I want to inflict on the neighborhood. Luckily, the school is close by and the screams don’t last long, but the work it takes to distract her or to teach her proper coping mechanisms for her enthusiasm wears on her brother and I.
This morning I was preoccupied with a few things so instead of going through the distraction algorithms, I concentrated on my son’s question, “Why does she scream?” I explained to him the physics of sound in regards to an echo and how I believe his sister is expressing herself and feeling the world out by making her voice echo off of everything.
Writing is like that for me. I throw these thoughts and feelings into the world and I only think about how they affect me. Afterwards, if I’m smart enough, I go back and edit for my potential reader. I’m having an ethical problem as of late though, because my biggest bursts of poetry and writing occur when I need the therapy from it. I used to talk about it, but my ED (eating disorder), for the past bit has been past the creeping up stage and it’s made other neuroses worse. I’ve talked about it less and have written about it more in the form of poetry. There’s only judgement from myself in the private written word and I don’t have to think about how that writing affects someone else. I write when it gets bad and I reflect on that writing so I can get on and move past it. I’m also more thoughtful, more aware of the world and in turn, it has given me some of my best writing. I hesitate on publishing it ever.
As much strength I try to garnish in my day, I’m also easy to crumple. Reading anything with the words “rape,” “diet,” “child abuse,” or anything of the like, triggers me a bit and depending on the day it may trigger me big time. Mind you, I’m not a fragile flower by any means, but I am prone to internalize things. They stay there for a while until one day out of nowhere, I’m hit with it all. Shit happens and this is my shit that I fight with and that’s ok because I deal with it (one of my mottos is, “Deal with it.”).
My ED is less about weight and more about control. My history has schema patterns that have me eating and starving to cope, even when it was over-eating, it was all about “This is my body. I do what I want with it, so fuck you.” It’s a milder saying now because I have children, but it’s something that still occurs. It’s a selfish and narcissistic condition. The discipline it takes gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I’m not afraid to say it, but the “hard work” has the same feeling of satisfaction as running does. It is also incredibly stupid, but I am not alone in these thoughts.
My therapy group is a safe space and we let these ideas and thoughts out fully understanding that we are all going through the same head space regardless of our home situations. There’s no judgement or animosity in the room, just mutual understanding. There is also no pity because we’re there to progress and move beyond. I leave the room feeling that I’m going to be ok one day. That’s a positive accomplished feeling.
I do not want my writing to trigger anyone. I’ve tried my best to make the above show that ED is not a welcome thing in my life. Eating disorders of any kind are awful and they can take you over. I once tried reading Portia DeRossi’s book on her ED and all it did was giving me great ideas on how I could go back into terrible spiraling patterns, (that book really needs a disclaimer, “ED triggering,” or something of the sort). The point is, I don’t want my screaming to hurt a reader’s ears. I would love for my writing to echo like my daughter’s voice. I would like the echo to transform and take a reader on a journey beyond themselves and then back again having given them perspective and/or to provoke emotions.
I’m the middle of a full-blown ED bout. This time I’ve reversed my schemas to control my “control issue,” if that makes any sense. Math/logical thought and years of therapy do pay off this way. My journey as a writer still, and will always, continue. However, I believe I am making a progressive and positive move when I say that I’m thinking more and more about my reader. A reader is the echo that matters. The equation I have to figure out now is how much control should I muster when I write? My most enjoyable writing is done writing like a madwoman who stays clinging to her home in the middle of a hurricane and yelling, “Is that all you got?”
In reality, my ethical dilemma is about remembering that what I put out there isn’t just for me, but it’s also for you. Without you, my echo, I can’t really live on as a writer. Dear reader, I apologize, for that is true writing therapy.
Writing is an echoed scream. Now to stop thinking so much and get on with what needs to get done. I leave you with these thoughts.
“Today is never happening again.” – Mike Bloom
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” – Bruce Lee
Off to the dentist again.