my shattered voice mends slowly….

21bb59a4c8d0d5e07fe1d9b2cfe2d516I’m keeping this short today.

Too often, I write with frustration and angst of not being able to do something.  Either I can’t write an outline, function as a “normal” person, protect my ultra sensitive self from the world or in the case of today, I’m struggling with my writing voice.

It isn’t frustration that I feel today, its more raw.  The tenderness that precedes healing.  There’s a hint of cohesion and acceptance.  I continue to look at the work that I’m doing with Warner Coaching and my first instinct is to beat my head against the same wall that I’ve beaten a rut into my entire life.  I don’t want to do that now and I’m sure she doesn’t want me to either.

Here’s my question that I’m pondering and hopefully, re-outlining and writing upon.  How do we access and write about memories so cellular that you experienced as a small pre-verbal child?  They are there but yet they aren’t.  How do we assign words and streams of sentences to an experience at a time when the child didn’t have words?  There are fragments.  Shattered, shards of splintering pictures that I, as an adult, must name and tell.  The abused, disassociated child must come together enough to write her story.  The process of sweeping those fragments out from under the rug, identifying and cataloging them is proving to be tougher than I ever imagined.

I’m painstakingly applying glue to delicate, tiny pieces of psyche.  I keep telling myself not to rush it for I want to slap the glue on and hold up my prize proclaiming it as my finished art.  But the glue isn’t dry yet and all the pieces aren’t in place.

My Novel Writing Winter may have evolved into more of a journey into my core viscera.  “Remembering is not something we do alone….. negotiating an account of the past is a fraught, dangerous process. Memories can be weapons as well as instruments of persuasion. And memory has only a part-time interest in the truth. It deals in scenarios, real ones and imagined ones, making and remaking the self from the partial, damaged information available” from Creative Memories in Harold Pinter’s Old Times by Charles Fernyhough.

So its acceptance that I must practice.  Radical acceptance.  My story will happen and in its own time.  I’m stretching myself in an unchartered direction. I’m learning and rebuilding from the ground floor up, setting a pace for myself that I’ve never reached for before. Marsha Linehan, DBT creator, defines radical acceptance, “As a practice, acceptance is highly important in working with impulsive, highly sensitive, and reactive clients. Validation is an active acknowledgement, often offered as an antithesis or synthesis to a distorted expectation or belief. It jumps the tracks of demand, soothing or defusing the emotional arousal associated with failure, feat, shame, unreasonably blocked goals, or a variety of other stimuli.”

I reach for the loving support of my family, friends, writing coach and virtual writing pals.  These gifts combined with prayer will suffice for the day. Soon I will know what to do and how to proceed.

Suggested reading:

Cast Ashore



  1. Glue and tiny pieces of a tender psyche… Be gentle with yourself and extra careful with the glue. I once tried to “repair” a classical guitar of mine with some super glue. Six months later I finished fixing my “fix”… I learned that a little glue goes a long way. I know that guitars are not nearly as tender as a psyche. But, some things are tougher to fix than anyone would have thought!! Remember, I’m glad to be your friend, fellow traveler, and fan – just the way you are!!!

    • LOL….I love the image of you super gluing a guitar…we super glue everything here including wounds! Thanks for the comments, they are always welcome…I am proceeding gently as per your advice with laptop and a bag of candy! That’s what you meant, right? 😉

  2. You write: How do we assign words and streams of sentences to an experience at a time when the child didn’t have words? There are fragments. Shattered, shards of splintering pictures that I, as an adult, must name and tell. The abused, disassociated child must come together enough to write her story. The process of sweeping those fragments out from under the rug, identifying and cataloging them is proving to be tougher than I ever imagined.

    I write: Maybe she colors using the big, chunky crayons in her non-dominant hand. Maybe she rips up magazines and does collages. Maybe she makes/dresses/names/positions paper dolls. Maybe she literally rolls the rug up.

    I admire your talent, Sugar, as well as your questions, your patience, your tenacity. Like so many others, I am here cheering, waiting, applauding, waving, and hugging. xo

    • Wholly Jeanne….you are so precious to me! I’m thinking you are on to something, that which I really need right now…I’ve lurked around watching your fabric projects and have started cutting paper in shapes. Sounded almost remedial at the time but the child is trying to speak…Going out for chunky crayons later and see what she can come forth with…In this small post, you’ve sent me a mother, a sister and a friend 🙂 Wow….

  3. It’s a journey, this writing of your story, your truth. A journey of unfolding, of being present, of listening. What comes to me is, perhaps, to simply ask that child “If you had words to speak about this, what would you say?” Let gentleness towards your self, most of all, rule over all that you do, all that you are.

    • Joss my friend….I first have to say how fortunate I feel right now to have your incredible words of wisdom bestowed upon me….it is about gentleness, I forget that continually….its like I’m almost beating this child to speak. I’m putting this book away for a short while until I know how “she” wants to proceed….How could I do this journey without you? ~Love~

      • aw sweet one, we are in this together, journeying along, sharing, smiling, crying, speaking when needed, listening always. I hold in you in my heart and send you peace and love.

  4. L,
    There is a woman in my writing group that is writing a semi-biographical YA novel. In it her character’s father has a heart attack. She wrote the scene and moved on. Later she and her sister were discussing their father’s heart attack which my friend had no memory of. It turns out she wrote it exactly as it happened. In another chapter she described a place she thought she made up. While on a trip she pulled into a little town and, yes, it was the one she’d written. Now she was older than you was older than “pre-verbal” but the memories somehow bubbled to the surface when she flexed her writing muscles. Then again, maybe there are not words for what you’re trying to write. Maybe only the feelings.

    I really honor the work you’re doing. Be gentle with yourself. Treat that little girl the way you wish she had been treated, the way you know she deserved to be treated. Love her her pieces back together.

    • Wow Merry…I had to sit with this response for a while. Kind of blew me away. I do believe your friend’s story as those things have happened to me also. I’ve surprised family members (those who would let me press them relentlessly for info) as I’ve described houses and locations down to the ceiling tiles in the bedroom with amazing accuracy. It feels so true and yet, it feels spooky. Takes a while to process. I’m thinking you all are on to something here….and I have decided that I’m going to fast and not accessing the info in a sane and healthy way.

      I’ve said this before but I just can’t imagine my life without all of you in it. I am forever humbled and grateful…~BIG HEART and KISSES~

    • Rebecca….so wonderful to see you here! I’m taking all the grace and love that you send me and letting this flow through me. I love you sister friend…and glad Barbarie led you to me ~Love and hugs~

  5. How to write about something that happened before you had the words to express how you felt — an interesting question.

    Thinking back to something — it’s to do with the shock and confusion felt when someone you’re meant to respect, and who’s meant to protect you, having a sudden mood swing and hurling plates across the room at the dinner table and shouting abuse at his family.

    Well, there’s the fear of a plate hitting you, the indigestion, the smell of alcohol on that person’s breath, how purple his face has become, how clenched his fists are, the tears of other adults present, the feeling of somehow being responsible for what’s happening. You want to run and hide and your legs are too small and you can’t reach the door-handle to escape, and you need a wee but daren’t ask. You want your favourite bear or doll, or to hug the dog (but you’re afraid the dog will end up getting kicked). You feel tinier and tinier in response to the abusive person expanding anger and towering over you. And at night you have nightmares or can’t sleep because your parents are arguing, and all the shadows and dark places in your room seem to close in on you.

    • My goodness Sarah, you certainly do get this….I can tell by your comment that sense where I am…right now, this child is terrified. The more I try to write and outline, the more anxious she gets. I see now why people write fantasy or fiction because this memoir thing is getting the best of me. I’ve had some downright incredible suggestions here that I am taking to heart. More introspection is in order. That and a bit of rest and fun.

      My Novel Writing Winter continues to morph….today it is The Winter of Thinking about when I’m ready to Write a Novel instead of a Memoir….So glad to have you in my world. Your suggestions are stellar as is your understanding and compassion ~Love to you~

      • The beauty of fiction is that you can create composite characters — little elements of this and that from different people. There’s that added plus, that people rarely recognise themselves portrayed in another skin. If you tweak a few things here and there, such as hair colour, build, the job they do, then they’ll probably think “I’d never behave like that!”

        I remember once this woman in a church congregation whom everybody nicknamed the “Wicked Witch of the North”. She gossiped, complained, bitched, set one person off against another, and made most people’s lives hell — in particular, the vicar’s life. When a visiting preacher came to give a sermon, he condemned her behaviour from the pulpit (without mentioning names). The woman sat there looking completely smug, as if to say, “He’s talking about all the others, and they’re going to have a nasty shock when they get turned away by St Peter from the gates of heaven.”

        So, write away 🙂 xox

      • Sarah, you gave me a chuckle with the story, as I know someone just like that….also, the possibility of fiction is strongly calling to me and you’ve given me some great food for thought. It is possibly a time to switch genres with the material I have…again, I love having you in my world…

  6. the suggestion of the chunky crayons is a wonderful idea. i find that so much more pre verbal stuff comes through in art, even in finger painting. i am a member of an online collage site which is where i make the pictures on my blog and find that so much more comes through that way and eventually through all the art, the words eventually arrive so that i can write
    i do also know though how many emotions can be brought up so please take good care of yourself..sending you lots of safe hugs

  7. Love your writing,giving voice to her unsayable broken heart,please take comfort in that she is being heard by those who are very inspired by your journey..Hearts,Jen

    • Hi Jen…when I started this blog, I was so scared to put my writings and experiences out there. But they’ve been met with such love and grace from the beginning. The one thing, more than any other, was that I wanted to be able to give information, comfort, support, etc to anyone going through trauma…it is truly my core belief that I must accomplish to make this painful journey have purpose….hoping always that it helps. 🙂 Please stop by anytime, so glad you are here!

  8. I do Mandala work around that stuff. I find that colors, contained in a circle, express more potently the myriad of emotions that tangle and not back there. I am not a wordsmith on the best of days…But It would seem to me, that you know, and are holding it , the course, the feelings , the pieces, very well…

    • the mandala works intrigued me…i started drawing with this small child in the past few weeks, she’s so timid…i will pull out the mandala coloring book and see if that gets us farther down the road…thank you for this…

    • Thank you so much….I’m so honored….I better get to work checking out all those blogs you listed and working on my answers….Gotta earn that award! Thanks again sweetie pie!

  9. I am glad you have supportive family & friends, and truly am.

    I wish you voice and loud at it.

    So glad you have a writing coach also. I read a quote by Coleridge today & think it will mean something to you also (I’ve put it in my header banner):

    “Until this ghastly tale is told, this heart within me burns.”

    GOOD LUCK xx

  10. “. . . . from Creative Memories in Harold Pinter’s Old Times by Charles Fernyhough.”
    I am very interested in this subject ‘Creative Memories”. When I started blogging I wrote mainly about my ‘Childhood Memories’. I often wondered how much is as it really happened and how much is more or less creative. However, even if a you things maybe I describe in a way as it actually didn’t happen, I feel I can still write about everything the way I remember it. I would welcome it, if other members of my family would write about their memories in a similar fashion. I’d find it enormously interesting to see how our memories differ. All the differences in what is remembered I do not find disturbing at all as long as people tell honestly about their experiences.

    I think in your last section of this post you mention prayer. And you say: “So its acceptance that I must practice.”

    I find it so very important to accept myself the way I am and to believe that I am unique and loved by the creator. I still feel anxious about certain things at times. But prayer or meditating or just being still for a while and looking at the things around me I can enjoy in this world, all this in the end makes me whole again. I trust help is always near even if I sometimes don’t see it straight away.

    • I so understand all of what you are saying. So very true! As far as childhood memories, I didn’t start recovering them until my fifties. I spent a fair amount of time trying to get them to match other’s recollections of the same time and place to meet with such frustration. What I came away with is that I remember it in a certain way. Period. I don’t know how that stuff got there but the more I learn to listen to that version only, the more peace I have. One of the things I treated myself to was a membership in the National Association of Memoir Writers. I don’t really post there but joined to have access to the online seminars about memoir. There is a lot on the topic of the truth of the past, how it may differ from the stories of other family members and how to deal with that. Listening to those workshops gave me permission to allow my story to be simply about the way I remember.

      And oh, how I struggle with valuing myself! Something that comes so natural to some doesn’t to me but I practice it every minute of every day…and the more wonderful folks I meet in this world of bloggers/survivors/artists/visionaries, the more connected and “real” I become….hmmm….kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s