Reviewing those written memories

I was up late last night and decided to read through some of the stories that I have written. Some became many and soon I noticed an underlying theme, as a character I always come out the victim of life or circumstance.

This theme is based on a belief inadvertently imposed upon my young mind somewhere between birth and age five. The belief is that females are the weaker gender. Though I don’t believe that to be true it seems as though a majority of my writing puts this belief across to the reader.

It is easy enough to do, our parents are handed beliefs at birth, as were their parents and so on. We are spoon-fed these, though deep down we may not believe them, yet in reality we might be portraying that we do.

Personally, I believe I have subconsciously done this as a way of keeping my place in the family immortalized as others see me, or are supposed to see me. This action is unfair to me as a human being, and to my readers. My writing loses its authenticity because it is not mine, it is me regurgitating someone else’s perception of me as a person. This would be the exact opposite of what memoir writing is all about. 

My task now is to examine, I mean really tear down, every story and be sure that I am doing my life a good turn by writing in my own words and spending less time worrying about how others have perceived me. 

I challenge you to do the same, to really notice your underlying theme, to be true to yourself, to respect yourself, and write the way it is, rather than the way it is supposed to be.

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My Inner Critic

I had just walked in the door from school, before I even opened the front door I could hear Mom yelling. I should have just walked away, but I could tell the yelling was coming from my room, and my 14 year old mind knew it had to have the last word.

Approaching from behind I thought I could sneak up on her, but the floorboards creaked and she spun on her foot to direct her rant at some place other than the wall. “What are these?” she yelled as a not so friendly greeting. “What are they?”

She held in her hands a lot of notes that I had written. To my mind there was nothing bad in them, maybe a bit personal, but nothing bad. “It looks like you read them all, so why don’t you tell me?” my mouth shot out before my brain could stop it.

Still screaming she quoted my carefully written cursive as to attest to the evil that laid in her hands.

“What’s the problem? Obviously I didn’t give them to him, so I don’t see a problem!”

Those words earned me a slap across the face, probably long after I deserved it for talking back, but my mind raced with a retort to her violent outburst, “You’re a bitch!” I screamed at Mom.

I think she was too mad to respond, if she had, I’m certain I wouldn’t have lived to tell the story. Oh, wait, she did kind of respond … she grabbed my head, held it toward the light and examined my eyes, “Are you high?”

No, I wasn’t, unless you count really pissed about my privacy being intruded upon as a high on life sort of thing.

For once I let her have the final word, “If you don’t want anyone to read it, then you shouldn’t write it.” The words have rang in my mind for decades. I often wonder how I can write what I write with that constant reminder. Last night it dawned on me, I can’t … sure, I can write facts, I might even make you laugh, but have I ever brought you to tears when I’ve written the facts? My guess is “no.” That’s because, as other writers have pointed out, I can’t get to the emotion, I miss it almost every time, unless it is humor.

Mom passed away eight years ago, and still her warning shadows everything that I write. Especially now that I am staying in her home. It is amazing how just a few words can inhibit someone’s abilities. So last night I sat down and wrote what I would say to her if she were still alive, “You are welcome to spend lots of time with me, but you are no longer welcome to read what I write. You are to critical … judgmental … overbearing.”

Since then I have approached tons of subjects that I feel I can write with emotion, but haven’t had time to write them. However, my list of memories has grown from 144 to 437 since last night. I have realized that this memory has crippled my ability to write for a long time, and maybe it is time that I get to have the final word.