Permission to Speak Freely

This past week, after dropping Daddy off at work, Homer and I had a free day in front of us. The thought of a pecan cinnamon roll from Flying Apron Cafe, a vegan, gluten-free eatery in town, sounded SO good. (Doesn’t it always?) I am neither vegan nor gluten-free, but damn that’s a tasty treat! As usual, when I suggested it, Homer said, “Wait.. what cafe?” And when I explained what it was like to jog his memory, he said, “But let’s go to the OTHER cafe! The good cafe!” That meant Soul Food Books, and since I love it, too, how could I resist? Homer likes it more because there’s a huge play corner filled with interesting toys. Plus he loves their cookies. Bonus: many of their pastries are FROM Flying Apron Cafe!! So off we went.

Once Homer had taken a few bites of the blueberry scone we ended up with and finished his cookie, he was off to play. I noticed some free newsletter things just sitting on the table, so I picked one up, and read the headlines as I sipped my foamy caramel mocha. Just under the main header, an article title popped out at me: “The Power of YOUR STORY How Telling Your Truth Sets You Free” by Judith Fertig.

It was a short read, but the words truly resonated. There was a soldier who couldn’t heal from PTSD until he wrote a personal, emotional memoir about it. And an explanation of polygraph results in which heart rates go up with lies, and normalize with the truth. That makes sense – lying is stressful! “Our cells know the truth,” is one line that really struck me, a quote attributed to Sondra Barrett, PhD. It goes on to talk about bloggers’ stories making the writer feel heard, and the reader feel a sense of connection when they identify themselves in someone else’s writing. And how people who know and tell their family’s stories are more likely to recover better and faster from illnesses. It’s a really interesting article, and the publication is called Natural Awakenings, in case you have it in your own local hippie coffee shop. 😉 It’s absolutely worth the read!

**Oh my gosh, I found it online: The Healing Power of Story. Check it out!

When I finished it, I thought… how long have I been wanting to really blog again? At least six months, as I started this blog site on January 1st. But it’s been much longer than that. Years, really. I hold back often, for fear of getting negative comments. Or perhaps worse, NO comments! No interest at all. Or arguments, and jeez gods, how I hate confrontation!! I have just been resisting something I really want to do, and I felt like this article was just the nudge I needed. “Go on, tell your story,” is a message I can really get behind.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved stories. Especially my mom’s. I loved how when we were little, she’d sit at the foot of my bed to tell my brother and me this ongoing story about Petey the Parrot and his band of friends. She just made it up as she went along. Homer asks me for stories about vampires and mummies in the woods, but I feel like mine aren’t all that great sometimes. I bet my mom probably felt the same way, but I loved them, and I’m sure Homer loves my stories too! More than that, I loved the true stories my mom told, of her life, of my brothers’ and my births, of my brothers’ toddler antics before I was ever born, of our pets… Even today, I’ll ask her about those stories, and I love hearing them as much I ever have.

In school, I felt so intrigued by the idea of a time before writing, in which stories were told and memorized by villagers, and re-told again and again. Imagining those bardic nights sitting around a fire, sharing those stories with one another… what a beautiful tradition. So imagine my excitement when I discovered my tribe of local Druids in the area, an earth based spiritual tradition, down in Los Angeles. They had a bardic circle! I was in heaven! Our bardic circle was mostly musical, but we wrote a lot of aspects of our rituals, too, and even had a Bards’ Night during a camping retreat one year. That remains one of my most fun memories, singing and telling stories and laughing with each other late into the night. I miss those folks!!

Somehow, even though I celebrate stories and story-telling, I’d shied away from telling my own stories for a long time. I think partly I did so to avoid feeling vulnerable. For a while there, a lot of my personal stories have intertwined with stuff that’s kind of hard to talk about, like anxiety and miscarriage. No one wants to be the Debbie Downer of the party, you know?

That’s why I’m grateful to have come across this article when I did. It reminded me why I love story telling, and why it’s great to go ahead and share, that sharing heals, that telling these stories is worthwhile, for all of us. I guess there’s a reason there are 152,000,000 blogs out there in the world. It’s been all too easy to keep asking myself, why bother? What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said? But the truth is… my own story! That’s what each of us has that no one else has. Our own story, our own voice. So no more listening to that inner critic whispering that no one will care, or that my writing isn’t good enough so why bother. Fuck that critic! I wouldn’t take that crap from anyone, so why do I take it from myself?? That stops now. With the inspiration from that article, and for the sake of following my own desires, I’m giving myself permission to just go for it, write, and see where it goes. I’m ready.

If you have a blog and want to share how writing it has influenced your life, let me know in the comments!



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