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  • Writer's pictureAnne Heffron


So many people want to write some version of their life story and, even though it's something they lived, something they know, they can't do it.

I think one reason might be emotions.

Draw a line from side of a piece of paper to the other. That's your timeline, your life from birth to now. String some "beads" along the line. Those are feelings you had during your life that you didn't know how to process at the time, so they hardened and pearled somewhere in your bodymind. You carry these unresolved feelings that have some kind of weight or charge. You might not have the words to set them free, but maybe you have frequent headaches or stomachaches or chronic fatigue or some undiagnosed joint pain.

Compressed emotions need space, and they will demand your attention. They want to be heard, to be storied, to be felt and told.

Let's say you are writing about leaving home for college, and suddenly your mind goes blank or you have a strong need to go do anything but stay in your seat. Suddenly the paper or computer or you are opposing magnets, and you can't get close to the material. What happened to your story? Why can't you remember what happened next? Why does your brain not want you to think about it any more?

Maybe you are in one of those emotional doorways where the door shut in the past when too much too fast too soon happened and part of your awareness left your body so you could survive the onslaught of sensation. This is now a story that wants to be told, like a baby that is ready to be born. The thing about birth is that it's shockingly painful and messy.

People often have a romantic notion of what writing their story will be like. They aren't counting on being on the floor, writhing in pain at the memory of their dog being hit by a car. Why write if you are going to fall apart? Why not take up macrame instead?

Because it's not about falling apart. It's about waking up. It's about feeling even more like yourself.

It's about freedom.

I'll write more about how I've learned to go into the emotional doorways tomorrow. I have to go get some ice cream now because it is July.

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