I am currently teaching online. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t know how to accomplish said feat. I started this blog with the idea of getting people to find the value in keeping a journal. A regular writing regimen that allows the individual to find the value within their own experience.
Well over thirty years ago, I read something that made a world of sense to me.
Story is good medicine (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD).
I understood that statement to mean so many things. Medicine is meant to heal, and story, read, or told, can heal and does change lives. But, that is especially true when the story is our own. We are the only person that it is essential that we come to know fully. How else to be our own best friend? We think we know, but do we really? I found that regular (daily) writing, was a gift only I could give to me. It was an ongoing conversation filled with surprising curves that affected my ongoing experience. Putting my thoughts and feelings on paper, gave them a new and sometimes unexpected meaning. It altered how I saw myself, my purpose and role in my own life, as well as that of others. It gave me permission to change those things I didn’t like and often even suggested ways of doing just that.
And best of all, it gave me the opportunity to do something I’d never have considered possible: teaching others how to make friends with themselves and to really listen to their own story, in their own words. And to do so, at the University from which I had graduated almost ten years before. A late in life career change, I would not have expected, and one of the most rewarding experiences I had so far encountered.
This blog was started as an extension of that experience, when I was retired on disability. It was what I knew and I simply wanted to go on sharing it. But, like most things it blossomed into much more (three more blogs, to be honest). It became my introduction into a global community of writers (mostly poets), but far from my own meager expectations.
Which brings me to this current writing. The online class I am teaching is all about finding the main character within ones own story. That unique individual who actually made the journey of her own life, sometimes completely unaware of what her choices and decisions meant, and where they would eventually lead her. And, as is my usual practice, doing the assignments right along with my students. Thus, reaping the reward of my own years of journal writing. The memories, and even the chronology, are easily assessable. I’ve written about those details and they are lodged in my mind, but are also still taking on new tangents because of all that I’ve learned while living my life.
We are currently living in a strange new world. A world that is bound and determined to once again, redefine the role of the feminine, and not always in a kinder and gentler manner. We are being asked to abolish, at the very least, fifty years of history. Fifty years of constant battle that allowed women to find a new role, other than the one carved out by a male-dominated society.
March is Women’s History Month. Her-story is very different from his. As a matter of fact, there are famous Historian’s who never even mention her as a viable source of any value in the living of his experience, other than as the keeper of his household, which allowed him to go about his real business of making sure the world understood his top value, and all too often, at her expense. Is that the real world we want to live in and pass on to our children, and our daughters?
I have been profoundly effected by reading my students’ stories, as well as writing my own. We are engaged in creating yet another piece of Her-story. Claiming our own space and time, as well as experience. There could be no better time for such activity. We are the source and the other half of that story. We are the nurturers of that society, but so much more. We can also be its healers. By telling our stories, we encourage others to do the same. To become the best that we, and they, can be, and finally make our society genuinely whole for the first time in recorded history.
Love that crayon picture, Elizabeth. There is a lot to gain from becoming your own friend.