Friday, June 05, 2015

Writing Through Emotional Upheaval by Pamela Mytroen

     Our family took a hit in March and yet I was required to continue writing blogs, articles, and to edit pieces. At first I told my husband that I would never write again. (Picture the Drama Queen). Anxiety made it impossible for me to sleep or focus. But after a few days I was able to sit down and concentrate on a piece that needed editing. I found that if I compartmentalized, I could carry on. Now, when I write, I set a timer and I block out those relentless questions of what the future holds. "If I want to dwell on it later, I can," I tell myself. While this may not be the best approach to dealing with stress, it is working for me.

     There are still times when the situation flares up and pulls me down, and I must confess that I just can't get my focus to write. This is not something that is going to go away; I will likely be wading through it for years. Somehow I need to learn perseverance and push through. There are deadlines to meet and people waiting for my words. I can't just give up.

     I recently read the autobiography of Marina NeMat, "Prisoner of Tehran" (Penguin Canada, 2007). It was a difficult season of writing for her as it meant re-opening memories that she had wanted to seal off forever. But she wrote it so that the world might see what goes on at Evin Prison in Iran. She wanted the truth to be told.

"Prisoner of Tehran". A memoir by Marina Nemat. 

     Shortly after she and her husband immigrated to Canada, she met an Iranian friend at a dinner party in Toronto and by coincidence discovered that they had been imprisoned together in Evin. After a few phone calls back and forth, and talks about their time as political prisoners, Marina's new friend said she didn't want to talk to her anymore. "I can't do it. It's too hard. It's too painful," she said, her voice choked by tears. Marina understood and didn't argue, but it was this type of silence that had held her captive. "She had made her choice--and I had made mine" (page 4).  Marina felt that her own story needed to be told. She continued to write about the atrocities she endured and survived. Some of the emotions she experienced were shame, guilt, fear, and deep sorrow as she unlocked the carefully guarded memories, yet she carried on and finished writing her story so that the world might know the truth.

     How do you persevere through life's interruptions? What techniques do you use to write under the heavy cloak of emotional turmoil?

Pamela Mytroen

My sweet grand-daughter born in April with Mama watching closely in the background!




Susan Harris said...

Thanks for your transparency, Pam. I was recently clearing out some old files and the sorting process brought back some sad and painful memories. I realized that if I still felt pain then I was not healed. I prayed aloud that I will not be enslaved to the past. That I had reaped my consequences and I will speak my words in the direction I want my life to go. Today (and last Saturday) I burned the old trash and symbolically attested that what is past is gone. I pray that The Lord will give you words of faith that will speak to the direction He wants your life to go. Congratulations on the grand baby.

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Pamela - I like the idea of setting a timer for worries. Also, I've found that my upheavals have ended up in articles. What I've learned from them is always helpful to someone else. Love the photo of you with baby. I too had a grandchild in April.
Blessings, Rose

Peter Black said...

Congratulations, Grandma!
And Pam, thanks for sharing your struggle, and your timer idea. Thanks also for the thumbnail sketch regarding Marina NeMat - an interesting story.
Pushing through may sometimes seem to call for more emotional energy than we feel we can muster or sustain. Perhaps Susan's symbolic approach can provide a good closure and resetting point for some folk.
I've found, too, like Rose, that some of life's challenges provide writing 'fodder' that might prove helpful for others. ~~+~~

northernpoet said...

Thank you for your transparency, Pam. I have been going through stuff and finding it hard to write. It helps to know I'm not the only one.

fudge4ever said...

Hi Susan, Rose, and Peter,
Thank you for your encouragement. I do agree that some of this struggle will make it onto the page where hopefully someday it will help somebody else - when the timing is right! Nice to hear from each one of you!

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