Begin Again

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The coffee house music spills out of a speaker behind me as I sip my second cup of American brew. I’ve just made a few notes in my journal, indulging my daily need to drag a pen across paper. The leather-bound book helps me unravel the chaos that is my mind. I’m what some might call a high functioning bi-polar. With daily doses of Risperidone and Citalopram, I set aside the anxiety and depression that would otherwise plague me, allowing me to maintain two jobs, my own business, and motherhood. This post marks my return to personal blogging after a ten-year hiatus.

Long before I became an adjunct faculty member, graduate writing consultant, and independent writing coach, I understood the power of words. My childhood was spent in libraries, a safe harbor in an otherwise unpredictable existence. I loved the quiet, the calm, and the rows and rows of books. I devoured the evidence and the imagination, fact and fiction. The world broadened and deepened with each word, every gentle swoosh of a page sweeping open a new horizon.

I began to mold words of my own, like clay on a potter’s wheel: the self-indulgent poetry of adolescence, the surprise twist of amateur fiction. In college, I learned to craft an academic argument, how to identify and cater to a specific audience, and how to determine which literary form best suited my intended purpose. As a graduate student, I blogged my way through my thesis research, connecting with a community of avid wordsmiths like myself.  Eventually, I discovered that the most important stories were the ones we told ourselves.

Without realizing it, I had stumbled upon narrative therapy, a form of therapy that focuses on how individual experiences are transformed into personal stories, giving life meaning and shaping our identities. According to narrative therapy, it is not the event per se that is significant, but how we perceive it, how we narrate the meaning of that event to ourselves. This is a life changing concept. Once you realize that you control how everything affects you, your reality becomes limitless.

Just as I once blogged my way through the complex literature of my Master’s degree, I will now blog my way through the composite narratives of my mind, exploring and rewriting the stories I tell myself about the world and my place in it. I reach out to connect with a community that values the power of those narratives, our narratives, the pushing, pulling tide of question and comprehension. As we share our stories we challenge each other, console each other, and make sense of our world. We each contribute. This is my story.

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