Thursday, April 12, 2012

How It Feels to Try to Heal

By Ryan Small

Writing my "Flip your Script" story, "Finally, Meeting Mother," was one of the hardest things I have ever done. A lot of times growing up we face problems. When we get older we think that avoiding these problems “helps” the healing process. It doesn't work that way.

For years now, I have avoided talking about my mother and thinking about all of the memories contained in my story. Finally, though, writing it down on paper seemed to bring all of my emotions out. When I was writing this story, I felt all kinds of emotions: I was happy, I was sad and I even shed a few tears. I won't try to pretend it was easy because it wasn’t. While writing this story, it almost felt like I was reliving the pain that I had to endure so long ago.

Originally, when the Flip Your Script exercise was introduced, and I was asked to consider "flipping" my first piece of writing, I toyed with the idea. But then I realized it was impossible. How on earth could I flip this piece? How could I step into the shoes of a mother I never knew? That's when I realized I just couldn't. I felt it would be best if I wrote the story, and left it at that, just as it was. In a sense, by me thanking my mother, and embracing her, I did in fact "flip" the situation. I did find compassion for her, if not forgiveness.

Writing this story took a huge burden off my shoulders. It helped me no longer fear the idea of confronting a painful memory. It gave me the courage to go back to a time I thought I could never find the strength to go back to. Now that it is written, I can say that I feel free. I no longer feel like I'm holding onto the heartache that molded me into the nonchalant person that I have molded myself to be.

I honestly have not cried in many years. Why? Because I felt that by not crying, I was avoiding pain and that was helping me to heal. But it wasn't. When you avoid an issue that has caused you pain, the emotion just builds up and sits on your heart like an unwanted visitor. Then when you come face to face with the pain, you can finally send the visitor on its way and it no longer weighs your heart down. I never thought I would be relieved of this weight, but now that I am, it is the best feeling in the world.

Ryan Small is a freshman at the University at Albany, SUNY.

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