My Write to Live

blood on paperWhen I was a teenager I had suicidal thoughts, and on some unfortunate occasions, suicdal tendencies. I was bullied by the other kids and wanted to turn to the school staff for help, but most of the teachers I had were authoritatian tyrants or simply uncaring of my well-being. A vice principal I once had talked at me with throwaway advice without taking any time to understand how I truly felt. That same vice principal would later in the year fail to prevent a fist fight I got into, even though I had provided him a ton of evidence it was going to happen. Needless to say, I didn’t have the school staff’s trust because whenever I would defend myself from bullies, I would be the one who would get in trouble and shamed for my behaviour, for my emotions. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, not even my own family, I felt completely and utterly alone.

Or so I thought.

One of the few things I would find solace in was the music of Korn,along with other angsty nu-metal bands, but Korn was my all time favourite since I was a kid. I related to the raw frustration Jonathan Davis’ lyrics were written with and they inspired me to write some of my own in the same vain. Whether the lyrics were about the bullies I wanted to take down, the girls who rejected me, or the general feeling of emptiness by the end of the school day, I wrote lyrics to release these feelings somewhere safe where I wouldn’t get in trouble or be shamed for my behaviour, or my emotions.

Fast forward to my adult years, there was a time where my life was falling apart far worse than I had experienced in my teen years. To name very few issues I had out of a myriad of others, I was getting into intense fights with my family, had to leave a writing critique group due to fundamental philosophical differences, and worst of all found out that an ex-girlfriend of mine had committed suicide.

It was August 2014, I was unemployed and directionless. I had very little money left from a caregiving job I was severely underpaid for and felt empty. Now having grown up and survived my adolesence, I no longer contemplated suicide, especially considering the tragedy of my ex-girlfriend. I no longer cut myself and no longer imagined myself beating my chest until my heart gave out, but I still felt like my life was meaningless and that I didn’t have much reason to live.

Not until I journaled about everything that has been going on for me at the time. Not until I remembered that I had a half finished 2nd draft of a novel just sitting on my computer left untouched for many months. That novel of course was It Starts at Home, the very same anti-child-abuse themed novel that I had fundamental philosophical differences about with my writing group, likewise with my family, both of which, of course, are stories for another time.

For many months after leaving my writing group, I felt discouraged from ever writing again. But when I got back into it and got on my way to completing the second half of the 2nd draft, those feelings of inadequacy and meaninglessness disappeared. Those feelings of regret over my existence were all gone as well, for I rediscovered the joy and meaning I found in writing this story. Sure I picked myself up, applied for work, and got two jobs I put a ton of passion into, but they could never compare to my true calling. My true calling that I drowned out with the noisy distraction called “work.”

Of course! The answer to the question “what am I gonna do with my life?” has been right in front of me all this time, right under my nose, hiding in plain sight: I need to write.

And I stress the word need because writing is a necessity to my life just as much as blood is. To me there is no difference between the blood that drips through my veins, and the ink I bleed on to the page.

I was born a writer. Even when I was as little as seven years old I would skip school to write stories and draw comic books. I’m in love with stories. Whether they’re acted out in a TV show or film, printed in a book or set of lyrics, stories are what makes my life worth living. Not to mention the stories of our lives as I also find a great interest in the real life stories of those around me. All of our lives on this planet are a bunch of stories complete with their own twists and turns, character development arcs, and crossover narratives.

Stories, in any form, help me feel like I’m not alone. To know that others feel the same way I do about life and the human condition, that makes my habitual confusion and anxiety managable. From the lyrics and books I’ve read, movies and TV shows I’ve watched, all my favourite stories have resonated with me on an emotional level. They put the storm in my head into words and action, sequenced in honely crafted narrative that express the growth of character and the universal human desire to overcome life’s many obstacles.

As a writer, this is what I want to achieve. I want to strike a chord in those who read my lyrics, comfort those who will read my books, and let them know that all these confusing and conflicting emotions are all part of simply being human, and although there is no cure to them, they can be managed and understood.

As a writing coach, this is what I want to inspire in other writers. I want to help other writers, as I’ve painstakingly helped myself, to realize the power they have in putting their innermost vulnerable thoughts into the written word. The power to make readers, like myself, feel a lot less alone when life gets them down and when meaning seems all but lost.

The written word is My Write to Live.

It’s Your Write to Live.

 

eBook Review: Dear Self by Erik Lugnet

dear self“Life can be difficult sometimes. It is not made easier by the sometimes overwhelming inner voices that criticize us into oblivion.”

So how can one climb out of this oblivion and learn to tame the inner dialogue that plagues many of us, thus preventing us from living happy, functional lives?

There are many answers to this question that require years of time, money, and energy invested into self work through journaling, therapy, and introspection. If that sounds like a daunting task, you no longer have to fear if the investment will be worth it or not.

With Erik Lugnet’s 17 page introduction to introspection, Dear Self gives you a quick and concise glimpse into the world of self-therapy and journaling. If you’re thinking of going to therapy, but are unsure if it may be right for you, this book is a great guide to trying out the process on your own to see if it may be up your alley.

The book begins with a list defining the traits of your True Self. It’s calm, empirical, assertive, honest, empathetic, curious, and compassionate. If you feel that you may have lost these traits due to the hardships of life, Dear Self makes a case as to how and why you could go about reclaiming your greatness.

Erik invites you to be curious and compassionate with yourself, and usually it does help to calm the storm in your head, but that’s not enough. Reworking your inner dialogue can be made easier by journaling and Dear Self briefly touches upon different mediums from the traditional longhand, to audio and possibly video. (What do you think vloggers are doing?) The invitation to write out your emotional experience in a gentle and patient way is possibly one of the simplest, but most powerful suggestions made in the book.

Then of course there’s also a small glimpse of Internal Family Systems to help understand the ambivelance most, if not all of us experience when it comes to understanding our emotions and motivations.

You do not need to be fully educated in the IFS approach to understand this aspect of Dear Self (though itis suggested) because it is explained in such an obvious way. Basically, our entire beings are comprised of different sub-personalities, and Erik’s main principle remains: learn how to approach these parts with curiousity and compassion.

At the beginning of the book, the caveat is put forth that a lot of what is shared is due to personal experience. I didn’t get that impression until much later in the book when Erik begins to talk about specific examples from his real life, most notably in the closing section that barely scratches the surface of the journey he’s been through. I believe that more examples of his own IFS conversations and journaling experience could have enhanced those sections to make the book feel less formal and more intimate, since intimacy with The Self is what this book is meant to promote.

Furthermore, in the section covering where The Self has gone, there is the example of a mother who is easily disturbed by noise, and how that might affect how she would raise her child as just an inconvenience. I think that example could have been fleshed out more if there was a bit more detail about how and what may have caused her aversion to loud noises by going into her history with possibly being yelled at, or witnessing loud confrontations between her parents to drive the point home.

There are also a few misplaced commas and syntax errors a simple re-read can fix, but all in all, Dear Self is a quick and concise read that should help you start on your path to self-knowledge. A revised and possibly a slightly extended version can help work out the kinks of this powerhouse of a debut book.

If you’re still wondering if the investment in yourself is worth it, I would argue that it would be. Because self-knowledge is a fundamental human trait, and without it, how can we possibly know how people relate to us if we don’t even know ourselves?

You can download Dear Self by Erik Lugnet for free at Smashwords, or if you’d like to support my friend and purchase it for $0.99, you can do so at Amazon!