It is a crazy long and slow process of getting myself out of the cloistered existence I am so good at living. I have lots of excuses for staying hidden away, but psychotherapy has been my way out.
So of course you’ll understand that even though it may sound terrible to you, I gladly went to a group therapy weekend last year. A whole weekend of working out issues, with the help of strangers.
I spent my time that weekend trying to figure out why I wrote what I think is a very good book and have not tried very hard to get it published. We talked at length about what was holding me back from taking the next steps since I clearly care about this project and have worked hard to make it as good as I can. The large underlying problem is that secrets were the mainstay of my childhood so telling anything that might be secret to the world feels wrong. But an entire memoir seems pretty deliberate doesn’t it? I kept telling myself that sharing my ideas was somehow going to hurt people including myself and so I couldn’t possibly publish my book. Also there was the problem that the people who’d read it so far knew me and therefore their rave reviews were probably because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings, or liked it because they knew me personally. So people I was meeting for the first time that weekend agreed to read it to help dispel some of those fears.
I shipped three copies out into the mail to people I’d just met. And then yesterday, months later, a package arrived back to me. It was the manuscript and these words, I finished your book… I cried at the end and I can’t remember crying at a book before. I was so touched by the continual effort you extended to connect with your family and the love you did and did not share. Guess I’m being selfish applying your experience to my own life but I have been at a point where it’s been easier not to connect with certain family members than to risk continually coming away hurt and crying! But you have planted the idea that perhaps the purpose of life is to keep trying.”
Planting seeds of hope for building or rebuilding relationships is exactly what I wanted to do and I thank this reader I barely know for spelling it out, and sharing it so I can see better why I am so engaged in this labor of love, and that I AM able to convey this important message.