I’ve always been a storyteller for as far back as I can remember. I told stories to my imaginary friend, my dolls, later when I played with my brother, and as a teenager, like most girls, I began to keep a journal. I wrote down the stories of my life, my first crush, a good day, a bad day, fights and observations with and about friends. Writing gave me peace and helped me find resolution. Then with schoolwork, I moved away from writing, and rediscovered it only in college when I started writing my first mini novel, but never finished it. I didn’t have the full confidence in myself to really get back to writing until I’d graduated from university and was in the workforce. It happened in the strangest way too. I was working as a receptionist/admin assistant for some sales people. They were a nice, but demanding bunch. One of them would really stress me out. At the same time, I was engaged and planning my wedding, so there was stress all around me, you could say, even if some of it was good stress. 🙂 At lunch time I sat down in frustration after a difficult morning handling his requests, and out came two poems. I stared at the page dumbfounded. “What the hell?” I remember thinking. These are pretty good! Then later that evening two more came. I ended up in the next few years publishing three poetry anthologies, and, to this day, I write the best poetry when stressed, angry or depressed, though there are some happy poems I have composed that are good. As the writer in me emerged, short stories started coming out, and then later novels. I have penned quite a few, but like most writers, it’s hard to get them out the door into publishers’ waiting arms. Life gets in the way. Paying bills gets in the way. Having an exceptional child with exceptional needs gets in the way.
For the first two and a half years of Michael’s life, I did not do much writing other than some love poems directed at Michael. I was so happy to be a Mom. Then autism hit, and everything came to a standstill. I could not even think about writing. Every spare moment was devoted to therapy, working with Michael, his routine etc. Only about two years after his diagnosis, could I even write about the autism in poetry, and then I started writing short pieces about coming to terms with what he has and being his advocate. I shared the piece at my writers’ group, and moved several of the members to tears. I came out as an Exceptional Mom with an Exceptional Child to my group, who had become dear friends over the years! It felt liberating and wonderful. Writing freed me from the chains of living with all these emotions inside of me. Releasing them helped me become a better Mom, a better person. Then after a burnout I experienced last year, writing came through again. My therapist recommended self-compassion exercises to help me be mindful of my thoughts and be good to myself.
Have any of you Moms ever tried writing? It is a wonderful tool to come to terms with your feelings. There is something about seeing them on paper and visible before your eyes, I think. I am a huge advocate of therapeutic journaling and writing exercises to help you in any journey you are on. A great website to find them at is http://www.selfcompassion.org. The woman who studies this subject herself is the mother of an autistic exceptional son. Her journey is incredible. Try it. It can be for your eyes only. I speak to Michael about my writing. He is fascinated that I write stories. One day when he is ready I will share the stories I write about him. Good luck on your healing journeys Exceptional Moms! I hope the therapeutic exercises can help you also move ahead in your incredible lives. Until next time.