Group therapy saved my life. The hidden irony in this statement is that when these six other people entered my world I was doing everything I could to detach myself from the universe. My life felt upside down and kiddywampus. My mental outlook was stuck in a black hole with me grasping to the end of a rope with both hands. Despite my state of mind, I was being pushed by an unforeseen force to get my writing moving. I couldn’t see where to start when I was feeling as empty as I did. The invitation to this group came. I decided to give it a chance. To see what it was like. The first time I met with this group I had serious doubts.
How in this great big vast world can six people, mostly strangers, meeting once a week, be of any help to me?
Amazingly, those six kooky individuals have become my family. They are my brothers and my sisters. Truth be told, we are not a part of any counseling group, although we probably should be! Nope, we are a writing group: my Flying M-Inklings. It was by chance, or was it, that these six other writers would become my rope holders.
My story isn’t pretty. If it were, I would be done with it by now. No joke. It would be easier to write a story of a beautiful childhood. Putting down in words the ugliness that is my memoir is like reliving the pain. Drudging through the past is extremely exhausting. Typing, crying, typing, and holding my head in my hands, pacing the room and typing some more, it is in essence therapy. I compare sitting at my computer pounding out the memories that haunt me to dangling from a rope. The rope is my journey of writing my story. I have two ways to go, up to the top which means my book is finished, or going down, I give up because it is too emotionally draining. Many times in the last year and a half I have wanted to quit. My M-Inklings won’t allow that. They are the ones holding the rope at the top, keeping it steady. The group encourages me to reach my next hand up on that rope and keep moving, so I don’t fall into the mud at the bottom.
Working on this book has brought closure on issues I thought I’d never be able to face or resolved and I know there is more to come. Writing has opened my eyes to things in my life that I never realized were the heart of the problem. The three-way light in my brain; with low, medium and high settings, being switched to the brightest setting to reveal the truth living in the pit of my being. Isn’t all of that what therapy does for people? My writing and my Flying M-Inklings are cleansing on my soul. It is the reason I understand why I cringe at the thought of a certain holiday ever year. It is the reason I finally saw the root of my eating disorder. There is nothing more liberating than to be able to release something once and for all, to walk away from it stronger and with confidence. Too bad I can’t pay them for what they are worth to me, because they deserve so much for their support.
Being a part of a writing group while writing a memoir has been a blessing. I would recommend that to the writers out there, if your story is heavy, get some rope holders. Let them lift you up when you can’t stand on your own.