Writing Vulnerability

The act of writing, for me, has attached to it a complicated web of emotions and conditions.

I have long struggled to complete projects, be they academic or personal, and whilst executive dysfunction plays its role I have come to realise that I am a vulnerable writer.

In every sentence, I infuse a part of myself, I put it forward for critique and rejection. I once was told that I have a strong writing voice, now I don’t know how true that is, but as I work I do hear myself a though there is a voice over playing.

Does anyone else experience that?

However, this is quite problematic when you are a naturally anxious person with a history of shattered identity and self esteem issues. To be aware of your voice when writing means they everything is an exposure. Blogging has been helpful in allowing me to take chances with how others perceive this said voice and though it is scary, I am thoroughly enjoying writing semi-regularly.

By consistently writing I am learning not only being vulnerable but I am learning that it okay to be vulnerable.

The Healing Process of Writing Memory

Oh, 2017. You have been an adventure.

It’s been months since I have been able to even think about living let alone writing. I have been going through the painful process of healing my mind, and although I had long ago come to terms with my depression, what I had never faced were my actual emotions. I often struggle to identify them and have always just labelled things as ‘depressed’, ‘mad’ or ‘okay’. Now I am coming to terms with the fact that depression is clinical, not emotional. That it masked many of my feelings and that in combination with my neurologically atypical brain I never learnt to properly identify, nor separate, different emotions.

These last few months I have been actively taking the time to assess my thoughts and feelings, and what I have discovered is that beneath the chemical imbalance (that is now nicely controlled with medication) was sadness; a deep sorrow that steams from a place of hurt and regret.

Misdiagnosed mental illness, undiagnosed autism, abuse, loss and trauma have all played a part in my past, but, clouded by the label of depression I never had to fully experience nor begin the process of healing from them.

With my depression controlled for the first time in years the emotions that were attached to my life events came flooding into my mind and come February it was all too much to handle. For the first time in my life I have been unable to hide behind the depressive fog, cloistered in anxieties, drowned by self-destruction.

I have had to face the regret of not speaking out, and the sorrow of not being able to. I thought that maybe keeping a journal would help but I found myself unable to find the words. It was as though every time I attempted to reach for a memory it would dive deeper into my subconscious and further from my reach.

My dreams became vivid and scary. I spent many nights, in months past, waking myself up in a terror – not quite able to remember yet having a heady sense of despair and the sticky cling of fear.

In my waking life I felt stuck.

School was pushed to one side, therapy felt incomplete, my mind was restless and my soul refused to be nourished. Then few weeks ago I was going through one of my many piles of books. These particular books were hidden away not because they were ‘bad’ but because they represented failure; the second degree that I did not complete.

The second chance that slipped away from me.

Seeing those books hurt. The regret had me in tears, anger (an emotion I have felt overwhelmed by in the past) pushed up and once that had passed I felt broken. But I decided that I could not keep avoiding what these books represented, and sifting through them – placing them on a shelf – I remembered the classes that they were purchased for. One particular class focused on the writing of memory and trauma in French literature including autofiction. Through this medium Hervé Guibert was able to explore living (and dying) of AIDs, Annie Erneaux could examine abortion, her sexuality, and complicated family relationships, and George Perec the uncertainty of memory and the trauma of war. None of these are light topics and yet each writer was able to use fiction to brutally examine reality. They pushed at the boundaries of what is real, of what is truth and how that changes and evolves.

The idea of autofiction is one that appeals to me and it broke through my post-NaNo writing slump. My memories are still unclear, my emotions are not all identified and yet healing is happening. Through the creation of characters I am experiencing my past. It hurts. My God how it hurtsI have to take regular breaks and I am being extremely careful with what memories I am interacting with, but I finally feel like I am engaging in the idea of radical self-care that led me to creating this blog.

The healing process of writing memory

As with my memories my writing is fragmented, and not all of it is for others to read but it is all a part of my personal exercise in healing. Within these words a story is beginning to develop. It is a creative means to explore the inconsistency and unreliable nature of memory, but I also want to look at the hereditary nature of secrets, and the legacy of trauma through at least three generations of women.

I am energized to be writing again but mostly I am ready to use my words to heal.

Out of This World Reading Challenge 2017

Aaaaand we’re back.

For my final challenge for 2017 I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for yet another romance themed challenge, this time the focus is on … space man… (if you know the 90s song, let’s be friends) 

Now whilst I love sci-fi romance, I am a bit particular so maybe this challenge will open up some new worlds (see what I did there) for me.

I have a delightful collection that I can re-read which would certainly place my level into ‘CyberSpace Sensuality’ or 30-50 books however I am considering focusing just on new reads which means I will set my level at ‘Beam Your Way Into Outer Spare’ or 5-10 books and aim for all of those to be new reads (though certainly not new authors as this girls has a couple of favs!)

I am also hoping to find books that are a bit more science heavy, and I love great worldbuilding, so any recommendations are most welcome 🙂

2017 Out of This World Official Sign Up


2017 Operation Deepen Faith

This challenge is certainly a change of pace from many of previous challenges, however it fits comfortably with my 2017 activities and life plans. As of a few weeks ago I am officially reattempting to get my undergraduate degree, my education path has been complicated to say the least and this attempt has not come without it’s difficulties, not least having spent the last 6 weeks becoming increasingly bedridden. Thankfully my BA is through distance study, but that doesn’t mean that much studying has been happening.

There are two parts to this challenge one is: Wonderful Words of Life which is to read the bible (at a pace of the readers choosing) and the second is: Christian Nonfiction. As my BA is in Theology both of these will be covered in much detail before and after my exams in May and this is a really great way to interact with others, have support but also as a means of conquering my first year reading list.

For some this may be a huge deviation from my previous reading habits, but what can I say I’m a multifaceted person…

Official Sign Up page

Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge 2017

This challenge will be one of the more difficult for me because each month in themed and writing a review is a part of the challenge, but I am really excited to give it a go. I have a nice little shelf of ‘old school’ books that have been in my TBR pile for years and my local library has a wonderful children’s section so I am definitely going to enjoy finding each months read.

The monthly categories are as follows, with full details available from the link in the image caption:

  • January: Award winners
  • February: Books you loved in childhood
  • March: Published prior to 1945
  • April: Fantasy stories
  • May: Animal stories
  • June: Required reading (classics or other books typically assigned in school)
  • July:  Family stories
  • August: Nonfiction
  • September: School stories
  • October:  Mysteries
  • November: Published in the year (or decade) of your birth
  • December: Winter stories
Official Sign Up page


The 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge

This challenge is really interesting as there are two options: Reading for Fun or Reading for Growth. I decided that I will read for growth, as I typically read for fun anyways and this way I will be exposed to a much more varied and diverse set of authors which is the reason I have signed up for so many challenges. There are a few books I would like to re-read that I think would fit on this list but I do want to step out of my knowledge base and explore new worlds.

The Modern Mrs Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge. Get more out of your reading life in 2017 with this choose-your-own-bookish-adventure challenge!
Official Challenge Page

eBooks Reading Challenge 2017

Hosted by the bookdragonslair.com this challenge was a complete no-brainer for two reasons: 1. I read a lot of eBooks and 2. it allows for challenge crossovers. I don’t want to cause myself too much stress and the fact that books that I read will count in two places is really appealing (of course one day I would love to have the personal challenge of no crossovers!)

With that in mind I think that I can comfortably pick a slightly higher level than with my previous challenges and I shall sign up for ‘Megabyte’ or 25 books.

Official Sign Up

Craving For Cozies 2017 – Reading Challenge

The cosy mystery is where my writer heart resides, but my reading of them is pitiful. There are so many talented writers that I am missing out on and so my aim for this challenge is to ‘scope out’ the future competition (haha, a girl can dream right?!) and ‘feed my need to read cozy mysteries’.

Once again I am picking level one, which for this challenge is called Peckish and will consist of 1-10 mysteries, which I think is a great benchmark to kick start my ‘research’.

Official Sign Up


The Bad Boys of Romance Reading Challenge 2017

I had to sign up to this challenge, I just had to! I love romance.

Official Sign Up

My kindle is fit to bursting with cowboys, aliens, shifters, military/fire/police (you wear a uniform? this girl loves ya!) MC bad boys, assassins, spies and sexy geeks… the only thing I don’t read is historical romance (unless it’s a time travel story, those I like!) 

Before I discovered the joys of eBooks I owned a lot of Mills & Boon, I mean in the hundreds, and they are still hidden in various places around the house with a limp-hearted promise of one day going through them and donating all but my favourites. Alas (rejoice?)that day has not come, but I also no longer hoard the great smelling paper goodness that is the romance novel and instead binge-read digital bits-and-bytes.

Despite my love (obsession?) okay obsession for this delicious genre I have never reviewed them so the true challenge for me will be to write reviews for the books I read and with that in mind I am starting at level one, 5-9 books. I shall ‘capture the bad boy’ but the truth is I could munch through those in a day. Time shall tell, maybe I’ll be ‘taking the bad boy to the alter’ before the year is through!

Back to the Classics Challenge 2017

I am really excited to embark on this challenge because I have a real fear of “the Classics”. I worry that I won’t enjoy them or have the same literary experiences as other readers and it sets my anxiety level to explosive. However, 2017 is the year of exploration and acceptance and something that I need to accept is that my opinions are valid. They may be simple, they may not concur with popular thought, but that the fact remains they have worth.

I think for this challenge I will take a good look at my digital and physical bookshelves before I make a final decision, but the plan is to read books from 6 categories from the list below:

(taken from Karen’s Books and Chocolate🙂

1.  A 19th Century Classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2.  A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1967. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later, such as posthumous publications.

3.  A classic by a woman author.

4.  A classic in translation.  Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language. (You can also read books in translation for any of the other categories).

5.  A classic published before 1800. Plays and epic poems are acceptable in this category also.

6.  An romance classic. I’m pretty flexible here about the definition of romance. It can have a happy ending or a sad ending, as long as there is a strong romantic element to the plot.

7.  A Gothic or horror classic. For a good definition of what makes a book Gothic, and an excellent list of possible reads, please see this list on Goodreads.

8.  A classic with a number in the title. Examples include A Tale of Two Cities, Three Men in a Boat, The Nine Tailors, Henry V, Fahrenheit 451, etc.

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title.  It an actual animal or a metaphor, or just the name. Examples include To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Metamorphosis, White Fang, etc.

10. A classic set in a place you’d like to visit. It can be real or imaginary: The Wizard of Oz, Down and Out in Paris and London, Death on the Nile, etc.

11. An award-winning classic. It could be the Newbery award, the Prix Goncourt, the Pulitzer Prize, the James Tait Award, etc. Any award, just mention in your blog post what award your choice received.

12. A Russian Classic. 2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, so read a classic by any Russian author.

The complete original thread can be found by clicking the link the caption:

Official Sign Up