It has been some time since I did a @naturalmedicine challenge. But this one got me thinking. It brought to mind something that I had always been interested in but got buried and forgotten with parties, relationships, the rat race and then raising kids. I had even forgotten how it made me feel. Digging deep, not just within but also without I realised this has always been in the peripheral and not been given it's due diligence.
The questions laid out to help articulate our thoughts and ideas in the challenge 👇
How does art sooth, calm or steady you?
What has art brought to your life that wouldn't be there without it?
Did art find you or did you find art?
What trauma or illness has art helped you through?
Do you use art as a meditative tool?
The meaning of Art and Healing from Dictionary.com
So let's give it up for WRITING!!
We already know that spilling your thoughts is therapeutic, the reason why journaling has all kinds of health benefits. I used to journal but it was always hard to pour out my inner most fears and thoughts, wary and paranoid that someone would find them and know what goes through my head. Perhaps worried about judgment. My journals have the "imagine someone reading it" filter.
But I don’t seen to have that problem when it comes to storytelling. My work of fiction is laced with my experiences, my thoughts, my expressions, my desires, my emotions. Rough and raw, mixed with embellishments and make-believe, it takes its own form, releasing me from shame and guilt.
My very first written work that was shared in a school magazine was in primary. I was in Standard 5 and we were asked to write something under 500 words for a chance to be featured. With reservations, I wrote about my maternal grandparents and the stories I had heard growing up.
With a limitation to the words, I shared one experience from each. I know I have that school magazine somewhere but I can't seem to find it now. If I do after I post this, I will come back to edit but for now I just have to tell you what they were about.
She was not your typical tanned Indian child. She was fair enough to be mistaken for a Chinese once in awhile. And I guess, from a far, even more so. There was this incident during WWII when she was out with her friend when the Japanese soldiers called out to them to stop. They were like 8/9 years old, got scared and ran. The soldiers chased after them.
As they were crossing the stream, her friend slipped and fell. She tried to help for a split second, noticed the soldiers catching up, left her friend and continued her getaway. She explained that at least if she managed to escape she could get help. She kept turning to check what would happen and panicked when they passed her friend and continued to chase her.
She did make it home, and her mother hid her under some gunnysacks. The soldiers knocked on a few doors asking if they had seen a Chinese girl as it was an Indian neighbourhood. My great grandmother shook her head and they finally left. My grandmother believed that was a close shave to the horrors of war.
Unlike my Grandmother, my grandfather was tanned. And it didn't help that he worked on a plantation. The story is, when war planes headed in their direction, the workers were made to stand in a line, pull down their pants and bend over. There were circles drawn on their butts with white paint. Apparently from up in the air, they looked like cannons all lined up in a row.
That story won me 2nd place and was published in the school magazine that year. The thing is, these are stories I never shared verbally with anyone. Can you imagine an 11-year-old sharing these stories with her friends at a Convent school in the 70's? It was a lot easier to share it in writing.
In my teens, my best friend and I used to spend hours writing what I recently discovered is Fan Fiction. We got rid of them when we had a big fight and weren't in talking terms for a few years. We wish we had hung on to them and wonder if there were others who also fantasised about their celebrity crushes and wrote romantic stories about them. We also used to spend hours, writing "Dear Abby" kind of letters to a show on radio. We concocted all kinds of scenarios, pretended to be all kinds of persons, we spun all kinds of problems and on most weeks would be chosen as Letter of The Week. Oh, the thrill of hearing it read on radio!
In my 20s, a friend and I, got this idea of writing a sitcom for local TV. We even presented it to a production house, and the CEO liked it but told us to come back with an edited version as there were too many characters. We didn't want to budge and then we were offered to sell the idea by another production house. However, we wanted creative control and insisted on being the writers. Well, that was that... nothing came of it. We then got busy with other things and didn't pursue it. Perhaps, so we never had to find out it was actually rubbish... and I found the script with the first 10 episodes in my Pandora's Box.👇
Over time, all of this was shelved as Real Life kicked in. Dreams and ideas tucked away as other forms of expressions came into play. Sure, in passing I would mention it here and there, but when you have ideas without focused intention to execute, that's all it is. Talk!!
When I came on the SteemVerse and discovered FreeWrites, it became a form of release. The concept of taking a given prompt, hitting the timer and just chasing a ticking second hand to tell a story, was new to me and exciting. There was no overthinking, second guessing, just words pouring out. The stories that emerged were silly, dark, and some were familiar... and sometimes I would even own it by sharing a real experience without stamping it as a work of fiction.
This is why, I have taken it to the next level. I am still rough around the edges. I am sure there are techniques to telling a story. But does art really have rules? Should it have rules? For now, as long as I am able to express and it makes me feel.... I don't want to say feel good because sometimes it does make me sad, or mad but that feeling has found an outlet. And letting go is the start of healing.
Writing & Storytelling has definitely made me more comfortable in my skin. More accepting of who I am. All of me, including my flaws. That I can at least give it a voice, an outlet, an escape. I won't lie, there are moments I question myself, but all the writing the last couple of years has given me enough confidence to do this 👇
Thank you @naturalmedicine for this challenge as it has given me the opportunity to own it.
Thank You For Reading,