This word rose from my chest. I was compelled to find a quote because that is often a part of my process – perhaps it is the community builder I am, reaching into collaboration. I knew when the quote I first found was from Mary Oliver and it was about writers – that soften was indeed the word. And then my heart fluttered toward Flagstaff and the Frozen Labyrinth experience I had there several Christmases ago.
Enjoy – My Day 2 flow into the #7MagicWords challenge from Marisa Goudy :
“Writers sometimes give up what is most strange and wonderful about their writing – soften their roughest edges – to accommodate themselves toward a group response.”
What follows is free flow writing for 5 minutes… no corrections, no fixes, no forethought. It isn’t concerned with appearances… isn’t toughened up by the editorial eye. It is soft and getting softer as the insights open. I’m grateful you are here, reading.
= * = * =
I’m not sure if this was meant to be something… I don’t know if my family meant to have me believe. I don’t remember ever hearing this but…
I have believed for my whole life that it is wrong to be weird, that nerds or freaks or anyone “out there” was wrong and above all, I needed to avoid wrong or different.
This is sort of in direct opposition to the family member most revered and treasured (or so it felt) my brother John who had down’s syndrome – and ironically squared, as a child never spoke about his down’s syndrome.
Things would be talked about like institutionalizing him and people would stare when we came into a setting but none of that different-ness that so many others saw as wrong was ever spoken. The first time someone actually spoke to me about having a brother with down’s syndrome was when I was seventeen and a co-worker asked me what it was like having a brother “like that” and on a playground a child asked my daughter, “Why is your uncle such a freak?”
My daughter shrugged and kept playing. I smiled, thinking how great it was that she didn’t get upset.
I talked to her about it – to see how she translated what the other child said.
I am comfortable calling myself eccentric. I don’t like being called a freak, though. Freak connotes cast out. Eccentric softens the freak, even though “Fly your freak flag” is something people say –
I pull my hands from the keyboard and hold my chin and my face in them, trying to make some sense of the curvy direction these words are going, sort of labyrinthean like the image I chose to go with “a word that earths.”
With age, my skin feels more dough-like. Softer.
I do not need to be afraid of softening, being a freak, or getting older.
My writing is strange and wonderful in its Labyrinthean shape. Having a freak for a brother was a huge blessing in my life. He paved the way for me being a mommy to a child with autism and another child who has bi-polar disorder.
The primary difference between John’s different-ness and my children’s is we can see John’s. It was obvious. There wasn’t any hiding of it behind a “I’m just like every other person here” look.
John’s down syndrome softened his proclamation of different-ness. My babies and I look “normal” and surprise! We are not.
Rewriting the Narrative: We are much better than normal as was my brother. Strange, wonderful, freak, unconventional, eccentric, darling dear lovely soft… me.
Note to self: challenge of all challenges is to move this from words on the page into deeply rooted belief. PS We can do this!
I do not need to toughen up, another urge I was offered when I was young. I am choosing, electing, embracing etc my softness, my softening.
This is an exploration of self via free flowing personal narrative. I’m using the “5for5BrainDump” model which grants a person the gift of 5 minutes of timed writing to dump whatever comes onto the page without editing, forethought or judgment. What appears on the page and out of the rambling mind is remarkable.
These thoughts are posted unedited and will occasionally include an extra session or two to get to the depth the person feels necessary. Sometimes, the person (in many cases myself) backs away from the writing because… it is uncomfortable, she feels like something is about to crack open or she becomes bored and drifts away momentarily.
It is important to give license to stop and continue, stumble and continue, rant and scream and cry… and continue. This continuing is where the transformation happens.
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She created the process #5for5BrainDump that has birthed books, breakthroughs and many more livestream broadcasts. Participate in this process via livestream – to check the current schedule visit #5for5HQ
She is also a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people’s creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in soon!
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.