************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Writing Exercise Two

Before I get to the writing exercise, I want to ask if anyone else has watched the  TV show "The United States of Tara"? It is a fictional portrayal of a wife/mother with DID.

This program has been on for two seasons now, but I had never seen it before. I few nights ago I heard an ad that the entire second season of the show was available "On Demand" for free so I decided to check it out.

There are a lot of things that could be better researched in the program - some very dissappointing lazy writing in my opinion - and not all of them are about DID.

 For one thing, in an episode I watched last night there is a tornado coming (the show is set in Kansas). Since the creators of this program are on the West Coast, they have (obvoiusly) very little understanding about how tornadoes work. They were showing tornado warnings on TV for apparently hours before this "storm" hit - and each time they showed them it was sunny outside. Then the event itself went on for a long time and when they came out after the storm, it looked like a bomb had gone off, and the sun was shining again.

What they portrayed was much more like a hurricane than a tornado. For those who don't know, one generally has very little notice if a tornado is going to touch down nearby - if you get ten minutes you're lucky. Tornadoes don't usually come when the sun is shining. The distruction from a tornado is usually very localized - not spread for miles as they seemed to indicate. I suppose what they portrayed is possible but it would be a very uncommon event.

And then there's the DID issue. Tara's DID is not like mine, that's about all I can say for certain. She turns completely into other people, incuding a man and a famous therapist.

My understanding of DID -  from my own experience - is that it is not actually about developing a different "personality" or a whole new persona. For me, it is more like this:

I don't think I'm ever completely aware of all of my memories and experiences. Compartmentalized memories only exist for certain sides of me. So, when I am aware of one set of memories and experiences, I behave like a person who has only experienced those things. I am still behaving like me, but I am behaving like I would if only those experiences were real.

I can become very anxious, depressed, even suicidal, or very angry orcompletely calm depending on which aspects of my past I am aware of. What is most intense is when I begin to integrate these compartmentalized thoughts and have conflicting feelings and reactions. That's when it's hard to know who to "be" - but always it is me. Sometimes it may be me at age seven or me at age twelve or me that is maternal and has no concept of an abusive past or me who is completely wrapped up in the ugliest  memories... but it's always me.

I was being triggered some, last night, when Tara was having flashbacks to some event from early childhood which took place in a basement. I was reacting to her fear and the little glimpses of a small girl who was afraid and made to feel ashamed (even though we don't know what has caused the girl to feel this way, yet).

Despite the various issues I have with the program, I'm addicted to it and I can't even identify what it is about the show that is capturing me, yet.  If anyone has comments about this program, please feel free to leave those here as well. Maybe your thoughts will help me reach a more enlightened state as to what it is about this show that draws me in.


Writing Exercise Two

Last Sunday, I put up one of the writing exercises we did in my writer's group. If you'd like to see what the exercise and responses were last time, CLICK HERE.

As promised, here is another exercise for anyone who would like to take a brief intermission from life.

At our meeting last week, several images (which had been torn from magazine pages) were placed face down on the table. We chose one at random, and then wrote about the image for about twenty minutes.

Here is a scanned copy of what I saw when I turned the piece of paper over:

What does the image suggest to you? Write about the picture in any format you choose - poetry, short story, essay, emotional reaction, an event from the past that this reminds you of, random ramblings or even a rant... the choice is yours. The idea of this exercise (like most of the ones we do in my writer's group) is to open up to a freer way of writing. Let yourself go and put down whatever this reminds you of, then go back and change things around a bit if you want to. Sometimes I'm surprised by what comes out when I let myself write whatever pops into my head.

Post your writing in the comments.

I will be removing submissions from the comments and re-posting them along with what I wrote about the image in another post, on Tuesday. I look forward to reading what this image suggests to you and sharing it.


  1. Shen, I hadn't thought of that in a long time. CoDA? That's like the co-depentent thing, right? I am the middlechild of alcoholic parents-both deceased now. So I would be co-dependent, right? Makes sense and helps me quite a bit to think of this. Now if I am barking up the wrong tree, let me know. Tough one for you with the parents. Peace.

  2. Thank you for the submission to the writing exercise. I have it ready to post on Tuesday.

    I replied to your question about CoDA on your blog.

  3. You are indeed wise. You will never overstep boundries with me. Feel free to suggest books. I can't believe this hasn't come up in therapy. But I am feeling that this may be a big part of my problem. You are stronger than you think. Peace.

  4. MC - I responded on your blog, again. In case you pop back in here, here is a daily reading from the Language of Letting Go which I thought you might like:


    We are powerless over other people's expectations of us. We cannot control what others want, what they expect, or what they want us to do and be.

    We can control how we respond to others people's expectations.

    During the course of any day, people may make demands on our time, talents, energy, money, and emotions. We do not have to say yes to every request. We do not have to feel guilty if we say no. And we do not have to allow the barrage of demands to control the course of our life.

    We do not have to spend our life reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took with our life.

    We can set boundaries, firm limits on how far we shall go with others. We can trust and listen to ourselves. We can set goals and direction for our life. We can place value on ourselves.

    We can own our power with people.

    Buy some time. Think about what you want. Consider how responding to another's needs will affect the course of your life. We live or own life by not letting other people, their expectations, and their demands control the course of our life. We can let them have their demands and expectations; we can allow them to have their feelings. We can own our power to choose the path that is right for us.

  5. I have not seen/heard of the series you refer to :) I also did not know what DID stands for, until I looked it up now (dissociative identity disorder) ;) I have much to learn!

    I thought I'd give your second writing exercise a try...since you responded in an encouraging way to my self-deprecating remark last time!

    I'll be back, later...as I have no time right now :)

  6. I just popped by your blog via the comment you left on mine and I am totally digging on your style. I look forward to reading more from you.

  7. Hi Shen,

    Your description of the Hollywood portrayal of Kansas reminds me of an experience I had writing about the West for an East-coast paper. They wanted everything to be Bonanza, whether that had any basis in reality or not.

    Thank you for your wonderful description of DID. It's interesting to me that you're hooked on the show, though you don't know why. The fact that it's something you've experienced and that it was available for free and that you happened upon it makes me wonder if God is not at work here.

    Thanks for posting your writing assignment. I've wanted to start a writing group for years. Your post made me wonder if I shouldn't do it online.

    Hugs to you.

  8. Goodness Shen, what an interesting concept to try, I look forward to reading what this image pulls from your mind - I may be tempted to join you - watch this space!

    I don't think this series you mention is aired over here, but from what you describe it appears the writer(s) felt the need to "juice" it up, reality is seldom sexy enough to pull in the desired ratings!


Please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.