The Paradox of Erasing Bad Memories – Dilemma for Writer and Self

Nothing has driven home the connection between being a writer and my health like my nonfiction life experience.

Which I’ve been writing about.

I’ve spent the last year on a journey of recovery from EMF Sensitivity and Rheumatic Arthritis. Along the way I learned that the protocol I used was having a beneficial effect on traumatic memories.

As I went through the protocol, the memories remained, but the trauma and negative emotions that went with them, did not. I was able to think of painful events without reliving them.

It’s difficult to describe the myriad of emotions that surfaced as a result; they are too numerous. I will say that in addition to joy, I felt relief, and a lightness of being, as if the weight of the world, along with the negative emotions, had been lifted from my shoulders.

As time went on, I felt more and more my old self.

The real me had been buried beneath an avalanche of toxic events, toxic relationships, and toxic chemicals.

I also felt younger.

My busy life didn’t go on hold, and there were setbacks as I tried to stabilize the balance I’d achieved, but feeling as if I was me again was never far from my consciousness. As I continued working on my fiction career, a funny thing happened.  I really was feeling my old self again, including my old writer self.

Sounds great, right? You feel the joy and optimism you had when you started down a certain path, light in heart and confident in your destiny.

You know, before life – and toxins – got in the way?

It felt like I was watching a movie of my younger, happier self.   Images of sitting by the pool in Downey, CA, working on a novel in a spiral bound notebook brought a smile to my face.  The next frame wiped it off again.

I was about to start high school, a turbulent time for teens.

Happy or Something Else Entirely?  Was I really happier then or just naïve?

The Paradox.  More importantly, do I want to be that person again? Ignorance may be bliss, but naiveté is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Negative emotions are part of what make us human. They are also a crucial part of a writer’s toolkit.

You have to go down into that deepest, darkest, most roiling, white hot place – live with it – whatever scared the hell out of you down there – and there’s plenty – you have to go in there, down into the deepest part of it.

Robert Olen Butler, From Where You Dream, The Process of Writing Fiction

They also wreak havoc on your health.

Professional Personal Conundrum.  Do you weaken them and lose the pain that serves two masters or do you continue to live with something that may ultimately destroy your career by destroying your health?

Et tu, Brute?  When you take the sting and depth of emotion from events, you also remove the impact of the people associated with those events.

And not all of them are bad.

Many people are inadvertent witnesses to the more painful events in our lives.

Of course, there are also those who are responsible for orchestrating those events.

When you lose the connection to the pain, you lose the connection to the event.

And everyone associated with it.

The upside?  They lose any power they may have had over you. The downside? They no longer hold the place in your life, and your heart, that they may have.

The paradox  makes for an interesting conundrum.

I know of at least one solution.

Personally.  I am not spending any energy trying to reestablish broken emotional links.

Especially since many of the people, are no longer a part of my life for one reason or another, including death.

Professionally.  I’m integrating my old self (i.e. optimism, excitement) into my current self (passion, strength), at times superimposing one upon the other, but always honoring both.

It’s almost as if the current self needs to explain why certain plots or characters don’t suit ,even as that younger self reminds me that passion without adventure and excitement make for dull characters and plots.

My reality.  I welcome the continued health benefits even as I walk a fine line professionally and personally.

For me, the peace of heart, mind, and soul is totally worth it.