Who Holds the Pen?
If you have ever been to my office, my home, or even ridden in my car, chances are you know I love to read. I even have 2 library cards from 2 different cities. Yes, I have a problem. My reading addiction began when I was 4. I set off for kindergarten believing I could read because my momma told me what a good reader I was, and she never told a lie. The teacher soon discovered I was just a good memorizer. Anyway… the love of books began a long time ago. I often use the analogy in session that intimate relationships are like a book. The relationship begins somewhere in the middle and the rest of your time together you get to flip back to the past when you were both just strangers in case a cross reference is needed. If a present event holds too much emotion, chances are the answer to the “what the heck just happened?” is somewhere in the past. So, what if the book you were writing feels finished? Do you just stick it on the shelf, curl up in bed and turn out the lights? No way, books are filled with words, so you just need to pick up the pen and start writing. It can be scary deciding to close a book or to keep on writing. Just because the ending of the book was not what you planned from the first word of chapter 1, it doesn’t mean it has to be closed. Sometimes we just finish the chapter, keep the characters and begin the next. Other times, it needs to becomes a series.
Sounds simple, but a good book ultimately depends on the author, not the fancy cover. Who is writing your story? I have realized there are times in my life, I did not hold the pen. I allowed others to write my story. When I was little my parents were the authors, for obvious reason. When I became a parent, there were times when my boys held the pen. Not a good idea. The stories they could tell. In a relationship, the pen can be gently taken away one finger at a time, or a partner can yank the pen away and tell you what to think, how to act, who to be. When we lose our voice, or unknowingly give it away because we believe it is for the greater good, we are actually giving the pen to another. The person then holds power over you. In order to hold your pen, you must install boundaries. Know what type of character you want to be in your story and stick to it. There are no erasers. Do not allow someone else’s behaviors to change your values and your morals. When you lose yourself, you lose the right to title the book and claim authorship.
The last half of my life, I am bound and determined to grip the pen with tender but firm care. Never again allowing it to be placed in the hands of someone else. I am forming the letters with clarity and intention. One book is put on the shelf, but a sequel has begun. There are some characters that will not be included, others are being added, but the main character has changed and developed into something a little different than the character in the first series. With self-reflection and insight, she is becoming stronger and more confident. If I want my story to be read by others, then I must live a life worthy of being read. There are many books I have started to read, and I give chance after chance to grab my attention but if I am not on the edge of my couch waiting to see what happens next, you can bet the book will be returned to where it came from. I have a limited amount of time to read someone else’s story, it has got to be good read.
What kind of main character are you? If someone was reading your story, what do you think they would say? Would you want to read your own story? What genre does it fit? I can tell you, there were times mine was pure drama. Then I took the pen back. The words are becoming more legible and easier to read. There is a fierceness and a softness to my story that I think will intrigue others. Hoping there is newfound strength and wisdom from the struggles of the characters that show up on every page. It is freeing and exciting to know I hold the pen. The letters I form will play out as I say. Just imagine if every stroke of the pen is exactly how the story unfolded. If I want happiness, I write in happiness. Then live it out. If I want to live a healthy life, I write it and live it out. That is living with intention. Oh sure, characters in my story can do what they want, but the main character is all me. The pen holder decides her thoughts, her feelings and her behavior. She will never be written out. I am the author of my life. Are you yours?
Elizabeth Havens, LMFT