The Thing About Writing a Memoir…

The thing about writing a memoir is it’s intense in a way that other writing isn’t (though all writing can be, and often is intense) but with a memoir you’re re-living everything important in your life – your old pains, hopes, relationships…

The drama. The tears. The celebrations.

You’re taking everything that happened over the course of your life and revisiting it in a concentrated amount of time – processing each memory again as you look for the bigger story. It’s emotionally overwhelming. It’s actually physically exhausting.

That’s the thing about writing a memoir.

For the last three days I’ve been reading my old journals, taking notes on the biggest moments, the consistent patterns, the overarching dreams. Some entries in my journal are beautiful, inspiring, they make me proud to be me. But most of them are filled with hurt. I always tended to write more when I was struggling. Writing was like therapy for me so it’s no wonder the hard times show up more in my journals than the easy ones.

For example, my first REAL relationship – the 2 years of love and companionship I shared with an amazing man – not in the books. The break up is. But the love? Not there. Unless I’m missing a journal, I apparently determined the goodness wasn’t interesting enough for creative expression.

So instead I read about the heartache.

The mistakes.

The depression and anxiety.

Oh, I’ve read it all this weekend… I feel like I’ve been through an emotional hurricane, with every bit of self-doubt and hatred revisited. It all feels so incredibly heavy.

And I’m not just reading these journals, I am doing so to find a story in there to share with you. To find my story. Of how I got from there to here. Point A to point B.

Hurt girl to wise woman.

I’m searching for the line, for the path that I walked… I need to figure out how it all goes together. How did things start so bad and end so well? How did they get so much better at one point, to just fall apart completely the next? What held the story together? What held me together?

There was no moment in time when everything changed, though I tried to make that happen on many occasions. There was just a slow and steady growth as step-by-step, I found myself. And reliving this, along with the pain, brings me the most peace and gratitude I believe I have ever felt. Somehow I made it through and created a life that I love, that is everything I always wanted.

The thing about writing a memoir is… you feel everything at once and that gives you the understanding to finally see the truth. I got myself from there to here, point A to point B, hurt girl to wise woman. I became my own heroine and now I’m writing my heroine’s story.

xo parrish

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