2: Writing the Road to Myself

2: Writing the Road to Myself

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Empowered Woman

Writing the Road to Myself

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

~Virginia Woolf

I had gone from being a daughter in my parents’ home to marrying and being a wife. Within a year of marrying, I had a child and a new role: mother.

It seemed that I was always defined in relation to someone else. I was somebody’s daughter, somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother.

So, where was Jane? More importantly, who was Jane?

In between having four more children, supporting my husband as he started a business, and serving in our church and community, I looked for Jane. Sometimes, I wondered if there was anyone to look for. Did I exist outside my relationship to others? I didn’t know.

And then I wrote a story. It was a short story aimed at children. Before I could talk myself out of it, I typed it (these were pre-computer days) and sent it out. To my astonishment, it was accepted.

I wrote more stories. Some were accepted; many were rejected. Still, I kept writing. And, in writing, I found my voice. I also found that people listened.

I wrote of mothering. I wrote of living with chemical depression. I wrote of living on ten dollars an hour (with five children to support) while my husband’s fledgling business struggled to survive.

And thus I became an independent person, looking for and finding the words inside me. I shared those words with others. I knew that I could make a difference through those words.

An introvert by nature, I am reticent about speaking in public. However, through my writing, I can free those words. I can touch others by sharing my thoughts and feelings, my experiences and struggles.

“I didn’t know you suffered from depression,” one friend said after reading my article on living with depression.

That opened a dialogue between us on how depression can be as debilitating as any physical disease. We laughed and cried together as she shared her own experiences. Our friendship deepened. At the same time, my confidence grew along with my newfound independence. I had a sense of empowerment that was all the sweeter for knowing that I was helping someone else.

Independence and identity mean different things to different women. For me, they mean giving voice to the words that swirl through my mind and heart, praying they will touch someone.

Ironically, that form of independence re-confirms my connections to others, and makes my life richer and all the more fulfilling.

~Jane McBride Choate

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