Process and Progress
May 28, 2023
Posting two days in a row, who am I?!?!?!
In all fairness, I’ve been wanting to get back into writing here for so long but it’s just incredibly hard to find time. I love that I have gotten back into all my other hobbies though. Exercising, hiking, travelling, cooking. Hamsters as always. Only downside is I’m not reading as much and my Bookstagram is kinda dead but can’t have it all, I guess.
I realised that I wrote a whole damn lot in the past. Random snippets of fiction, journal entries, tons of stuff that has never been made public, etc. And I’m so glad I recorded so much in detail because it jolts my memory when I go back to reread them. Shame I didn’t keep up with the habit in recent years because it’s always interesting to learn what I was thinking.
Anyway, I read this Yahoo article about the Brooke Lim saga last month and there’s a part that just stuck out to me so much.
Obviously I can’t speak for her and there’s no excuse for plagiarism, but I feel like I might understand why she wrote a “romanticised piece” instead of an autobiographical one.
Because I did the exact same thing (though not about eating disorders).
Because there’s a need to talk about it and process it, but from a safe distance. So you embellish it, tweak it a little, package it as fiction. That way, you are sharing your experiences but indirectly, which allows you to process the trauma but not be triggered by it since there’s some sort of a wall/shield/distance.
I thought I was the only one who did it until I read a novel where the protagonist did the exact same thing about similar experiences. Then I realised it was an actual thing so I’m not nuts after all.
Anyway, it’s easy to be a naysayer when you’ve never had to process traumatic events and experiences (good for you!!), but anyone who has ever had to will know that it’s far from easy and definitely not linear.
I was in a journaling phase when it happened in May 2015 so while I was unable to process anything, I did have an account of events written down. Spent the next few years spiraling and it wasn’t until May 2018 when I wrote a ‘fictionalised’ account. Then it took another 5 years (January 2023) before I could write the autobiographical account and acknowledge and process what happened.
I think it was necessary that I process it and let myself feel, in order to be where I am currently. Which is a much better place than where I was, even though I still think about things sometimes. Healing takes work and I had to put in the work even though it would easier to just keep blocking it out, be self-destructive and self-soothe with unhealthy coping mechanisms.
You can say eight years a long, long time but for me, it isn’t at all and the memory remains more vivid than I’d like. I will probably continue to have to process it and it’s unlikely I will ever just ‘forget’, but I do feel progress. Even writing all these feels like a huge step and very therapeutic.
Regardless of whether fictionalised or autobiographical or whatever, it’s all for myself. And you know what? As difficult as it was to write them (and it’s not like I wrote each one in one sitting; there was so much to say and plenty of tears), it really helped.