Oct 202014
 
writing about personal facades and the secret centers

Writing about personal facades can give loved ones a taste of your “secret center.”

Writing about personal facades is a great way to connect with loved ones. Plus, it can be therapeutic.

When I lived in Europe and tromped around medieval cities, I marveled at the intact buildings. Buildings remained as beautiful in the 1980s as they had in the 1510s. Yet modern businesses and households were operating out of them. Their trick? Extensive renovations that didn’t touch the street side facade. The buildings themselves were nothing like the original structures, but through the centuries, the historic fronts were maintained.

Large or small, good or bad, we all have them. What’s your facade? How does it function in your world? Such introspective topics aren’t just good things to discuss with your best friend or therapist (assuming those are two distinct individuals). Your legacy of yourself and your past doesn’t have to be limited to narratives.

Writing about Personal Facades

Sometimes personal facades are ginormous skeletons lurking in the closet (think sexual orientation or past victimizations). Other times they are relatively small acts of vanity. Here are five effective ideas for writing about personal facades.

What’s the purpose of your façade?

Do you always maintain your facade or is it a mask that you bring out on occasion? Do you use it to hide who you really are? On the other hand, do you assume it to play the person you want or need to be? The calm parent facade comes to mind. Sometimes you want to scream and rant, but reason overrides nature. By playing the calm parent, you are the good parent.

You can gain and share clarity by writing about your personal facades. How did they start? What purpose do they serve?

The cost of maintaining your façade

Perhaps maintaining a facade has meant a lifetime of not being honest with family members. On the other hand, perhaps it was a short-term exercise. Perhaps you put on a happy face to protect children. Perhaps you paid a high price for maintaining decorum.

Why do you think you go to the trouble?

writing about personal facades and naming elephants

Naming names? Writing about personal facades might involve naming the elephant.

Some people are okay with everyone knowing that an elephant is in the room. However, they find talking about the elephant keeps them in the past and prevents them from moving on. Addressing the elephant will make her real again. As long as she isn’t defecating on the carpet, they’d rather not talk about her. Others know that the elephant needs to be acknowledged and are just procrastinating the inevitable.

Is maintaining a facade is a minor inconvenience, a major pain in the butt, or the thing that allows you to function?Writing about your personal facade will help others (and you) understand it.

Is your personal façade a just a Hollywood prop or is it integrated with the real you?

Does it prevent people from getting to know the real you? For instance, my doctor likes to chide me for coloring my hair. “You can’t run from who you are,” she says. I want to answer, “I’m not running; I’m hiding.” But that’s not really what I feel. First, I’m covering up the fact that the right side of my head is substantially grayer than the left. More importantly, I’m keeping my hair color in line with my mental and emotional age.

Am I right? In my opinion, there’s not always a right or wrong. Sometimes it’s just what you do. Writing about your personal facades doesn’t mean justifying or defending you choices. You’re just explaining them and, through that explanation, connecting with loved ones.

If you had to do it all over again, would you?

It’s always good to leave a nugget of hindsight for younger generations. What would you do differently? What would you change?

Your Turn:

What roles have facades played in your life? Share your thoughts!

Jul 222014
 
Writing about bullies of childhood

Writing about bullies is a way to open up your past to your readers.

Writing about bullies doesn’t come easily. We want to put that behind us. We wonder, “Who wants to read that?”

Probably most people.

Whenever we get together and share memories and stories, encounters with belligerence, arrogance, or outright bullying invariably come up. It’s always a compelling story.

Our listeners commiserate. They respond with their own stories. This happens when we write too. When we write about bullies and persecutors, we connect with readers and start conversations. We see new facets of each other’s personality. Continue reading »

Dec 302013
 
Looking forward or backward

Looking forward or looking back?

This is an odd title for me—I spend a lot more time looking backwards than I do looking forward. But, as the calendar turns the proverbial page, it makes sense to look forward—and to write about it.

Looking forward by setting goals

Yep, each New Year’s Eve, I try to set some goals for the coming year. (One year I came up with a suggested list of goals for my kids. That didn’t go over very well.) Often, my list is nearly identical to the previous year’s. That means those ten pounds still sit around my hips. The ambitious exercise program has again been usurped by exercise that’s more fun. In other words, if I’m not chasing a ball, I’m not running. Continue reading »

May 242013
 

Five Minute Fridayis a great writing exercise even if you’re not blogging your treasures (memories). Your spontaneous thoughts on a given subject can reveal your personality, daily life, beliefs, etc. If you are blogging, I encourage you to join in! If you want to connect on Twitter, use the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.

This week’s Prompt: View

Prayers of Praise–How to Give Words to Your Heart Continue reading »

May 172013
 

Five Minute Fridayis a great writing exercise even if you’re not blogging your treasures (memories). Your spontaneous thoughts on a given subject can reveal your personality, daily life, beliefs, etc. If you are blogging, I encourage you to join in! If you want to connect on Twitter, use the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.

This week’s Prompt: Song

My song This prompt is too rich in metaphors for a five minute session! Cue the dramatic, frenetic music!

My life is a song. It’s a pretty good one, in my opinion, but I’m not sure I deserve the credit. I have a Master that helps me compose.

It’s not a song written for performance or a Grammy. My song is just the tune that is me.

Like all lives, it has moments of harmony. Like all lives, it has its moments of discord. Even the unexpected discord is important, driving a longing for resolution into a new harmony. Continue reading »

Apr 122013
 

Five Minute Friday

#FiveMinuteFriday

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker, founder of “Five Minute Friday,” broadcasts a writing prompt, challenging writers to writer for five minutes only. In her words, “It’s not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. “

This is a great writing exercise even if you’re not blogging your treasures (memories). Your spontaneous thoughts on a given subject can reveal your personality, daily life, beliefs, etc. If you are blogging, I encourage you to join in! If you want to connect on Twitter, use the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.

Today’s prompt: HEREHere I am

Confession: My five minutes lasted six minutes.

START:

Here:  We should be able to look around us and accurately describe where we are, what “here” means to us.

Often we can’t; our view is obscured or filtered. Continue reading »

Apr 052013
 

You can’t go home. It’s not just a cliché. I’ve tried. However, going back to the geography of my roots proved to have a powerful allure all its own.

Rolling Hills of farmland

Photo Credit Wikipedia

As I drove away from Richmond and towards Prince Edward and Lunenburg counties on Monday, more than just the topography changed. As the miles progressed, years rolled away, returning me to the car rides of my childhood. As the same (or similar, I’m not really sure) roads cut through the same wooded hillsides, my senses went into full-immersion recall of countless car rides during the 60’s and 70’s. It looked the same, smelled the same, and felt the same. Continue reading »

Mar 152013
 

Today’s #FiveMinuteFriday Prompt: Rest

Sunset on St. Simon's Island is always conducive to rest.

Sunset on St. Simon’s Island is always conducive to rest.

Sleep restores our bodies; rest restores our brains and spirits. It’s what we need to re-group, re-ground, and re-start.

I’ve often wondered why God didn’t give our brains an off switch. (No hint of a lie—I even asked a psychologist once if she could help me figure out how to turn myself off.)  For me, rest isn’t just something I can sit down and do, but I can open myself up to it.

Rest comes in those treasured moments when I’m just being—enjoying life and those I love. Continue reading »