Therapy, Relationships, Writing

Processing the Past Through Writing

How writing changed my life and allowed me to forgive my past.

One day I’d decided to sit outside with my dog under the shade of our backyard trees. It was the first warm spring day of the season and it felt like the perfect time to join him since he could always be found back there luxuriating.

Laying a blanket down on the cool grass, I felt the light breeze tickle my cheeks as my phone began to play the Star Wars theme song that sang out for every caller. Not surprised, my best friend and confidant was calling me.

Dawn Among the Stars is available wherever books are sold.

It’s funny, we always call each other around the same time almost every day, but today felt different. I had a lot on my mind and I needed her listening ear today more than ever. You see, even writers/therapists need a safe place to process and unburden themselves and she was definitely my safe space outside of my own therapy. (Never see a therapist that doesn’t see a therapist as I like to say.)

But this post isn’t about what happened that day. It’s about what’s happening in my writing––the freedom my creativity is giving me from a past that I barely understand.

It wasn’t until recently that I was talking to her that we both realized my writing wasn’t simply fantasy. Okay, it’s fiction, but the themes found inside my work has been greatly impacted by my own life experiences in ways I hadn’t yet understood until she pointed them out. We’d been recently discussing my recovery from various traumas that we both started to find similarities popping up in my work.

This discovery caused me to take a moment and step back––really look at my life and what I was trying to do with The Starless Series. I’d been taught the best way to be a therapist was to get my own help and I was doing that, but perhaps for me it wasn’t enough. It helped, of course, but it still wasn’t allowing me to grow and put away past hurts that could still rear its ugly head. No, I needed to play with these themes and take them out of me in a way that made sense.

Writing was that vessel.

I do weave in a lot of my beliefs into my work, but bigger still, I’ve added a way for me to process different things in my life through fiction, especially in Fading Starlight. I processed my own experience with sexual assault and showcase what I would have liked to have seen from my loved ones if I had been able to tell them.

Now, before everyone gets upset for me, please don’t misunderstand me: I have gotten professional help and I now have the love and support of many people to help me work through any issues that might still arise because healing is not linear.

Fading Starlight releases June 17th, 2019

My personal story and Fading, offer a glimpse into how hard it is for many people to talk about their experiences. There’s a conversation between a couple of the characters that showcases how to approach someone and help them through such an event. It was important for me to show how it can be done––respectfully, with a lot of love––because I work with a lot of people who are always worried of hurting their loved ones. It’s a problem we all face no matter the subject and I’m very proud of the fact I was able to intertwine a powerful scene with my own processing of what I would’ve liked to have had in my past.

For my readers I wanted to offer more than the stereotypical view of assault for a character. It wasn’t about the event for me, it was about the healing of a community afterward on top of the survivor. It’s paramount to keep healing at the forefront of this discussion––not the trauma.

I didn’t rewrite my experience––to banish it away so it could come back stronger than ever––I set it free so it no longer had the power to hurt me. Now, I’m honored to be able to offer support for others, professionally and in my writing. We are stronger than our fears and what happened to us in the past, does not define who we are today or who we’ll become tomorrow.

Let’s keep reaching for the stars together.

-Samantha

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