Reclaiming the “I”

The biggest message I got from my teachers at secondary school and University was – “don’t say “I”, we are not interested in what you think.”

And so I learned to argue under the guide of detached, intellectual objectivity. This is the way of the scientific and academic worlds, this the way of the philosopher…

I realise in hindsight, that this was the submission of my anima, my female self, under the dictation of the animus, the outer patriarch. To be a successful woman in the world of the mind, I must think like a man, talk like a man, write like a man… but I’d never be as good as a man. Because I’m not one.

My essays were clever, got high marks and lots of praise. But they were cold. And dry. And clever… in the wrong way.

Starting to write from the soul happened for me in a flash of divine inspiration. Literally. The words started coming at me and I sat and scribed them. For about six hours solid. Then the next day – in a cafe, trains, even the toilet -the words just kept coming. Unplanned, there they were.

That is how all my best writing has been since – a deluge from the Universe – and all I have to do is transcribe it. And then hone and edit, and edit…

Compiling my new book and doing final, final, final edits on the paper back version of Moon Time, I see how how my writing has changed over the past few years. I see the beginnings of my published writing still in the academic mold, full of the mind and not of the heart – though in everything I wrote my soul shone through, in the themes, the writers I referenced, but not the style. The voice was not mine, though the message was.

Finding my voice has taken five years.

Mr Dreaming Aloud says – for the record – if you spend five years writing then it is to be hoped that one would improve!!!

It was JUNO that changed me as a writer. More specifically, our previous head editor Patricia, who demanded that all writers write in the first person. At first I felt it was a bit amateurish. This is what I had been counselled against my whole life. It lacks authority. Or so my teachers said.

But as time has gone on, and blogging has entered my life, and women’s group – all areas where speaking from the “I” is our practice,  my “I” has grown and strengthened. Now I am totally with Patricia, that in speaking from “I”, I own what I know, I speak with authority, no that of an expert, but my own authentic knowing. I cannot write anything else. To do so is to interpret, to guess, to surmise, to invent.

I notice that speaking from the “I”, from the personal, tends to be our feminine contribution to this world. To say: “this much I know, with my bones, my soul, my very life essence”, is the gift of the most moving women in our world.

It might at first seem that speaking from “I” is being self-obsessed, or narcissistic. Perhaps it is. But more so, I see that in finding my “I”, I help others to find their “I” – where it is different, where it is the same, to own their experience, to find their expression, is some of the most important, revelatory, healing work I can do. For myself and for the world. In telling my story, I empower myself to rewrite it in my own voice, rather than be a character in someone else’s drama. In seeing the process in others, I find myself.

What has your experience been of owning your “I” voice – in writing, in life?

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