yesterday i talked about the book writing yourself home. as i mentioned, it uses excerpts from women’s writings – some well-known, some not – to illustrate how we can use writing and journaling as a way of healing and self-discovery.
here is one that i found interesting, about “matrophobia”, by ellen amber from her work how i got from there to here.
until i entered therapy, i thought i hated my mother because she set herself up to be first a victim, then a martyr. later i realized it wasn’t my mother i hated but my own capacity to become her.
i saw how much of my life had gone into acting as differently from her as possible. unconsciously, i’d keep my apartment messy, be terribly disorganized, or run late in contra-distinction to her excessive neatness, order and tendency to arrive early. but i wasn’t free of her, i wasn’t actualizing myself, but simply becoming her opposite, her mirror image.
it took me a long time to face the fact that i used anger (usually righteous) to shield my real feelings, and that my beloved hatred masked the terror of giving into my pull towards her. in my panic, i felt i had to reject her completely in order to purge from my very bones what she had transmitted to me about being a woman.
kimberley snow, the author of writing yourself home, then suggests these exercises:
- describe a matrophobic response: yours, a friend’s, your daughter’s.
- make a list of all the ways you and your mother are similar.
- make another list of how you are different.
there are endless more possibilities. here are a few i could think of right off the bat:
- write about what it might be like for your mother to observe you acting so differently from her.
- remember an incidence where your mother acted in a way that you disliked very much. now write about that incidence, only with your mother acting in the opposite way.
- think about some of the rules that your mother had. invent a little fairy tale about how she came to acquire these rules.
- write out a dialogue in which you teach your mother new, more loving rules.
can you think of more ideas?
(p.s. kimberley snow just let me know that she has a web site about writing yourself home and writing yourself well. thanks!)
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