It seemed a long time ago when Patricia sent an invite for guest bloggers, and I replied, “Count me in.” The time has come, and I am pleased to be here.
I am a Colorado native and Alumni of Colorado State University. A semi-retired psychotherapist, most of my writing relates to striving for mental wellness. I believe in the power of thought, laughter, and speaking with a clear voice.
My second book, My Clients…My Teachers: The Noble Process of Psychotherapy, was published in 2014. It is a collection of 58 stories. My first book, doctoral dissertation, Personal Themes of Women, from Intact Families of Origin, Raised Exclusively with Female Siblings, is a qualitative study of rural women raised with no brothers – only sisters.
One might call me the story writer.
Honoring rural women’s stories and giving readers a chance to learn from our experiences is the motivation behind a new project I launched in December; Rural Women’s Stories. Rural defined as was any woman who was raised or has lived outside urban areas, which includes most women I know. The idea came to me as I attended several funerals. During each, I wondered if the deceased would recognize the woman in the eulogy, and what she would have written about herself.
My website is designed to give rural women a platform to write their stories, while they still can; while they are living. I found, though, women either think they have nothing to say, or they don’t have confidence in their writing skills. Therefore, I usually interview, write, and post the stories myself.
Always allowing projects to take the lead, I embraced the challenge and pleasure of meeting with women. It has been fun, rewarding, and inspirational. I learned enchanting information about women I have never met, and women I have known my entire life.
It is especially interesting to note what they remember. They often speak of events one might deem insignificant and not worthy of sharing, but to me, they uncover strong, emotionally ladened memories.
The project has also forced me to write my stories. I cannot ask women to do something I have not done. I too thought I had an uneventful, ordinary life, but I found words to flow as if they were held captive and released from bondage. I found descriptions of people and details of interactions I had not thought about for decades, but were obviously alive and well.
We all have thousands of stories. One woman said she had stories to accompany every piece of furniture she owned. We all have families too, so not having material is never a viable excuse.
I encourage all women, and men, to write story after story of their life experiences. Stories build history and add validity to struggles and lessons. They contribute to honest self-discovery, but mainly they offer purpose and understanding.
Maybe you could write your eulogy. Nobody knows you as you know yourself. Family members will give it their best effort, and probably say incredibly nice things, but would you know they are talking about you?
We have the responsibility and privilege of telling our stories through our perspectives. Each life matters. Every person has unique highs and lows in life and if we don’t describe them, who will? Nobody. Somebody else has no way of knowing how we survived, grew, and contributed.
Everyone reading this blog probably writes, so why not expend some written words on yourself. Personal non-fiction heals the spirit, refreshes the soul, and spring cleans the memory. Writing our stories can be compared to a garage/yard sale; scrounge through it all, keep the good and get rid of the rest.
Check out my site and enjoy the stories. Hopefully, you will be inspired to write your own, while you can.
Until the next time: Live while you live!
Semi-retired, Jennifer and her husband enjoy traveling. They currently call Estes Park, CO and Bisbee, AZ home.
Other than six years in downtown Denver, Jennifer has always lived in rural communities. Women’s issues have been her primary area of research. She is a speaker at various events and a columnist for the South Platte Sentinel.