My Saving Grace is writing, but specifically, poetry. Sometimes it is just fun, word throwing, not unlike paint throwing, splattering words or paint and seeing where it goes. Poetry can be rhyme whizzing. It can take on any different form of poetry out there, from limericks to haikus, sonnets, etcetera, or it can be deeper than even that. Sometimes a writer’s poem just is a poem, not falling into any specific poetic category, or just slots into one of the categories, organically. Poetry is my personal therapeutic remedy. It helps that the pages never judge. Although, once I share my work in the open, then, it is judged, often with a critical eye. Like everything, that can be good, or bad. They do say though that a person is usually their own worst and harshest critic. One can only ever aspire to do their best, but it is when your best is not good enough in your own mind, that you start the internal battle with yourself. If you spoke to others the same way in which you speak to yourself, then nobody would want to be around you.
I have a knack for words, but really enjoy jotting thoughts down, and writing new poems. I wrote a book of poems by hand when I was eight or there about, which I then typed on an old fashioned 90’s PC, and my late dad, printed and bound it for me at work. Childhood was where writing for me started to be my outlet for trying to express myself. I also enjoyed acting and drama classes too, as I could be anyone that I wanted to be, other than myself. I didn’t always, and still don’t consistently write from a real-life perception, although that is my preferred choice. Particularly, when I was little, but still sometimes I threw or rather throw myself into extremely fictitious worlds.
My true daily style of writing is probably journaling and poetry that is from the heart. This is a great coping mechanism for mental health issues. Often if you visit a psychologist or a councillor they will ask if you write and log your feelings, and if you don’t, they usually recommend it as part of your healing journey. I do this for pain management for my host of debilitating disabilities which obviously impact my mental health, and I use it as a tooling aid for my weight loss group, ‘Unislim’. I bleed ink, onto my pages in the form of words, for writing is in my veins. I am not good at many things, but I write. I am, a writer.
(c) Grace O’Reilly 3.5.2022
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
In May 2017
I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease
and Spinal Stenosis
I have issues with Bulimia
People’s lack of Awareness, Understanding, and Compassion
Impacts my Mental Health
I don’t look Disabled or Sick
Some people don’t look like an Arsehole
Looks can be deceiving
Some Disabilities are Invisible
People need to be Aware and Educated,
To Help Understand, and Support those
With conditions such as these, and many others
The hardest things about putting yourself out there in any form is the fear of rejection and ‘imposter syndrome’. It is when a person doubts themselves that even when they achieve something they can’t really believe it. I feel like I am this fraud every time I get something published and I feel like a fake each time somebody warmly compliments my writing. Pinching myself I still don’t believe it, yet the reality is that if I wasn’t a good writer, I wouldn’t have had so many accepted written pieces published in so many various publications around the world. I need to start believing in myself, and tell that dreaded imposter syndrome monster inside my head to “sod off!”.
For me writing is easier than talking, and most and more often it is even easier than breathing. As William Wordsworth ‘The Daffodils’ poet said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Truly I believe that when you are writing something honest and from the heart, that your authenticity shines through in your work. They say that children are the best judges of things, and often the harshest too. Children see things, and through things, differently, more matter of fact, than an adult. Children say things as they are, bluntly. If you can write for, and resonate with a child, that’s halfway to writing success. Sometimes, not always but sometimes, honesty is the best policy. Flowery writing is not always appreciated, and again sometimes, less is more. That being said, I do adore flower power. All that I am stating here is like anything, know your target audience, if writing for others.
When writing fiction, you can go anywhere. If it is a child’s poem or story, writing about poo and snot can be hysterical, and if children enjoy it, they will want to read. I think if one can do both at the same time, there is no harm of writing about snot and poo. Usually, a serious, middle aged academic reading or writing about snot and poo is not for them and a child loves it, however there will always be exceptions to the rule. Roald Dahl and David Walliams, (dubbed as being todays Roald Dahl) are perfect examples, as are ‘The Dinosaur that Pooped…’ series by Dougie Poynter. You can educate and entertain children, and adults for that matter in a humorous way, and often poetic rhyming are catchier and easier to read, like ‘The Gruffalo’, by Julia Donaldson.
For a child going through so much, being able to read a book, or write, and talk about it, may be their, Saving Grace.
(c) Grace O’Reilly
This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Irish Poetry Therapy Network.