This week I’ve been thinking about my character flaw: what it is about me that changes and evolves throughout the story I am telling in my memoir. Maybe ‘character flaw’ is the wrong term. It sounds negative and is not something I can easily identify in myself. Maybe it’s better to think of it as the thread that consistently runs through my life. The thing that may have got me into trouble or stopped me from achieving my goals.
I find I’m in murky territory here. It’s difficult to go back to those times in my life and examine myself honestly. Maybe I have grown a thick skin or buried some of the stories that reveal sides of myself I wasn’t proud of. Was it when I got into situations with bad friends? Was it when I made decisions in school to avoid what I wasn’t good at?
When I think about this, I find I have rationalized some of my failings. To myself I have said: Well, if only you’d had more support, you wouldn’t have got yourself in to this situation. If your mother had done X, then you would have not done Y.
I have also done a lot of thinking and intellectualizing over the years about certain issues in my life. Was I ambivalent about success? Were my feminist values at war with my traditional values? Was I looking for a father figure? That’s not the same thing as connecting emotionally with the issues.
I’ve concluded that I need to do some free writing about these topics and see what comes up on a feeling level and what memories surface. I’m not trying to write a healing memoir but maybe by examining parts of ourselves that we’ve buried, we can get to a more authentic voice in writing memoir. I’m committed to moving forward or is it ‘fearward’?