As a fifth grader in a country school, I learned about cursive writing. Each week, we were assigned another letter of the alphabet and instructed to follow the lines. The teacher made it clear that we were to fill in the carefully-bordered area in our Palmer Method books and make our letters look exactly like the images on the page.
Although I had been taught to obey, something about that methodology bothered me. I tried – for a while – to follow the instructions, but soon found that my letters bounded out of the lines and ended in curlicues or geometric figures places over the lower case “i.”
When the teacher graded my handwriting, he clicked his tongue and said, “Why do you have so much trouble following these instructions? Your writing looks like something fancy from a character in a novel, something you’ve made up.”
My parents were rather upset to see a C- on my report card next to “Handwriting.” Between my parents’ dismay and the teacher’s insistence, I learned to squelch my fancy lettering and follow the Palmer Methodology for Cursive Writing Rules.
I also learned how to stuff my creativity into a dark hole. My soul felt stilted. The pain calloused over for years as I hid underneath my desire for approval and my fear of rule-breaking consequences.
At the time, I didn’t know that a childhood trauma also shoved my creativity into that dark hole and kept me from becoming my true and authentic self.
It was only after much healing from God’s heart and reading a book titled, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron that I realized the world would not fall apart if I celebrated my creativity.
I saw then how correct that teacher’s statement was. My writing looked like something out of a novel, because I was destined and created to write.
Following the Palmer rules stilted the joy of designing my own thoughts and patterns, skills that would someday become plots and characters in my own books.
As God continued to heal me and I continued to learn more about myself through therapy, other authentic people and my own exploration – I rediscovered the joy that had been squelched all those years ago.
The fallout from the trauma lifted as I wrote about my experience. My own words freed me from the dark hole of seeking approval and fearful consequences.
I embraced the artist in me and found my joy in creating new worlds through my books. I also began to share with other women the importance of finding their authentic selves. And in the sharing and the creating, I re-discovered me.
On April 25th, my second novel “Intermission for Reverend G” will be released.
I still don’t follow the Palmer Method for handwriting and you know what – it doesn’t matter anymore.
2014 Rebecca Thesman, Life Coach and Program Director at GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women